good life with emily yee
Part of cultivating a good life is recognizing and finding adventures in your own backyard.
Whenever I share with people that my husband’s job has us moving to different countries every few years and that I currently live in Asuncion, Paraguay, the response is usually along the lines of “What an adventure for you and your family!” The reality is that my everyday life is full of the mundane, like laundry that needs to be folded, toys that need to get put away, and grocery lists that need to be checked off. Things that could be seen as adventurous become such a normal part of daily life that they fade into the background unless I intentionally take notice.
Years ago, I had the realization that life can be an adventure wherever you live, but it takes effort to recognize what’s in front of you. I was in Ecuador at the time, walking to the office where I volunteered. I was thinking about how I had run out of interesting things to share with friends and family. As I was walking, I passed the llamas that lived at a local park, women selling guava flavored espumillas from carts, and plazas busy with people talking in the shade. The scenes that played out before me would have been part of the adventure for the backpacker passing through South America, but they had become unnoticeable. That day, I realized that I wasn’t paying attention to my surroundings and recognizing how truly interesting it all was.
Since then, I have tried to view my experiences through the lens of a “tourist” and incorporate activities into my week that would be considered adventuresome. I think about what I would do around town with a first-time visitor, I create lists of day trips and excursions I could take on a whim, and I try to reframe my normal tasks as something exciting or novel.
You might think it is easier for me to do since I’m living outside of my home country, but it’s good to remember that what is normal, everyday life for one person is something new and exciting for someone else. I’ve had friends from around the world share that even things as simple as a trip to Costco, eating at a fast food restaurant, and driving on a freeway were part of their unforgettable American adventures.
Adventure seeking in your everyday life is changing your perspective about what’s around you, finding the excitement in your routine, and integrating activities that will mix things up for you. Enjoy breakfast outside, catch the sunrise or sunset, take a day trip to a new place, be a tourist for a day, or simply take notice of the unique things that make up your life!
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