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Do This When You Visit a New Place

Image: Ender

Pandemic life has taught many of us to appreciate moments in life that might otherwise pass us by.

Here’s a tip inspired by The Art of Stopping Time, a book by Pedram Shojai: whenever you visit a place that’s new to you, consider the sense that you might never be there again.

Just imagine: this might be it! Your only opportunity in one lifetime to visit this particular place. How might this make you feel?

What, you say you aren’t traveling much now? That’s okay.

This “new place” could be anywhere: a part of the woods you’ve never seen on your next nature hike, for example, or even a street in your neighborhood you’ve never driven before. The point is to create awareness and appreciation.

I wish I’d had this concept in mind many years ago when I was traveling to several new countries every month. Looking back now, I can remember dozens of highlights that might fit the category of “never returning.”

In Somaliland, I rode several hours in a crowded minibus, listening to people chatter away. We stopped for food (goat stew! I’m a vegetarian, but it was interesting to observe).

In Bosnia, a totally different part of the world, I traveled overland (this time on a full-sized bus) from Sarajevo to Herzeg-Novi. The city itself was magical. It felt like one of those “Land Before Time” moments.

As interesting as those experiences were, I don’t know if I’ll ever repeat them. In fact, almost certainly I won’t.

Not only that, even though I can remember dozens of highlights, I’m sure there are hundreds—thousands even—that I’ve forgotten or simply don’t come to mind when I think about that question.

That’s why it’s good to consider the concept when you’re in a new place. It might help you remember it later, but even if not, you’ll have the moment of appreciation while you’re there.

I like thinking about this concept for travel, but technically I suppose you could apply it to anything, even not something related to being in a particular place.

Whatever you’re doing or experiencing today, you might never do or experience it again. Let it sink in and consider how it feels.