These months marks that it’s now been two years since we stopped traveling full-time and started living in Denmark. We have done trips, but max 2–3 weeks and max a few times per year.
The lockdowns following the Corona epidemic somehow got me reflecting more than usual on traveling, since for the first time in my adult life I cannot go where I want, when I want.
Reflections are mostly about what kind of trips I want to do in the future and which countries I want to get to know more. I definetely feel a bigger and bigger need for living a long period in another country (actually moving there for +1 year) and my need for short trips is definetely decreasing.
Besides that, here are some positives things I have noticed about not traveling:
Microseasons is a term I love. It’s the many small seasons you experience throughout a year, some only lasting a few days. It’s the first days you noticed the trees going green in the spring, it’s the first days where you are outside without a jacket, the first day you see brown leaves that marks the transition from summer to fall.
These small seasons and transitions are worth noticing and worth spending a little time enjoying. You completely overlook these when traveling around, changing climates and not staying longer in one place. Many of these marks a change of energy and it’s a simple way to appreciate stuff around you that most take for given and don’t notice.
For more on microseasons, read about Japan’s 72 microseasons here.
When you are traveling, you are a guest who gets a glimpse of everyday life in a place. Living in a place you are more a real part of that life and not just an outsider observing it. Observing the dynamics and energy in a neighborhood, getting to know your neighbours, saying good morning to the same people all creates a feeling of belonging that is very underrated.
I’m lucky to live in a neighborhood where the urban planning help create social interactions. It’s not something I gave any thoughts when buying the apartment, but it’s something I will give a lot of value the next time I move. I would 100% rather live in a smaller apartment and have a very good surrounding area than a big house with a fence around.
This is one of the best things I have learned by staying in the same place for longer. I have really understood a need I have and how I want to live going forward.
Seeing the same things hundreds of times
Most people love seeing new things, but seeing the same things again and again can be a small noteworthy adventure in itself. Going for the same run, run og bikeride in different seasons, in different weather, in different directions and at different times of the day will give you very different experiences. Often you will see something you haven’t seen or experienced before, even if it’s a place where you have been many many times.
I love seeing the exact same place again and again. There is a big lake a little bit north of Copenhagen (Furesøen), which I have ran around at least 75 times. I know each small turn, the houses, the nature and the differences in the neighborhoods. Still, I love running there every time I go. My relationship with the place expands a little bit every time.
Digesting earlier experiences
I have earlier been very very focused on more and more experiences, but not having enough time to really digest them. After traveling extremely intensely for 4 years and now being back for 2 years, I feel I’m still digesting many of the experiences. The peace of mind that comes with staying in the same place for a longer period, creates headspace for sudden memories of past experiences to emerge.
There is suddenly space to also remember the small things, like that afternoon spring walk in the park in Seoul that right away makes you remember how it was to be there. And often those small things, those feelings, are the things most worth remembering.
Originally published at Nikolaj Astrup.