It’s been just a day back but I’m already deep in travel withdrawal and thinking about the next place I can visit. There’s just something so invigorated about being out of your routine and being surrounded by new places to explore, new people to meet, and new food to eat.
In my research today, I came across this concept of “mini-life” that I found really intriguing. Basically, a mini-life is living your normal life, but in a different city. It’s immersing yourself into a new place and neighborhood for a month or more at a time versus just taking a quick trip to skim through the sights of a place you are visiting. This type of travel and living is becoming even more popular with so many people working remotely and it makes a lot of sense. I love nothing more than finding my neighborhood café or bar or the best place to walk Nessa when I move to a new place. But, eventually, it all becomes routine. For me, routine is nice and comfortable at first. But then, it just becomes annoyingly boring.
How exciting would it be to live in a different city, every few months, and really get to know a place? Aside from constantly coming to the realization that living in another place and in a different way is possible, I think the added benefit for me is to continually be putting myself out of my comfort zone and growing from that experience. Moving to Portland just over two years ago definitely did this for me, and I love it here – absolutely love it here, but even here I’m not immune from the desire to travel and explore more. Actually, our initial plan when we moved to the west coast was to find a way to live ½ the year in Portland and ½ the year in NYC and this, in essence, would have been living mini-lives. But I have already lived in NYC for six years, so I’d probably want to explore some other cities on my list that I’ve never been to – Austin, Santa Fe, Asheville, Madison – and some that I’ve been to, but would want to return to, like Minneapolis, Chicago, LA, SF, San Diego, New Orleans, Pittsburgh, and even Nashville.
So that’s what has been keeping my mind busy today. Is there possibly a way to travel and live in these places for periods of time, bringing Nessa along, and continuing to successfully work remotely for my day job? I think back to my study abroad experience during my junior year of college - I never would have become fluent in Spanish and had such a great understanding of the culture of Southern Spain without living in Granada for six months. What I learned living in my senora’s house, discovering spots for tapas every weekend, or finding the best walking route to get to class in the morning are aspects of the life that I would have never grasped if I was only there for a week or a quick vacation. I think I’ve always been that kind of traveler – more interested in finding the more local aspects of a place and its people instead of doing and going to all of the touristy spots. I guess I’m just so happy there’s actually a name for this kind of thing now.
“The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page.”
~ St. Augustine
“We travel not to escape life, but for life not to escape us.”
“If you think adventure is dangerous, try routine, it is lethal.”
~ Paulo Coelho
“Travel is like love, mostly because it’s a heightened state of awareness, in which we are mindful, receptive, undimmed by familiarity and ready to be transformed. That is why the best trips, like the best love affairs, never really end.”
~ Pico Iyer
About this photo: I just realized that I have lived a mini-life once before back in 2011 when Matt and I moved to Center Lovell, Maine for 3 months to work in the kitchens at Quisisana Resort. This photo is from one of our day trips to Mount Washington.