When you hear the words "live like you're traveling", what do they make you think? Being just as happy as when we're on a trip? People always ask us, well I'd like to live like I'm traveling, but what should I actually do? The trick is to bring elements of travel that make us happy, excited, engaged right into our everyday life. This does not require big changes like moving to another continent but simply introducing little tweaks into how we go about our day. Currently, as the holiday season is upon us, something we'll be spending time on is shopping for presents! Chore or adventure? Regardless of how you feel about it, we're here to challenge you to make this gift giving season one of adventure not only for yourself but for those who will receive your amazing gifts!
To help you stay on the 'adventure track' when you're gift shopping this season, we've put together a couple of rules. Should you dare to follow them, a whole new world will be revealed...
Rule #1: No internet!
The internet really does give us a false feeling of knowing "everything". It's easy, it's right at our fingertips, we can shop for shoes right from from our phones sitting on the couch watching an actress on TV run to catch a cab in a fabulous pair of heels. That's the ultimate convenience right? But is it the ultimate luxury? Somewhere on this road to instant gratification, quick, easy and comfortable became mighty guards at the doors of our self imposed house arrest. Where is the adventure... the thrill of a treasure hunt? The sense of accomplishment and excitement that comes from discovering something new?
Part of the allure and strong pull of travel is that when we travel we are 'captive audience' to the movie that is our own life. We are in a place, for a certain amount of time, with the sole purpose of discovering it. Is it not also the description of 'life'? And the funny thing happens the moment we get home from travels and unpack our suitcases, we get back on the couch and become spectators again, in the words of my three year old son: "Why?". This is probably where technology fails us. By giving us the false feeling that everything we need to know is located in the little shiny square in the palm of our hand. If we don't see something that amazes us in the first 30 seconds of browsing we feel that there is NOTHING left out there for us to discover, explore, or understand. Our adventure muscles became atrophied and we need to rehabilitate them! (And you thought there was nothing deep and cathartic about shopping...)
Rule #2: Venture OUT there into the big wide "offline" world!
Now I don't mean running around the overcrowded department store. I mean looking up (if you don't already know) where is a neighborhood with small boutiques. Stroll the streets there. The key is to stay away from the main street and go to an area where artisans and designers have set up shops. During the holidays there are also many opportunities in the form of Artisan Markets and Christmas Markets. (You may use the internet to look up this info, but that's all!)
Rule #3: Talk to the shopkeepers!
I know this is a really difficult one. With all this social media overload somehow we've developed social anxiety and forgot how to coordinate uttering words and looking at someone in the eyes. And then there is this whole thing of having to be witty and charming in real time... Oy... Again, there is hope, we just have to practice. The reason we are sending you to talk to shopkeepers is because in small boutiques they are a lot of times the designer or artisan themselves! It's a chance to get to know them and let them share a bit of the process with you. They are probably using local ingredients, or perhaps have brought treasures with them from their travels. They have stories. You might even become friends "in real life".
Rule #4: Find the time by reassigning and combining your daily activities.
Somehow, someway we started thinking that walking around and browsing shops leisurely stopping at a cafe for a drink is luxury we can afford time to only on vacation. Au contraire! There is time! Here is how you find it. Obviously you can dedicate time during the weekend, but you can even fit it into your workweek. If you work in a city, use your lunch hour. You can also make a weeknight date out of it with the whole family. Have a quick bite out, kids and all, and then go for a stroll all together! Kids love adventures as much as we, big kids, do.
Rule #5: Go for gifts that someone "would not get for themselves".
The best gifts are those that help us get "out of the box". Something that let's us try on a different life, look, way of being. Yes, kind of like what travel does for us! The trick to really inspiring someone with a gift is to give them something they would not normally get for themselves because they may think it's a bit extravagant, a bit envelope pushing, or simply something they would not find on the shelves of a department store. In my family there is a certain aunt who is famous for giving the best gifts. I remember receiving a gift from her when I was thirteen of 6 clothes hangers. Practical? Yes, but these were not regular clothes hangers, they were scented, padded ones with beautiful lace detailing and delicate pink bud roses. They came in a box wrapped in scented pink tissue paper. Perfect gift for a thirteen year old girl who is thinking about what her style as a woman is going to be, and what kinds of dresses will need to hang on these hangers in her future glamorous life... (I still have these hangers by the way.)
Now, get out there and SHOP like you're traveling!
Photo Credits: via Instagram
@muhsien.lee discovers a shop with dresses made of candy wrappers in Chicago
@erikaholum on her recent trip to Paris comes a boutique with Opera inspired Perfumes
@sofiaprotti finds inspiration for work by shopping at her local market
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