You wake up under a mountain of blankets, notice the frost on the window and begin thinking about the workday ahead. A long commute, drawn out meetings and a computer screen await. These winter months have a way of sapping enthusiasm from even the most enthusiastic among us.
For years, Saskia and I have made it a habit to find a time every winter - usually after the hustle and bustle of our crazy holiday season - to step away from the everyday and go adventure.
I say adventure rather than vacation, because to us that's what travel represents: not a time to lean back, but rather lean in to something new. These days adventure takes a different form than when we were young - with two kids in tow, certain guidelines apply - but the spirit remains unchanged.
When we travel, we shed our skins and explore the world through a different lens. We find new places, talk to everyone and explore each new path. We break the rules we normally impose on ourselves (and our kids) in favor of trying something new. Staying up past bedtime? Forgoing nap? Eating dessert for dinner? Absolutely! But also taking a mountain hike, ziplining through the jungle and swimming across the lake.
Beyond the pleasure and freedom of these special days, we often find a new perspective; Something within us lets go just enough for new ideas to rush into the cracks in our grownup armor. I think we all live our habits, find comfort in them, and hold them tight, even when they no longer serve. When we travel, inspiration often hits in the least likely of places.
Take the octopus salad we ate at the delicious restaurant Abbocato outside Playa Hermosa, Costa Rica on our recent January trip. Our new friend Joanna recommended it to us while sitting in the sand, eating ice cream with the kids. Saskia and I decided on a night out and while the kids played with their lovely new Venezualan babysitter Veronica, we headed up the mountain for what would prove an inspiring evening.
The octopus arrived on a turquoise plate, mixed with greens and red tomatoes, splattered here and there with a burnt orange sauce. Beyond its delicious flavor, the visual presentation struck Saskia's eye. In her mind, she began designing a necklace - probably not out of octopus, but incorporating those vivid colors.
In that moment, under the stars, speaking a different language in a foreign culture, Saskia allowed her mind to open to new possibilities. You never know when inspiration hits, but travel - real, lean in type travel - gets you ready to allow it in.