I'm utterly amazed at how different I feel after a week of travel. This could be because I was walking everywhere (at home, I can't even take a walk without driving to a trail first). So, more exercise may be a factor. I did a lot of walking around and exploring, plus, I have a penchant for getting lost, so I walked more than to simply get from one place to the next. It has also meant that since I've come back, I'm going for a walk everyday, because I now realize the importance of walking for refreshing my mind and body.
It may also be related to positive events, or comforts of living...I felt my talk was well-received, I met a number of dear friends, ate some of the best meals I have had in years, and enjoyed a quiet, clean, and modestly priced hotel room that still managed to have a completely luxurious feel.
Most of all, I was thrilled by an enduring feeling that I could accomplish something of value in my lifetime, regardless of whether or not I became an academic. This feeling is both fleeting and priceless for someone with my insecurities, so I'm wondering now what conditions bring about such feelings, and whether I can set up my life to recreate those conditions more frequently, preferably on a daily basis.
Some of what I enjoyed was convenience, because I was able to get from one place to another easily via public transportation or walking. Some of it was the wonderment of being in a new place, where suddenly nothing is familiar and everything is interesting. That level of stimulation only comes from being in a new place, and I doubt that can be recreated without travel. Good food and good friends (preferably both at once) add immeasurable value to life, and I'm always trying to cultivate these, so I don't envision developing any new habits on that front.
So...what was it? Probably some combination of all these, and I'm going to keep chewing on this question. I also wonder if it was the "vibe" of the place I was in. I've lived in places that seem to have higher and lower levels of "energy," and I find that I absorb these quite easily. This was a very high-energy place, and all I want is a way to go back, even if it isn't physically. I want to return to how my mind felt in that space.
There will be nostalgia for this week for a while, but just knowing that an amazing week is possible has already had some lasting effects. It will keep me going and keep me walking, writing, and thinking for a while. Best of all, it will keep me reaching for more at a time when I was on the verge of accepting my unemployment as a sign that I'm not good enough to achieve my dream.
Have you adopted any new habits after a trip? Have you quit any bad habits while traveling?