If you’ve been on social media or chatted with a girlfriend, you’ve more than likely heard about Marie Kondo. Just in case you haven’t, her book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing, has sent the world on a decluttering frenzy.
The gist of Kondo’s approach is this:
- Put your hands on everything you own, ask yourself if it sparks joy, and if it doesn’t thank it for its service and get rid of it.
- After you’re left with only your joy-giving remains, put everything back in a place where it’s easy to get and put back.
According to Kondo, after this has happened, you will never have to clean again. ( #lifegoals)
This Marie Kondo buzz got me thinking about the things that spark joy in own my life, and aside from the amazing people I have in it, I realized there was another common theme: TRAVELTravel spark joy.
While, I cannot physically put my hands on a trip, I can stroll down memory lane when I come across pictures in our home of our first trip to the beach together. I can feel joy when I open my daughter’s armoir and see Mickey Mouse ears from our first trip to Disney as a family. I smile every time I see the glass jar on our basement bar with sand from the different beaches we’ve visited. I see a life vest hanging in the garage and it immediately takes me back to the first time my little guy got up on a wakeboard. If I take the time to slow down enough, find a quiet place and close my eyes, I can almost feel the relaxation I felt when we sailed on a catamaran with our favorite friends through St. Kitts. Precious times, with precious people, creating unspeakable joy.
We’ve all read the articles about how trips to the beach change our brain, and how we should spend money on family vacations, and I believe these theories can be traced back to Kondo’s.Travel can cut down on clutter.
Let’s face it, traveling can be expensive, but it’s funny how quickly we can find money in the budget for it when we eliminate some of the “stuff” on which we spend our money. Is the daily trip to Starbucks really necessary? What about the gifts you had to buy for Christmas so the kids would, “Have enough stuff to open.” When we begin to be intentional about incorporating travel into our lives, we realize that money spent on experience is SO much more joyful than money spent on stuff. Have you ever gotten home from a vacation and thought, “Wow, that was a waste of money.” I know I have not! But the six bags of “stuff we had to have” that made its way to Goodwill this week sure left me thinking, “Man, we could’ve taken a trip or two instead of buying this stuff.” Travel gives us the opportunity to be present, and to spark joy in others.
I’ve been blessed enough to create the life I’ve always dreamed of, and get to enjoy the gift of being home with my kids. But, I also run three businesses from our home while doing so. To say that our kids get the best version of me on a daily basis would be the biggest lie of the century. There’s a house to manage, meals to cook, clothes to clean, clients to consult with, ads that have deadlines, practices to go to, etc. etc. And…while I wouldn’t trade it for the world, it’s really hard to stop working when you live at your office :)
That being said, when we travel, I find myself being more gentle with my kids. Okay with unplugging. More open to snuggling in the morning instead of rushing to get to the next thing. Ready to spend the day with no makeup and wet hair, because we’ll be in water all day anyway. Open to playing the game with them, or experiencing something neither of us has done before…and with that, I get the best gift parenting has to offer—seeing JOY in my children’s faces. Sparking joy in others with the time and places we get to experience together.
When we return from travel, I find myself refreshed, and in a better frame of mind to handle my responsibilities— which I find similar to Kondo’s teaching on thanking things for its service, moving on, then creating room for everything having to have its place. While most of us can’t (or won’t) sell all of our belongings and travel the world, we can certainly take a weekend away to somewhere fabulous, then return home, thank that trip for the joy it brought, and get back to pursing the dreams of our every day life. We all have jobs or commitments that we must attend to, but those times have a place in life…as do the spaces we need for travel and relaxation.
If you find yourself in a season of life that’s feeling less than joyful, I encourage you to allow yourself to take a break from the stress of life and travel…and afterward, I’m certain you’ll agree…Travel sparks joy.
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