As I scroll through Instagram everyday, I’m bombarded with photos of places I’ve been lucky enough to travel to already–London, NYC, Australia, Nicaragua to name a few. I find myself saying: “London is everything”… then I scroll to a picture of New York: “NYC is the best city ever”… I see a photo of Australia: “nowhere is better than Australia”… a picture of Nicaragua comes next: “Nica has my whole heart.” I feel so strongly about all the places I’ve been able to travel to. These locations will be special to me forever.
After realizing I’m head over heels in love with basically everywhere I’ve traveled to, I started to wonder if I’ve been somewhere I didn’t like. I racked my brain for a couple minutes–I was drawing blanks and even had to ask my husband if he could think of anywhere. I finally remembered that I’ve never been particularly fond of LA. It feels a bit fake to me and it’s smoggy and its trash seems to be everywhere. For whatever reason I don’t mind the trash in NYC, but I can’t stand seeing it in LA. I think overall LA is such a scene that I just don’t vibe with. I did, however, really like Griffith Park, and I’m hoping to go back a couple more times to give other areas a shot for redemption. But it got me thinking about what we learn when we travel somewhere that we don’t connect with. Is it pointless to return? Is precious time being wasted while there? What gems of wisdom can we learn from traveling somewhere we don’t like?
Be open minded even when you feel like you can’t.
I had been to LA multiple times before this past visit and was disappointed each time. If there’s a place you don’t particularly like, it could be because it’s sooo different from what you’re used to. Living outside your comfort zone is definitely not a bad thing. Keeping an open mind and trying to find out for yourself why others find a place beautiful will almost always end on a positive note.
Enjoy the little things.
Whenever I go to LA, even if I’m not completely feeling it, I still try to be present in the moment. Simply recognizing that I’m free from responsibilities and have time to explore is enough to make me happy. It’s something that shouldn’t be taken for granted no matter where you are- your favorite place in the world or somewhere that’s just alright in your mind.
Take time grappling with what you don’t like to further understand what you do value.
I really had to take the time to think through what I didn’t like about LA. It doesn’t make you mature or gracious to dismiss a place without articulation. Being able to work through why I wasn’t feeling LA actually allowed me to accept it for what it is and enjoy my time there anyways.
Embracing what a place is known for can be fun regardless.
For example, twirling around like a wannabe model in front of a pink wall surrounded by groups of other people vainly doing the same thing was actually fun. All I had to do was let down my guard down and stop judging and just get into it.
Giving somewhere more than one chance is a good thing.
I don’t want to be the type of person who writes a place off because life is much more complicated than that, and there are always more layers to uncover. Getting time to better discover a place and more of ourselves is the greatest gift.
Have you ever been somewhere you didn’t like? What did you take away from that? And would you return?