InterNations member Juanita Kwarteng, the creator of 1000culturalencounters.com, has written this splendid article on how important it is for expats and global nomads to not lose sight of what’s right in front of us and to make the most of where we are. Enjoy!
I saw this quote recently: “The grass isn’t greener on the other side, it’s greener where you water it.”
These words got me thinking about the importance of enjoying what we have and where we are. As a traveller, I know that I have had those moments about wondering what it would be like to be in this place or what it would be like in that place. While it is important to have goals, I think that it is very important to treasure what we have in front of us.
I think this is particularly important for those of us that travel because travelling to a new country, city, or place can be an extremely challenging experience. The process of adjusting to a new place pushes us outside of our comfort zones.
Here are 5 ways that can allow us to make the most of where we are.
1. Connect to Others
In the process of adjustment, it is important to create spaces to meet new people. I think having a group of friends can make an unfamiliar place familiar and allow us to enjoy where we are. I have had success with meeting people on InterNations events, Couchsurfing, work environments, and with Meetup.com. These have all been great ways for me to meet amazing people in new cities.
2. Savour Ordinary Moments
It is important to savour the positive experiences in our lives. It is important to take time to appreciate the things that are going well or the things that we enjoy in a new location. Taking the time to marvel at what I am experiencing in the present moment helps me to make the most of where I am. If I see a tree or something that I really think is cool when I’m going for a walk I will take the time to appreciate it.
This is very important for me. As I have made it a point that whenever I feel afraid or fearful, I always make an effort to find something in my life that I am grateful for. Gratitude can remind us of the things that we have in challenging situations.
4. Be Kind to Yourself
I have realized that how we communicate with ourselves can be very important to how we perceive our environment. Being kind to ourselves when we are in challenging situations can allow us to realize that in fact the emotions that we experience (frustration, sadness) are a normal part of the human condition.
Laughter is one of my favourite things and I try to do it as often as possible. Laughter always makes me feel better and happier.
Thank you Juanita for your contribution to our blog!
Find out more about Juanita and her project 1000 Cultural Encounters here.
Picture of laughing children by David Shankbone, courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.