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Getting Disoriented to Get Re-Oriented: What Happens with a Change in Scenery?

San Francisco
San Francisco

I was reminded this week of how much I love travel. (Well, not all aspects of travel-(shlepping my bag around the airport and spending $4.50 for bottled water don’t thrill me.)

There’s just a fresh perspective; a sense of having a little escape. Being in a new place challenges my brain and spirit. I’m more present. I observe people and things that are different from my regular environment, from my day to day routine.

Things like – weather. How soft or hard the water is when I shampoo my hair. How friendly the people seem to be. How many or how few Starbucks are around? Regional food & restaurants. I love cities where the strip centers and chain restaurants are less dominant.

I notice the landscape, the sky. Talking to or observing a variety of people – street musicians, homeless people, tourists or locals. Do they walk, bike or drive? Do people appear in a hurry or more laid back? What am I drawn to? What do I miss (or NOT miss) about home? Do I feel safe, helpless or lost?

I remember the days (before Google Maps & smart phones) when I was a pharmaceutical rep in a new sales territory armed with only a Mapsco and a list of names and addresses. I loved it when the rental car had a compass. Thirty years ago, I had a decent sense of direction and an openness to learn, stretch and to make mistakes. Being alone in a strange city didn’t frighten me. I had some fascinating adventures and a sense of mastery.

I once read that people like hotel rooms because they are sparse and neat. A bed, a nightstand, a clutter-free desk, a TV, and a bathroom with fresh towels. No reminders of laundry to be done, dishes to wash, bills to be paid. A mini-escape from our reality. Freedom to sleep in or take in a museum or live music. Time to play and explore.

While we can’t always travel hundreds of miles to a new city, there are ways to see our lives from a brand new point of view, challenge our status quo and rediscover a sense of adventure and excitement about our daily lives. Our brains, body and spirits are stimulated by novelty.

3 Simple Tips for When You Feel Stagnant, Stale, or Stuck

  1.  A change in scenery – literally. It can be taking a different route to work, exploring a new park or lake, or a part of the city you don’t know well; using the DART Rail. What about fresh flowers on your desk or in your home? Trying a new restaurant? Or is it time to plan a Real Vacation?
  2. Take in our city like a tourist. People take off work and visit here from all over the world to see things we take for granted. Grab a friend or family member & Go Play!
  3. Commit to yourself to learn something new (just for fun.) What appeals to you? Maybe join a Meetup Group and engage with people who are different from you. Take a class, or cook a different kind of food.


One of my Mom’s favorite quotes from Auntie Mame:

Life is a banquet



What are some ways you will stimulate your mind, body or spirit this week?
Please share in the comments below.

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