How to make everyday feel like vacation without quitting your job

Sunset St. PeteOkay I’ll start with a confession. If you are an employer, then giving this to your employees, won’t make them magically skip their holidays to work more hours for you. Although if you try and it works, then please transfer a percentage of whatever that is worth to you to my account.

Having gotten  that out of the way, let’s get on with it. Being quite the wanderer myself, I have spent quite a lot of time contemplating how everyday could get to be a bit more like everyday on a vacation. The obvious answer of course is to just lay by the beach all day and sip margaritas. The short term effects of this would probably b y great. A lot of relaxation and no stress at all. Until your boss calls and yells at you for not being at your desk. Then no relaxation, no margaritas and no job – which you could argue would give more time for the beach – but as you probably will have bills to pay, then again, this is a somewhat  shortsighted solution.

What you need to do is look a little deeper into what separates normal everyday life from everyday life while being on vacation. This can of course depend a lot on how you spend your vacation. Some people like to spend them horisonttally on a deck chair in front of a pool, only having to lift their arms to have a cocktail put into them by the all-inclusive staff. Others like to spend their vacations on training camps or hiking around exploring.

Perhaps with the exception of the “all-inclusive-glued-to-the-deck-chair-I-WON’T-move!” vacation all the other actually have quite a bit in common although their expression of it differs. What they have in common is new experiences. What makes a vacations leave such a long lasting and worthwhile impact is the multitude of new experiences you have.

In contrast, what characterizes “normal” everyday living is the exact opposite. A lot of routine and not many new experiences. You could go see your friends, but hey there is Netflix and a day tomorrow, so perhaps it is better if you just stay on the couch tonight, you can do so tomorrow. Then tomorrow arrives. Today you’ll go have fun with your friends, a but wait today is training day with your team. It’ll have to wait until tomorrow. And then each day goes by, followed by each week and nothing new happens. Each week just looks like the previous on repeat, like Christmas holiday television, the same over and over again.

The solution is simple but not easy. Don’t ever confuse the two.

What you need to do more often is break out your regular routines. I had sort of an epiphany with regards to this recently. I grew up near the ocean and always find myself seeking towards the ocean and water whenever possible. I love being near water, on water and swimming in water. It by all means make me happier. Having moved to the capital of Denmark a few years back, this swimming and being close to the ocean was made a bit more complicated. Note; complicated. Not impossible by any means as Copenhagen actually is right beside the coast and ocean, but getting there was a bit harder as I would have to drive through heavy traffic to get there. For almost two years I didn’t swim all that much during summer. Of course I had a few swims when vacation or anything of the like brought me in a situation where swimming was obvious or easy. But even though I lived not that far from the sea I never went there myself even though if I had lived the same distance to the sea on a vacation I would probably have went almost everyday when weather allowed for it.

After a recent move, and while thinking some of the thoughts that is put to writing here, it suddenly dawned on me that I had no more than 15 minutes of drive from my apartment to the beach. If I was unhappy about not spending enough time near or in water, it was totally my own fault! This had to change!

So I made the decision to actually do take the time to go for a evening swim during weekdays. Go out experience something new and be open to what it might bring. I also find myself more often going out to photograph and see landmarks and points of interest close by that I otherwise probably wouldn’t have. Sure the urge for just being at home some days are stronger, and the point is not to always force yourself out of the door, but the point is that some days you do. Some days you DO fight the urge to stay on the couch during weekdays and go out either for yourself or with friends for new experiences.

They are out there waiting for you. Go get them!

Into the wild – Christopher McCandless aka. Alexander Supertramp

I stumbled upon this story in a quite unusual way. Usually I find interesting documentaries, movies and content in general from blogs, people I follow etc. I almost never watch TV or consume, what could be called random content – it’s almost always a deliberate choice, which has both up- and downsides, but that’s a topic/discussion for another day. But this story I surprisingly bumped into some random night watching TV.

The story about Christopher McCandless or Alexander Supertramp as he called himself, is described both in a motion picture and a book by the same name: Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer. As described above, I first encountered the motion picture version. And I was almost blown away by it. It may have something to do with the fact, that I at the time, had just returned from my month of Solo-travel in Myanmar and here I was back in Denmark watching a movie that described a lot of the same feeling I had both before and during my trip. It made quite an impact on me.

I started a little research about the guy Christopher McCandless, which the movie was based on and soon found out that there was a book written about his endeavor as well. I had to read it.

Without spoiling too much, the story in short is about a young guy who sells all his belongings to pursue a dream of living in the wild, without any help from modern day conveniences. It could be just another naive, semi-stupid guy getting lost in his own identity, but he is a very inspiring young guy with so much energy and passion for living.

