New York City never sleeps. People live more than they rest. After moving to the city, I took on a more New York state of mind. I sometimes feel afraid of going to sleep early because I might miss out on something, the fear of missing out (FOMO). I will squeeze meetings into my schedule, go to different events and participate in more activities than I can handle. It seems like everyone around me lives this way. I look on my social media and see friends running half marathons and seeing Lion King all in one weekend.
Recently, I decided to take a trip to Asia. Unlike other trips I’ve taken in the past, I didn’t make plans or do any research before I went. I decided to just go and figure things out along the way. My goal was to have a peaceful mind and not worry about missing something back home in New York.
I spent some time wandering around the streets in Shanghai, getting a coffee with a friend or just people watching. I felt a sense of peace. My friend asked me “where do you see yourself in 5 years.” I started listening closely to my inner voice and start thinking many possibilities in life.
Drinking traditional Korean tea in the most touristy area. I wasn’t searching for the coolest thing to do, but something interesting to me. Somehow I felt a sense of freedom by being a tourist in a city I have never been to before.
Here we were at Fushimi Inari Taisha. There was an overwhelming amount of people and we could barely take a picture, so we decided to leave early. We passed by a gift shop. She showed me some wind chimes and said “In the old time, the weather was hot, so when people feel the slightest sound of wind, they would feel happy” Sometimes, small things matter and can give you unexpected, touching feeling.
I love having a traveler’s mode to explore and experience. I feel I don’t have to act certain way to fit in or compare myself to anyone. At the end of the day, we are happy doing different things and we have different priorities in life. You have to do the things that matter the most to you, small or big, only you know what is important.
It is always good to take some time to pause, reflect and then go again.