What I Learn From Travel

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new york
new york
new york
new york
New York city is a suprisingly good place to ride a bike even in winter.
new york
new york
new york

Travel teaches me acceptance and the importance of letting go of expectations.

As I write this I’m sitting in the Rapha store in Manhattan. This weekend I’m visiting a friend named Nicholas who I met a few years ago through Instagram funny enough. Our shared love of Italian two-wheelers and men’s fashion led us to comment on the same posts and eventually interact directly. Even though at the time he lived in NYC and I lived in Australia, we became friends. First meeting in Montreal largely by chance in late Dec 2014. Later, I helped introduce his girlfriend Laurie to Australia, when she moved to the city I lived in for post grad. This summer, Nick hosted me in his Soho flat here in NYC and I looked after his dog. So I’m back in winter for another visit and to get a taste of NYC at this time of year.

From my experience, the best way to discover a city is to be shown around by a local and in a place like New York City, this is especially true. There are so many choices and having the guidance of someone who’s lived here, gives you a chance to navigate the maze and enjoy the best the city has to offer.

A recent conversation with Wendy Hung, the founder at Jetset Times, got me reflecting on why I travel and how it’s become such an important part of my life. Somehow in the lottery of life, I was born to Australian parents who began traveling after getting together in their early twenties. My conception, I’m told, occurred in a tent on a windy hill in Wellington, New Zealand thus I got my start with what was to become a bit of a life theme of world wandering.

Flash forward a few decades later and I’m reflecting on the last couple of years of my nomadic existence and on how this affects my outlook on life. Traveling from an early age has implanted in me a fascination for discovering new things and a realisation that there will always be more to see and do in a relatively short period.

I’ve learned that people will come and go from your life and the only thing to do is get used to this idea and try to be present where you are. Not yearning too much for those left behind or the one you’re yet to meet.

No matter how long I have lived in one place (15 years is my record in one city,) it’s quite possible that I will never think of one place as home. Home, it seems, is more about the people in my life and the ones who make you feel at home in theirs.

I am learning over time that attachment to things (and often times, people) results in more baggage. There’s only so much you can carry with you, and the less you choose to lug around, the lighter, the freer one tends to feel.

Travel teaches me acceptance and the importance of letting go of expectations. The key to happiness, some say, is being able to enjoy the passage of time*. Acknowledge the reality you find yourself in and make the most of the opportunities that are put in front of you. Yes, it helps to know where you’re going, but it’s not always possible to predict exactly how you will get there or what will be waiting for you when you do.

* Partial quote from Adam Markel writing in Pivot – The Art and Science of reinventing your career and life.

Michael McMahon


Michael is a tech nomad, raised in Asia, seasoned in Australia and now based in North America. He is Inspired by outdoor adventures and meeting new people.

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