As the summer months unfold and travel ramps up, sometimes the most relaxing season can become the most hectic. But when nature’s abundance is at its peak, there’s no better time to take pause and appreciate the luxury of disconnecting from daily life and reconnecting with the great outdoors. In the spirit of embracing reflection and rejuvenation, we asked Michelle Li to share her thoughts on summer travel and the self she brings along on her adventures.
How does your perspective and personality change when you’re out of your regular routine and on the road?
I become a more present and confident person when I travel. I am more daring and less afraid to put myself out there. But when I travel it’s very important for me to bring parts of my at-home routine with me, like running and having a book that I’m working through or a knitting project.
What do you get out of a big adventure? Is it restorative, inspiring, grounding?
It’s inspiring and reminds me of who I am again. I think working and living in New York City, it’s really easy to get stuck in one singular mindset and a bubble so for me, I like to be able to take a step back and remind myself that I am so much more than just who I am in New York City. We’re all multi-faceted individuals with a variety of interests that extend beyond just city life.
What’s your travel style?
I like to have a general framework of what I’m going to do and an idea of the big moments and activities that I definitely would like to accomplish on the trip. But I do like to have a flexible travel style and be able to change plans on the fly.
I love to write myself a postcard–so a few weeks later when I’m back home I’ll get mail from my past self and get to relive that travel memory.
What do you absolutely need to bring along on a trip?
I always bring my running shoes, really comfortable socks, coconut oil, and a light waterproof jacket.
How do you step back and appreciate the big moments or big memories on a trip?
I love buying a paper map when I first arrive somewhere and as I go along on the trip, I mark the places and memories and thoughts I had at the places on the map. And then when I’m boarding my flight back to return I love to just review it and process all the things that happened. For really big memories, I love to write myself a postcard so that a few weeks later when I’m at home I’ll get mail from my past self and get to relive that travel memory.
How do you carve out moments in nature wherever you go?
Running has been a really great way to inspire me to get in nature when I’m travelling. I also always try to find local hikes, new walking paths, and if I’m going somewhere tropical, somewhere to scuba dive.
How do you Live in the Open?
I live in the open by being okay with being vulnerable and making mistakes while travelling. That’s a big part of travelling and so just accepting that and letting yourself lose some control is always good.
What’s on your summer bucket list?
- Visiting my parents and going camping in the Sierra Nevada Mtns.
- Trying to surf a few more times
- An upstate trip with friends
- A big multi-day hike in Colorado
Do you prefer:
Daytime flight or red eye? Red Eye
Noise cancelling headphones or blackout eye mask? Noise cancelling headphones
Driving yourself or taking the train? Driving yourself
Travelling alone or with a group? Travelling alone
GPS or seeing where the road takes you? GPS
Exploring your own region or heading to a new continent? Heading to a new continent
Carry-on only or checking a bag? Carry-on only