Journeys for Your Spirit - Airbnbmag
Photo by Martin Parr/Magnum Photos.

AS TOLD TO LAURA BROUNSTEIN

Stop searching for the perfect trip. Alain de Botton says it’s never going to happen. And that’s a good thing.

THERE IS A LOVELY PHRASE FROM NIETZSCHE that says the goal of life is to become who you really are. I think he means we should explore all our possibilities, and there are bits of us, waiting to be discovered, lodged in faraway places. So one can see the impulse to travel as a desire to complete ourselves.

We often plan our travel based on where the price is advantageous or on the last place someone told us about. But if we don’t start from our inner being and ask ourselves what we really hope to get out of the journey, we will miss out. Before you plan your next trip, ask yourself, What is truly missing in my life?

Then make a list of the words that come to mind. Did you think calm? Excitement? Understanding? Then try to think of places that might match up with those words. Say that calm, which is in short supply during our overstimulated times, is on your list. It’s out there, both in the vast spaces and, counterintuitively, in very busy and unfamiliar places.

Or say you want to feel more connected to your partner or to your family. Adventures can help bond us to the people we experience them with, whether that adventure is physical, like surfing, or by simply visiting a less luxurious location.

Last century, travel was all about throwing as much money as we could at having the softest sheets, the best drinks, the least friction. But sometimes it’s friction that brings us what we really want now: human connection. That might mean leaning across to your neigh­bor and saying, “What’s it like for you?” When that person is from another culture, you can appreciate more what’s particular about being you. And then there’s the delight of discovering that you have things in common.

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