Resisting Rückkehrunruhe – Living the Lessons of Travel

Mark Twain once wrote, “Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry and narrow-mindedness and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one’s lifetime.”

Twain speaks of the perspective gained from travel. The mind opening clarity with which one perceives life when experienced through the eyes of a distant culture. Experiencing the traditions and customs of another part of the world opens the heart to the beauty and diversity of this planet. This radiant, open feeling is sure to burst through your pores throughout your trip, but what about after? Not everyone can spend their lives in wanderlust, trekking the globe constantly opening their hearts and minds to new cultures. So how can we perpetuate these sorely needed broad, wholesome, charitable views that travel fosters once we return home?

Rückkehrunruhe is a term describing the feeling of an immersive trip slipping from your awareness upon return. It sums up the teetering feelings of part of you wanting to smoothly transition back into your daily routine while the other part wants to cherish every memory of the journey and let the lessons of travel live on into everyday life.

With the right mindset we can resist rückkehrunruhe and these lessons can follow us home. There are a few things you can try to keep the spark of travel alive once the backpacks are put away and the airline miles are depleted. Be spontaneous!

  • Take weekend road trips or other forms of mini travel.
  • Switch up your daily routine, take a different way to work or eat somewhere new for lunch.
  • Be a tourist in your own town. Visit monuments, museums and landmarks
  • Eat at different restaurants and go to new bars.

One of the best things you can do to fuel the openness travel fosters is talk to new people and make new friends, especially with people of different culture or origin. Through travel we experience what it’s like to be the outsider, the “tourist” peering through the window into a different culture. We long for someone on the inside to extend a hand and make us feel a part of their world. When at home you may have the opportunity to extend that hand to someone experiencing your culture for the first time, take it! Maintaining an open mind and a sense of newness and ambiguity in your everyday life can restore the heightened spirit of travel and help you accept instead of resist your daily routine, benefitting your attitude and in turn positively affecting those around you.

Travel is one of life’s greatest teachers. By venturing out of our little corner and into the world we gain perspective and clarity. We learn the valuable lesson that life is lived in many ways, shapes and forms, none deserving of prejudice or discrimination. With the right attitude and an open heart we can carry these lessons with us every step of every day.

How do you keep the open spirit of travel alive at home? Let us know in the comments below!

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One thought on “Resisting Rückkehrunruhe – Living the Lessons of Travel

  1. Jeremy Larsen

    I love this post; it’s about a truism of travel and it’s well-described here.

    To keep the spirit of travel alive even when not traveling is, I think, important. I like to do “mini-travel” when I can, like this trip to the mountains near my place I’d never visited:

    Something else that helps me: having maps on the wall, or my computer desktop. Maps of ANYwhere; just the concept of maps stirs all the right feelings in me. Has never failed me!