I live in Los Angeles, the epitome of a bustling, fast-paced, on-the-go lifestyle. LA definitely has its pros and cons and while I can’t say I completely dislike living here due to the opportunities I’ve been fortunate enough to have, getting away every now and then helps to slow things down. It’s easy to get caught up in the day to day, especially when there are a million things you’re trying to accomplish.
I work full time at a rapidly growing hospitality company, am currently finishing up a Masters degree in Clinical Psychology (attending classes in the evenings after work), and trying my best to get this blog up off the ground. Somewhere in between, I travel every chance I get and find time to write. It’s not easy. Sometimes I think I’m crazy for putting so much on my plate.
Nevertheless, this is the life I love. When you find what truly drives you, what fulfills you, what you can do to truly make a difference in this world… you can’t afford to lose it. Stress does interesting things to people and it can make us forget why we’ve decided to pursue the paths we’ve chosen for ourselves.
When your daily reality gets overwhelming and you find yourself doubting the choices you’ve made, take a step back. Take a few days to get away – someplace quiet, peaceful, and relaxing to help you gather your thoughts. These few days of introspection and reevaluation will undoubtedly provide you with a new perspective, and hopefully reignite that passion you had for the life you envisioned for yourself.
Olympic National Park was my escape.
Olympic National Park is about 2 hours west of Seattle, Washington and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The park boasts beautiful alpine meadows, prehistoric forests, glaciated mountains, diverse ecosystems, and is home to one of only four temperate rainforests in the world.
We found a cottage to rent through AirBnB. It was actually our first time using AirBnB and it turned out being a great experience. The owners of the cottage were amazing and were extremely helpful since we didn’t know too much about the local area. They left us guidebooks, maps, and information about local restaurants. The cottage was super secluded, located in the heart of the forest directly outside one of the entrances to the national park.
An important thing to consider about Olympic National Park – it’s huge. It would probably take you 8 hours (or more) just to drive around it, let alone drive into it to get to the lakes, hikes, forests, or waterfall trails you’re looking for. We wanted to check out Hoh Rainforest, which was a 4-hour drive from our cottage. I will tell you that it definitely doesn’t seem like a long drive, given how beautiful it is. You won’t be bored, trust me.
We only had two days to spend, so we took advantage of the great hiking the park has to offer. If you have more time, there are several awesome camping sites and backpacking treks. We spent two full days exploring a couple of the forest hiking trails to check out some waterfalls, but weren’t able to visit the mountains or coast. The area we covered was only a tiny fraction of the park itself, just to give you an idea of how vast it is and much there actually is to see here.
The forest is teeming with wildlife, yet it is surprisingly quiet. You could sit down, close your eyes, and not hear a thing. When you look up, the scenery is mesmerizing. Everything is still. Your mind wanders and you begin to think about things you haven’t had the chance to think about back in your busy life at home.
For me, it wasn’t so much that I needed to get away because I was overwhelmed or losing sight of my end game. I just found that time moves too quickly when you’re busy and sometimes daily distractions pull you in different directions, slightly driving you off course. I have a clearer idea of where I’m going and what I want to accomplish, and having a calm moment to remember why I’m doing these things helped me appreciate the craziness of the life I’ve chosen.
As cliché as it sounds, we really do only have this one chance at life and we can’t afford not to make the most of it. Don’t waste your time doing something because you thought it’s what others wanted of you, because you happened to fall into it, or because you thought it was the “safe” choice. What, deep in your heart, is something you’ve always dreamed about doing but were afraid to take the risk? How are you, as an individual, going to do something that will leave a lasting impression?
The world is so much larger than the daily problems we can preoccupy ourselves with. At the end of the day, you realize that most of them don’t even matter or aren’t as important as they may seem. The only thing you can do is pursue the life that makes you feel human, whole, and happy. There is more to it than the daily grind – you just need to work through it so you can actively make your experience on this earth worthwhile. Life isn’t about wasting time.
As stressful as my life can be, I wouldn’t have it any other way.
These are just a few revelations that resulted from giving time to my personal thoughts. I realize a lot of this may seem idealistic, but what’s wrong with making reality the ideal?