Are you glorifying your travel memories?

When you look back on your travels...

What do you remember? Most likely the first thing that springs to mind are the amazing destinations you have visited, the people that you meet, the sites that you saw and the incredible jaw dropping moments you never could have imagined. You think about all the wonderful stories and the incredible moments.

Maybe after this you might laugh at some of the dramas you encountered and the challenges that you faced. You now see the good in the challenging times and laugh it off as a learning experience. Of course if you're anything like me, that's what I do. It's an incredible way to see and learn from your travels.
 

When I look back on all of my adventures.

The common thread is that I remember the good times, as I mentioned above. Most of the time, I forget the rest. The seemingly ‘bad’ and ‘challenging’ times turn into moments of ‘overcoming challenges’ and I look upon these with a positive outlook. Great, what an amazing way to live, why are you even writing about this topic you're probably wondering?

On some occasions you memories may be glorified. Making these memories seem even more amazing than they actually were, attaching the strongest and most amazing emotions to them. Because you have a stack of positive memories, that lean towards the good times, we emphasise this more our and more and our collective memories of travel will be of those good times.

The reason is this is important to recognise is that there are some instances, including Reverse Culture Shock, and Post Travel Blues, it can be unhelpful to look at our memories this way. Making us feel worse about our present situation.

What is important to recognise, is that, there have also been ‘bad’ times, sometimes extremely bad situations yet we don't connect or remember these emotions from those moments. Yes we can now see them in a positive light, which is wonderful but sometimes it's easy to see an experience as if it was all ‘unicorns and rainbows’ when in fact it actually wasn't.

Thinking of travels and any situations for that matter, can be over the top to the point we envy our past. This is detrimental to our present state if we are experiencing a difficult patch, feeling stuck or going through a transition. May people tend to do this, especially with travel. This may also happen with relationships, careers or stages of our life. We look back and want something to be a different way, because we are not enjoying our present state or present stage.

Perhaps nothing good and nothing bad?

Reality has it that, in life we experience emotions 50% what we label ‘positive’ and 50% what we label ‘negative.’ Or somewhere around that figure depending if you’re a more upbeat, positive focused person. The experience of emotions is fairly equal. Rightly so. How on earth would we be able to experience positive emotion, if we did not understand negative emotions? The more range of emotion we experience the greater chance we will have in experiencing a so called incredible event, and vise versa.

Can you see how we can create an illusion of a memory painted in an extremely positive light? When you are going through a challenging time it's important to recognise this and know that perhaps glorifying times from our past may not always serve us well. After all there was that time when you were stuck a the train station, not knowing if you could trust the taxi drivers to take you to your accomodation safely, or you had just left a friend you met and travelled with for 3 weeks and all of a sudden your on your own.

The opposite is also true.

We can also dramatise the negativity of a situation. Stating how awful and horrible it was and deep diving into these emotions. Painting this time in a far worse light than it actually was. Can you see my point?

In closing...

At the end of the day, it's up to you how you see a situation, look at what you gained from it? The challenge that you faced, the wonderful time that you had. Just don't over glorify it and make it something that it wasn't. Especially if your working through a tough stage of your life, it will only make things more challenging for you.

You can always rewrite the story and memory in your mind be it negative or positive and this can be extremely helpful in some circumstances.

On a personal note...

When I returned home from my travels and time living abroad, I was lost in the past of how amazing that experience had been. Don't get me wrong, it was incredible. However sometimes I viewed this part of my life as if it was completely amazing where there was never any concern of negative events happening.

Id also just returned home and felt like I couldn't get things together in my life. This didn't help my situation. When I was able to ‘reframe’ my memories and experience, I realised that there were good and bad times. There were times when I longed to be home around the comforts and similarities.

There is a reason we experience a wide range of emotions. Try not to label them as ‘good’ or bad.’ If they do feel unpleasant, feel that feeling, process it and know it won't last forever. Enjoy the ride.
 

 
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