What does travel sum up to for you? Productivity? Sluggishness? Although it may seem obvious, the answer to that equation is completely up to you.

When we travel, we tend to switch to vacation mode and abandon our ideas, thoughts, and creativity. While it is healthy to relax, it is unhealthy to fall into the trap of what I like to call “travel quicksand.”

I just returned from Phase One of my summer adventure: I went on a cruise with my family for a week in which I explored Grand Turk, Puerto Rico, St. Thomas, and Dominican Republic. The trip was enlightening, spontaneous, relaxing, and exciting all at once. I was introduced to experiences I had never been exposed to before.

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Some days, I almost succumbed to that travel quicksand and spent hours simply laying down in the sun, avoiding thinking or feeling. But I reminded myself that, while my body was on vacation, my mind didn’t have to be. 

I just got back home from my trip, and next week I’ll be leaving for Phase Two of my summer: a whole month in Israel. I’m nervous– anxious, really– to step foot alone in the Holy Land. But I know that it will be the best experience of my life.

So what does all of this traveling mean for my writing?

While I may not have as much time to write, I know that I am investing my time into new experiences. These new experiences will, eventually, give me more substance to work with when it comes to poetry, blog posts, and nonfiction articles. 

Because of what I experienced during my travels in the Caribbean, I feel confident that I can write articles about things like the political climate of Puerto Rico, the exhilaration of swimming with stingrays, the spirituality of stepping into a centuries-old synagogue, or even about the perfect chaos of sleeping in a tiny room with people I love.

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The best travel tip I can give you is this: Always view your travels as investments that will aid you in the future. The truth is that they will. 

If you’re traveling this summer, never let your mind stop whirring. It’s meant to be on edge, to be thinking constantly, to be analyzing, examining, wondering. We are our thoughts, and if you don’t think, you are not processing where you are, who you are, or what you are doing.

The body is a shell– a vessel, if you will– that simply carries your mind and soul wherever you go. Your body is not your core; it is your carrier. Your soul is your core. So if you ever find yourself simply going with the flow, gliding through the cities you visit, acknowledging messages but never absorbing, you must remind yourself that you need to engage. You must think. Always remember this while traveling, and I promise you that laziness will not overcome you. 

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Have you ever fallen into the “travel quicksand,” succumbing to laziness while traveling away from home? Leave a comment below or contact me; I’d love to hear from you!

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*All photographs in this blog post are taken by Hannah Butcher. All rights reserved.