I retired in December, 2021, and a few days ago I had the honor of being asked to present a lecture on what I learned from my career. In that lecture, I discussed five "lessons" I have learned that made my career more productive and more enjoyable. You can see that 30-minute lecture by clicking below:
I realized afterwards that those same lessons apply equally to slow travel.
Lesson #1 Don't be afraid to have original ideas In work, we frequently adapt the work of others to our needs. We use template and reference models created by colleagues. There's nothing wrong with that. Nobody needs to reinvent the wheel. But sometimes when you can't find the answer you're looking for, you need to develop a solution yourself. Paul and I are already relying on the insights of other travelers to create our new lifestyle. But I am reminded that we may be called upon to craft our own, original, solutions. When we do, we will share our insights with this growing community of nomads on our blog.
Lesson #2 Focus on one thing at a time. I was advised during my career to focus on one project/idea at a time. My interests are broad, and I was told, it was fine to pursue multiple ideas and projects. But, focus on one at a time. This allows one to build expertise and deeper knowledge in an area before moving onto the next. Slow travel is really about this very concept - focus on one place at a time. Hopefully, we will visit and learn about many places. But by focusing on one at a time, we can increase our understanding of the culture and our appreciation of the experiences.
Lesson #3 Never stop learning. In work, I told people when it started to feel like I was "phoning it in," I knew it was time to start learning new things. By traveling from one place to the next, we learn all the time. Sometimes we will slow down and learn the language, other times, learn how people do things a little differently from us, or what they really mean when they say words that translate literally one way but mean something else. Learning takes work - a way to keep your brain sharp and your life interesting.
Lesson #4 Find the joy in what you are doing. At work, I sought out projects that gave me joy. I found ways to work with people who made me smile and laugh, and were not afraid to challenge me in an honest, supportive way. I find that joy surrounds me in this new life of travel. Travel itself is joyful - most of the time. Just like at work, there are aspects I don't like - spending a long day traversing airports is an example. But overall it is so easy to look for the joy. The beautiful view, the great food, the walk in the sunshine, and a conversation with my spouse. We also have our own personal projects we bring with us - for me, it's a ukelele and work on Mulicultural Lawyering. For my husband, it's other things. Life is too short not to feel joyful at least some time every day.
Lesson #5 Connect where you are. In my work, I had the good fortune to meet many interesting people: students, colleagues, clients, partners in other cities and overseas. I was lucky to be part of a culture (clinical law teaching) where it was the norm to really connect with people - personally and professionally. Every person I met enriched my life and my understanding of how the world works. The key is to listen. That is harder to do than it sounds - especially for those of us trained to talk. In travel, we are meeting new people everyday. I try to slow down and listen to them. Knowing and honoring my own culture allows me to learn about and honor the cultures of the people I am meeting on this journey. And we will stay connected to some of them, which will create a network to support us when we pass this way again - or they visit a different place we are visiting.