Motivation is a powerful force that helps us stay on track and overcome challenges. It might take the form of a reassuring message, an inspirational phrase or a reminder of what really matters. For travel blogger and photographer Gary Arndt, motivation is about pushing yourself to seek out new experiences, and remembering to appreciate what life has to offer. He recently took his longest break from travelling in almost nine years, so we worked with him to find out what role motivation plays in living on the road.
In 2007, Gary sold his house and set out to see the world, and didn’t stop until this past winter when he got a permanent address in Minneapolis. Despite his taste for life abroad, he enjoyed getting reacquainted with the distinct pleasures of being a local. “In October, I did a circumnavigation of the globe, in February I traveled to India, and in between I rested and got accustomed to being in one spot for a while.”
Gary was reminded how hard it can be—in the midst of new experiences—to fully appreciate them. He explained that “when you are in the middle of traveling, you often are so engrossed in what you are doing you don't have time to reflect on all the things you've seen.” Whether you’re trotting the globe or tackling your to-do list, staying mindful of the moment is essential to keep moving forward. Gary noticed that this idea resonated strongly with his followers as well. “The response was surprisingly positive; I don't think I've ever had that many comments on an Instagram photo before,” he said of the above image, “marking all the places I’ve been with Post-it® Flags on a map really brought my travels to life.”
Since being on the move is Gary’s normal, he enjoyed having time during his hiatus to reflect on all that he’s accomplished, and think about what compels him to keep travelling. “I've been so focused on the 'what' for the last 9 years, I haven't spent much time thinking about the 'why,’” he said. Staying engaged, even through a break, allowed Gary to reaffirm his adventurous lifestyle. “It helped me realize why I do what I do,” he said.
After spending the winter at home exploring what motivates him, Gary has gathered some important new insights, but he’s ready to set sail again. “I think it would be fun to do a similar project while I'm on the road,” he said. “There are so many things you experience while travelling that you often don’t even notice at the time, it would be a very different experience and it would provide a very different set of images for everyone to enjoy.”
Whether you’re living in the thick of it, or just kicking back, we all need to stay motivated to keep learning about ourselves and the world around us. Post-it® Notes make it easy to keep those encouraging words front and center.
Gary Arndt is a full time traveler, blogger, and photographer. Since 2007 he has gone dog sledding in the Canadian Yukon, been kicked out of the nation of Kiribati and visited an active war zone in Cambodia. You can read all about his adventures on his Blog or follow his award winning Instagram.