You can surely get away with reading the book or watching the movie in any order, but the book includes a lot more details than the movie and has a lot of references to people who has or could have inspired Christopher McCandless. If you like the thought of leaving everything behind, maybe just for a short while the story sure will make an impact on you.

I would like to just bring a quote from the book, which is actually not by Christopher McCandless but by a guy called Everett Ruess. He lived way before McCandless even was born, but as McCandless he was a young guy who went out into the wild to explore both nature and himself. This is a letter he wrote to his brother that is just so incredibly philosophical:

As to when I shall visit civilization, it will not be soon, I think. I have not tired of the wilderness; rather I enjoy its beauty and the vagrant life I lead, more keenly all the time. I prefer the saddle to the streetcar and star-sprinkled sky to a roof, the obscure and difficult trail, leading into the unknown, to any paved highway, and the deep peace of the wild to the discontent bred by cities. Do you blame me then for staying here, where I feel that I belong and am one with the world around me? It is true that I miss intelligent companionship, but there are so few with whom I can share the things that mean so much to me that I have learned to contain myself. It is enough that I am surrounded with beauty…

Even from your scant description, I know that I could not bear the routine and humdrum of the life that you are forced to lead. I don’t think I could ever settle down. I have known too much of the depths of life already, and I would prefer anything to an anticlimax.

The book is filled with interesting people who pursued the dream of a more ”natural” and simple life. And the story about Christopher McCandless is just so inspiring. Some people write him of as being a naive young kid with a death-wish. But read or watch and judge for yourself – it’s definitely not the impression I ended up with. Whether you pick up the bookor watch the movie I can’t ever imagine you being disappointed about the story.

After having finished it I picked up another book by the same author called Into Thin Air: A Personal Account of the Mt. Everest Disaster, about an Everest expedition that went terribly wrong, as with Into The Wild, this is a very interesting read – but I will save the final verdict and details to another blog post.

Vagabonding solo for a month in Myanmar

Updates on this blog will be probably close to nonexistent, for the next month. I have left the cold Northern Europe behind and set out to spend a month in Myanmar. Some of the big cities, may have internet connectivity, but my focus will be elsewhere, so do not expect much for the entire month of April.

What it should bring however, is some cool handstand and other gymnastic pictures of me, that I can use in the posts, I plan to write, upon returning. Even brought my gymnastic rings, and hope to find some good places to hang them and have a good workout, in different and amazing scenery.

As a little story of the start of my journey. I started by going to Bangkok, where I am at the moment. I needed a visa for Myanmar, but since I only figured that part out too late, I was not able to get it fixed before leaving home, as my country did not have a Myanmar embassy. I was just about to let go of the thought of coming to Myanmar this April; but then I read about the possibility of getting same day visa in Bangkok. It sounded possible, so I booked my flight to Bangkok with return from Yangoon and 2 days in Bangkok to get the visa.

First of Google maps pulled a “Apple maps” on me, and the address I got for the embassy was right, it just were nowhere close to where Google maps, had it placed. A friendly guard outside the German embassy helped me by getting a taxi and of I went. When I got there the queue was pretty long, as expected. But most people, had some formulas they had filled, and I could not spot them anywhere. I asked someone and he said that I should ask by the counter. Then I walked past everybody, all the way to the counter, asked for it, and two for a Spanish couple that needed them as well. And with a smile, the girl at the counter gave them to me, that just took some of the tension of early on – as long as they smile, you are able to talk your way out of most things.

I filled the form, found two pictures and a copy of my passport, then got in line. By the counter I even found glue, for attaching the one picture to the form and paper clips, to keep everything together. When I got to the counter, I handed over the papers, she looked at them, gave a few stamps and handed me a number – then I just had to wait, in a hot dense room, full of people, until it was my turn to get to the next step. But for some very odd reason, I only managed to turn around, before my number was called. I went to the other counter, handed in my papers once more. She asked me when I was leaving, which is Saturday and when I wanted it back, same day or next day – I said same day if possible – it was, cost was like 200 bath more, but that was very worth it. I wanted my passport back as soon as possible. Then I just payed the total amount and went out the door, a passport poorer and a little yellow slip of paper richer.

Then all I had to do, was return at 15:30 to pick up my passport; this was easier than anticipated. Checking in at my hotel without a passport, gave the fun process, at least for my simple mind, of seeing the clerk take a photocopy, of my photocopy, of my passport.

I returned that afternoon to the embassy, had to wait some time as there was totally packed with people in the little room, which was equipped with two very large aircon-units, that for some reason was not running, but instead was replaced with a little fan on the floor. But after some waiting, I got my passport back and now I can make my way into Myanmar. Let the adventure begin…