“You can’t run away from your problems.”
You've heard that one before. Maybe from your parents when you were ten years old and tried to run away in the literal sense when they wouldn't let you eat candy every day. Or from a good friend, trying to talk some sense into you when you needed it.
They were not wrong, of course. Being on the run is tiring and no matter how fast you are, you’ll never be able to shake them off. Your problems are persistent chasers. Trust me, I’ve tried.
But, I’d still argue that physically running away can be a great strategic move.
You can run from your problems without actually moving. Distractions are a form of running. Occupying yourself with work, gym, social activities, alcohol, without space to reflect on your priorities, to name a few. From the outside, it might look like you’re living the life you intend to, but only you know the real story. If you’re being honest with yourself, that is.
When I started traveling, part of it was definitely running away. I was desperate for a change. When I asked my manager to work remotely for a period of time, that was part of how I explained my reasons. “I need to not be here, in Stockholm, at the office. I need perspective.”
Since making that decision a lot has changed. Not because I managed to shake off my commitment issues in a narrow alley in Bali or drown my anxiety among the jellyfishes in Koh Tao. But changing my environment did change my perspective. It draws the attention to those darker corners I wasn’t able to see when I was preoccupied with my daily routine of commute, work, gym, socializing and everything I did to keep myself busy.
I don't think everyone should be as dramatic as I was. But a little bit of running away, by yourself, would do most of us some good.