This is my first day back to work in a month. A whole glorious 31 days free of cellphones, emails, and to do lists.

It seemed appropriate that the first blog I write upon my return should be an attempt to persuade people to do the same thing. So prepare for some serious persuasion as I attempt to convince you to take some vacation time, pack your bags, and hit the road.

Traveling is this magical experience full of oxymorons. You are forced out of your comfort zone, while simultaneously learning to be more comfortable with yourself. You plan, and plan, only to throw all your plans away at the last minute in the name of spontaneity. You disconnect from technology, in order to connect to the world.

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Perhaps my favorite thing about travel is the morphology trips undergo. When I was first concocting my plans to take time off I was going to solo hike the PCT. I was determined to have a modern day soul quest. When my start date was a mere two weeks away, I found out I had a partially torn Achilles. That doctor visit could have ruined my trip, instead it just changed it.

I decided to instead return to my home National Park, Yosemite. I’d do an easy backpacking trip and just chill by a high altitude lake. My trip again morphed when family and friends discovered I was Cali bound. Visits were demanded.

At first I was reluctant. This trip was supposed to be about me. I wanted the “Cheryl Strayed experience” where I came out the other side a better version of me. How was I supposed to accomplish that surrounded by people?

Well, this is where my love for travel stems from. Turns out, my trip was perfect. It morphed into exactly what I didn’t know I needed it to be.

Ten days in Yosemite followed by time spent with family and friends was exactly what I needed. I learned what I’d hoped to learn about myself by fostering relationships with the meaningful people in my life. This kind of bonding is facilitated within the construct of travel, the way you learn a language much faster when submersed in that country.

That’s what traveling does.

I asked around the Shop to find out why my coworkers enjoy traveling, and perhaps my favorite answer came from Dana. He said traveling is like a “mental margarita.” For him taking the time to go out and explore the world in which we live is rejuvenating and invigorating. It also serves as a powerful reminder of how little we actually need to be happy. A small suitcase can take you on a big adventure.

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Traveling allows you the time and space to explore all the little nuances of life that we might otherwise pass by. Get lost in the little things, like the beautiful green beetle I found crawling on my pack.

Shop folk also brought up the fact that they like to escape. Lately the increase in technology has allowed our world to grow. We can now communicate instantly with someone on the other side of the world. We carry mini computers in our pockets! Ironically, it is this same growth that has simultaneously caused our world to shrink. The speed of communication mandates we be reachable 24-7. We are so tied to technology and the instantaneous culture it facilitates, that we can’t take the time to breathe.

Go on an adventure. Turn off your phone. Reap the rewards.

The benefits don’t stop there. Studies have shown that one week of camping without electronics, resets our biological clocks. This synchronizes our melatonin hormones with the cycles of the sun, improving quality of sleep.

Traveling, especially outdoors, rejuvenates your body and soul!

Thousands of tired, nerve shaken, over-civilized people are beginning to find out going to the mountains is going home; that wilderness is a necessity.”

- John Muir

Sometimes the task of preparing for a trip can seem so daunting that it never even gets started. Your to do list never seems to get short enough to add on the fun stuff, like researching your trip. I get that, I really do. But this never ending to do list is exactly why it is so important to take time off. To help you through that process here are some tips and tricks from Portland Rock Gym’s Miles Quillen.

Think you don’t have time to go hit the road? Think again! Our general manager, and possibly the busiest human being I know, Guy, just left for Nepal…for a WHOLE MONTH. If Guy can make the time, then so can you!

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