You’re sitting in traffic on the way to the office and a plane flies overhead. Your eyes dart up, taking in its path; your mind drifts with its trajectory. Where is it going? What would it be like to be a passenger on that jet? You’ve always dreamed about closing your eyes, pointing to a map, and traveling to the first place your finger lands. As creeping cars in nearby lanes close in on you, you long for that spontaneity—a promise of the unknown and a welcome change from the day-in and day-out; a bland routine, at best. But that plane… New experiences… A break from life as you know it…
It’s easy to put off travel. There will likely never be a “perfect time.” For those of us who wish to roam the globe, that is something we simply have to accept. There will always be obligations, a never-ending list of to-dos, and circumstances in both work and life beyond our control. Unattainable perfection aside, if you pause and listen, the universe may be telling you it’s time to pack your bags and hit the road.
Here are 7 signs from the universe that you are meant to travel.
You find yourself looking up Airbnbs for fun.
In the past, vacation rentals, hotels, hostels and couch surfing never seemed very… sexy. But with posh aesthetics (oh that natural light), wild locations (hello Costa Rica tree house) and colorful amenities (outdoor shower, anyone?), hunting for short-term rentals is now a feast for the senses. Perusing places to stay is almost as fun (if not more so for the design-conscious) than looking up tourist attractions in your destination of choice. When your online wish lists begin to fill, time is of the essence. Book that flight.
Your Pinterest board is flooded with pictures of other places.
Down the rabbit hole you go. You started on photos of Yosemite Valley and somehow jumped from board to board, via recommended pins and eye-catching locations, to landing in Santiago. You picture yourself there, trying to decide between day trips. Shall I trek the Andes Mountains or visit an artisan market? Why not both? Take a hint from the universe—stop filling the board and start packing your suitcase. And wouldn’t it be nice to use the little “tried it” feature on an epic summit pic?
Photo by Chris Eckert at Wanderlust Tremblant, Quebec, Canada
You’re craving a new setting.
When life has become suffocating and still, when you’ve just left an intense job, or departed a lengthy relationship, it’s time for fresh air. And nothing shakes things up like travel. Miraculously, through all the “shaking,” we’re able to purge, find new perspective, get unstuck, and come back to center. When we’ve lost our internal compass amidst our minuscule circle, finding true north in the wider world has never felt so good. So whether you’re stuck in metaphorical quicksand or you’ve recently been set free, the universe is giving you the green light. Go.
You’re spending more money on experiences than on material goods.
When you no longer desire material items, but instead seek out rich experiences—ones that add verve to your memory bank and flair to your photo album—consider this fuel in your gas tank or banked airline miles, all eager to be used. You may even begin sorting, purging, posting on Craigslist, and simplifying the clutter that absorbs precious physical and mental space. It’s true, happiness can’t be bought… unless it includes an airline ticket or a stocked camper van. So if you’re currently questioning, “Do I need this?” or, “Will it fit in my backpack?” then it’s time to re-gift the items—and hit the road.
Your bucket list consists of seeing places, rather than checking boxes.
When classic, dinner party small-talk makes you want to jump out the window, consider a change of scenery. Maybe discussing climbing the corporate ladder or commiserating about cubicle life used to interest you, but things have changed. Your one, five and ten-year goals no longer revolve around your career, or checking off socially acceptable accomplishments for a cookie-cutter life. (College. Marriage. House. Babies. Retirement. Prune juice…) Instead, your “goals” are an ever-growing bucket-list of the places you’d like to see; food you’d like to taste from street vendors; mountains you’d like to traverse. So the next time you’re discussing life insurance and 401K’s over appetizers, find the fire exit and bail.
You feel envious of travel bloggers on Instagram.
Let’s face it. You follow them because… well… you can’t not look. Seeing them in a hot air balloon over Dubai does make you a tad jealous, but it also allows you to picture yourself in their place. Oh, did I say a tad jealous? I really meant drooling with envy. This envy is a gift from the universe. Embrace it. You continue to follow them (in spite of the loathing) because somewhere deep down, you know it can be you. Let’s end the scrolling and make it happen.
You’re sitting on your bum watching travel documentaries.
If you’re more interested in far off places than Big Bang Theory reruns, it’s time to act. You’re never going to get wet watching surf films, those obscure animals are much more fascinating in person, and Everest looks suspiciously tame on Direct TV. So grab the surfboard, pack the camera or don the hiking boots. Oh, and ditch The Travel Channel. Because it’s time to see the world in front of the lens.
We’ll see you on the other side.
Kacey Janeen Waxler is a California-based yoga instructor and writer on the hunt for adventure and good stories. Her words can be located amongst noteworthy brands including Corona Extra, Athleta, and Darling Magazine, and in the flesh she can be found reading unapologetically from the glow of a headlamp, geeking out over sequencing, or neck deep in a deliciously hot bath. Follow her adventures at @kaceyjaneen or kaceyjaneen.com.