Someone on the writer’s staff at Saturday Night Live must have gone on a group tour recently, because a skit on last week’s show captured perfectly – and hilariously – one of the unspoken truths of travel: You’re still the same person when you go on vacation.
“We can take you on a hike,” the tour spokesman says; “we cannot turn you into someone who likes hiking.”
I do believe that travel can be transformative, but like most major transforming events in our lives, the effect is usually gradual and felt over time. An experience can be a catalyst for change, yes, but it can take years for the change to fully root itself into your life. You’re unlikely to wake up on day 2 of your vacation and suddenly be a completely different person.
If you *feel* like a different person while you’re on vacation, it’s probably because travel is bringing out the best parts of you – the parts that are normally constrained by everyday life. But this isn’t changing who you are, just making you more of your true self. (The trick is to try to hang onto that when you go back home.)
It’s an important bit of wisdom to keep in mind as you plan your travels. You need to know yourself, and own it. This is not to say you should always play it safe. Definitely push yourself a bit to try something new and get out of your comfort zone, if just for a little while – this is how we grow and evolve. But don’t push yourself so far that you end up hating your entire vacation – this is how we give up traveling.
“To thine own self be true” doesn’t have an exception for when you leave the country.
You can watch the SNL skit here. Enjoy!