Anticipation isn’t just something we practice before we leave on a trip.
It’s an experience that goes with us even as we travel and, for the creative person, something that fuels our returns with as much excitement as when we set forth on the trip.
On virtually every long trip I’ve taken with my immediate family, the last day or two gets filled with several concurrent conversations:
- “Now what?” Sometimes this involves trying to pack in as much as we can in the remaining hours we have. More often, it means adjusting to a quieter pace and relaxing on the last day or two, savoring all that has come before.
- “Remember when?” The end of the trip is a time of initial reflection, an attempt to keep the enthusiasm high as we relate to each other high points from the past several days or weeks.
- “I can’t wait to…” This is where what I call “reverse anticipation” kicks in. Here, everyone begins to give words to dreams that are formed around returning home. Sometimes, we discuss friends or family we’ve missed and long to see. Other times, we think of tasks we need to perform. But usually, something on the trip has sparked a dream.
This last direction causes us to rhapsodize about creative projects we want to continue, the distance from them and home adding greater impetus to our desire to see them accomplished. Or just as likely, we become enthusiastic about new projects we want to start as a result of something we encountered on the trip.
In any case, we enter into a new form of anticipation as we look forward to our coming home. We see return not as the end of our trip and all its fun and excitement, but as the beginning of a new opportunity to extend what we have learned and become on the trip. Thus, the trip continues in ways we never would have suspected before we left.
Here at The Meaningful Traveler, I’m about to venture forth into something new as well. Not the end of this trip of writing on meaningful travel, but more like coming home to start something very new and yet really, just an extension of what I’ve been doing here at The Meaningful Traveler for the last four plus years.
I’ll share more about this next time, but I leave you with this reminder: Great trips never really end. We just extend them into the future, drawing from them and using what we learned from them to anticipate our next adventure.
And as with life itself, in so doing, even as we learn to value the present moment more, we simultaneously live in a manner that is always looking forward.