Travel as My Therapy

Back to Blog Patrick Weston — 09-22-2017
Back to Blog Travel as My Therapy

Traveling is a hobby for me, but it's also turned into much more than that. It's been a great way for me to get through things in the last few months.

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If you’re a regular follower of my content on Instagram, you know that I have traveled quite a bit this year. I’ve headed to all corners of the US: Boston, Vermont and Montreal; Florida; Texas, Arizona and New Mexico; Yellowstone, Portland, Seattle and Vancouver. I absolutely love to travel and to see how other people live, but I wanted to clear up the reason of why I’ve traveled so much this year. I feel I owe it to everyone to be honest and not to sugarcoat things.

It’s easy on social media to show the world only the good stuff. I’m definitely guilty of this. It just doesn’t make sense for me to post a picture when I’m having a bad day; nobody wants to see a photo of me being grumpy. I recently got back from a trip to Fargo, North Dakota and Minneapolis, Minnesota. It was a really great trip in helping me get my mind in a good place, so I thought I’d share some things.

The Fargo Theatre in downtown Fargo, North Dakota. I saw my first movie by myself: The Big Sick. The Fargo Theatre in downtown Fargo, North Dakota. I saw my first movie by myself: The Big Sick.

There are a myriad of reasons for why I’ve traveled so much this year. I’ve gone on a few trips for work, I’ve gone on some just for fun and others have fulfilled long-time travel dreams that I’ve had.

But the real reason that I’ve been traveling so much is because I’ve had a lot going on in my personal life. To be completely honest, these past couple of months have been some of the most difficult of my life. They’ve been painful, confusing and lonely.

I’ve been using travel as a way to escape the day-to-day realities that I’ve been facing. It’s been a way to change the scenery and to attempt to clear my headspace. There’s something about driving a rental car through a new land by myself with the radio on or a podcast playing that just seems to sooth my soul. The just-beginning-to-change leaves on my drive helped me realize how things start and stop, die and grow.

The leaves were just beginning to change in western Minnesota along I-94. The leaves were just beginning to change in western Minnesota along I-94.

I’m not too sure how healthy of a habit this is (it’s a tad expensive 😂), but it’s been helpful for me so far. It’s always hard to come back to reality at the end of a trip, but I’ve always found myself returning with increased optimism and new insights into life.

Some of the most recent #RoadTripWisdom I’ve discovered:

  • We are all unique. The role we play in this world is special and only we can fulfill it. There is a place for all of us. Everyone matters. I matter.
  • While we’re all unique, we share common experiences with other humans. We all have people we love, we all get happy and sad, we all fight daily battles. It’s ok to not be ok.
  • People, at their core, are overwhelming good.

I started the trip with a literal sunrise. And I ended it with a figurative one in my life. I started the trip with a literal sunrise, and I ended it with a figurative sunrise in my life.

I’ve been in some not-so-great places mentally these past few months. It’s been a real struggle to do both the big and the little things each day. These trips have provided me some light at the end of the tunnel – they’ve been something to look forward. And even more so than that, they’ve helped me cope with the struggles of life.

On the road I’ve had a lot of moments of personal clarity. A long flight that most people would be upset about has been a therapy session. Each mile on the road has been distance traveled toward a better me. Each meal I’ve eaten alone has been food for growth.

I’ve got a few more trips planned for this year…let’s see where I end up.

PS: If you want to know more about what I did on my adventures, be sure to check out my post about my race to visiting all 50 US States.

See also

Minneapolis Twins vs. Toronto Blue Jays Photo Credit: Patrick Weston