DC Photo Diary + Deep Thoughts
For those of you who know me well, you know that I live for planning adventures. I’ve been told countless times that I should have been a travel agent. I create maps and spreadsheets, I go down rabbit holes researching the cities I’m traveling to, and I always put together a very loose (but calculated) itinerary.
I’ve learned that while planning adventures can fill me up in many ways, it’s also a tool that I use to avoid “negative” feelings.
I only realized this about myself since learning about The Enneagram a few years ago. (If you don’t know what I’m talking about, read this post next.) I’m an Enneagram 7, which means my key motivation is to maintain my freedom and happiness, to avoid missing out on worthwhile experiences, to keep myself excited and occupied, and to avoid and discharge pain.
This shows up pretty consistently in my adventure planning, and the truth is, I’ve done this my whole life without ever really noticing it. Only since learning about The Enneagram has the truth come to light. And the thing about shining a light on something is, once you see it, it’s hard to unsee it. Even in the darkness you know it’s there.
Now, whenever I catch myself on Air BnB or Google Flights looking for the next place to escape to, I find that I’m unintentionally trying to avoid some sort of uncomfortable feeling. I now have to ask myself, “What am I running from right now?” in order to bring myself back to the present moment.
I share all of this because Shay and I spent some time in Washington, DC last month, and for the first time ever, I didn’t plan anything. Sure, we booked flights and a hotel, but that was truly it.
Suddenly, scrolling through DC Instagram accounts or browsing travel blogs for unique things to do and fabulous places to eat didn’t seem appealing. The few times I found myself doing these things I realized I was numbing something.
I know there is a healthy way for me to plan adventures, but for now I’m not sure what that looks like. All I can tell you right now is that DC was fantastic. We didn’t have an itinerary, which forced me to be present and not think about what was coming next. We actually had a chance to relax and sleep in every day. We did a lot of wandering around, many times by way of Bird scooters. Our favorite food & drink spots came from friend and family recommendations, or from taking a chance on a place we just happened to walk by.
There were several restaurants we walked into that we seemingly “needed” a reservation for. In perfect timing, after the hostess would tell us the wait for a table (which was always outrageously long), two first come, first served seats would open up at the bar for us. This might sound ridiculous, but each time this happened, it honestly felt like a little wink from God. Like he was watching me enjoy this totally unplanned trip and saying, “You don’t need to constantly be making life plans, and living in the future. You don’t need to use adventure planning as an escape. You can lean into me. I’ve got you.”