On Chasing the High

chasing the high

You know the high I’m referring to here.

It’s that tingly feeling, the one that starts at your core and radiates outward to the tips of your fingers and toes. A smile spreads across your face, illuminating your entire countenance. And all you can think is, “hell yes.” That is, if you didn’t actually shout it out loud at the top of your lungs.

You’ve just hit purchase on that plane ticket. Or booked that incredible tour around the temples of Cambodia, or trekking to base camp in Nepal. A sailing trip along the coast of Croatia.

Or maybe you’re going to Paris for the first time, or back to London to stay at a hotel on the same street you used to live on almost eight years ago.

It’s doesn’t matter the trip – it’s the feeling you get.

Travelers are always chasing the high.

I don’t know if it’s purely excitement, or adrenaline, or nervous anticipation. Probably a combination. But there’s a feeling associated with turning a dream vacation into a reality.

And it doesn’t stop at just the booking.

Once you arrive at your destination, and begin to absorb all the sights, the sounds, the smells… that feeling is back. You’re alive. And you are living the moment. That’s a powerful drug.

This is why you find that travelers are constantly finding new ways to push their boundaries. Certain things have become comfortable. Safe… even easy. They have to go farther, more exotic, more remote to find that feeling of being challenged again.

They’re chasing the high.

I’ve done it. I’ve acclimated to being dropped off in foreign countries, and subsequently searched for other ways to reach the edge of my comfort zone. It’s sort of strange to think that when I first arrived in Sydney, it was a French cafe that made me feel the tug of the familiar. Imagine, an American girl in Australia feeling like something French is what she most identifies with. But that in itself is pretty cool as well.

And this phenomenon begs the question, do we ever get to a point when we simply cannot reach that same high?

Do we get too well-traveled, too blasé about different places, people, and cultures that we begin to lose the concept of foreign?

I don’t know. There’s plenty of people out there who have traveled to many more places than I, so perhaps they are better suited to answer that question.

But I hope they say no.

The reason: I want every experience, in every place, whether well-known or brand-spanking new, to always have that same level of excitement.

Because if you’re lucky enough to go once, twice, or even a thousand times, you better appreciate it. Don’t allow yourself to become so disenchanted that you fool yourself into thinking you’ve already done or seen it all.

You haven’t. You just need to reconnect with that child inside – the one that still holds all the world in a state of awe, who approaches each situation with curiosity and an open mind. It’s amazing what incredible experiences are still open to you if you decide to drop the mask of indifference.

So let’s try that for a bit, shall we? It would do wonders in overcoming our adventure envy. It might even teach us to appreciate more of the seemingly mundane, like going to Paris for the thousandth time.

You just might find yourself chasing that high again, and finding it.

  • I love this! That feeling starts for me when I book a holiday and intensifies the closer I get to going on holiday and is almost at breaking point by the time I hit the airport. It is amazing and nothing compares to it x

    • Isn’t it the greatest?! I confess though that when I lived in Paris, I sort of “got used” to being there, and every once in a while would have to pinch myself and remember, “hey, you’re doing laundry yes… but the Eiffel Tower is RIGHT THERE!!” lol I have a trip back coming up though this spring, and though it’s still several months away, I’m already getting excited. 🙂

  • It hasn’t gotten old yet! There is always something new to do and see! Although, I think the majority of that is mindset, looking for those moments, and just taking them in with awe – because, as my husband remarked yesterday when we were heading out on errands, the guy who was furiously tailgating us clearly was not in awe of the sunset like we were.

    • Haha obviously that driver was not soaking up the moment!! lol I love that even people who travel frequently and have seen so much still feel so much excitement to go out and see more. Mindset is so much of it too… they do say that perspective is 90% of life, ad I agree. If you’re determined to be unimpressed then there’s not much anyone or any place can do to change that! 🙂

  • Ah yes, I know I am always the one chasing that high. It does seem harder and harder to obtain though.

    • It does, doesn’t it? Not that you don’t enjoy destinations anymore, but it doesn’t give you that same jolt of adrenaline.

  • It’s definitely addictive isn’t it? Even makes flying bearable! 😀

    • It is!! And I’m with you on the flying – so not my favorite way to get from place A to place B. But, it’s worth it in the end! 🙂

  • Oh gosh, D and I were actually *just* talking about this. We were just on a short trip to Halong Bay, and it was beautiful. But D was like “you know, it’s nice, but I think maybe if we haven’t seen anything else, it’d feel more amazing.” Sadly, I think there does come to a point when you’ve just seen too much (ugh, I hate myself for sounding like this) and new things don’t hold the same fascination anymore. I remember when we were going through Europe, it eventually got hard to get excited about seeing another cathedral. But I think being just a tiny bit less in awe doesn’t mean that we’re not grateful or unappreciative anymore to be able to see all these incredible things! I still get so excited about visiting new places!

    • I can definitely relate to not wanting to see anymore cathedrals!! lol. I do remember on my first trip to London though, and I was so wide-eyed and had no idea what to expect, like the sky would somehow be a different color on another continent. And then I lived in Europe for four years, and by the end I would be on the train from Paris to Amsterdam for the hundredth time it seemed and totally used to it. I’d watch other tourists who were doing the route for the first time, pulling out their maps to excitedly plan where they wanted to go and taking photos out of the windows. I will say though, there is something pretty cool about getting to the point where you feel like to “belong” in Europe, or anywhere else for that matter! It’s a whole new thrill from travel, and one that is not earned lightly. 🙂

  • Rachel Lin

    Totally agree!

  • Ah I know that feeling all so well! Booking flights brings such a thrill – it’s so addictive. I love that travel (even before you get to the destination) brings so much happiness.

    • Isn’t it fabulous how just the simple click of a button can promise so many fabulous things to come?! After the initial panic that you messed up the dates or something that is lol. It is indeed addictive! 🙂

  • Travel is our passion – and it’s addictive! But as travel writers, we never want to get to that point where travel becomes a chore, just another luxury hotel to flop down in, another museum to traipse through. We like a good balance between working and writing stories at home and then venturing out exploring another new place in the world.

    • That’s a great balance to have. I often “forget” to explore more of my own backyard, but when I do I am usually pleasantly surprised. You don’t always have to go to the farther corner of the world to get that travel kick!

  • Nita

    Great post Amy! All too familiar with this high 😉 Definitely the best kind! And I’m glad I still get excited before and during each trip. Hope that never changes. Don’t see it happening too! Travel makes you curious about learning and that stays with you, even when you’re not traveling. Cheers to more adventures and wonderful moments!!

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