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  • Writer's pictureAnne McCormick

How to Take Back the Controls When You're in Autopilot

And if travel is like love, it is, in the end, mostly because it's a heightened state of awareness, in which we are mindful, receptive, undimmed by familiarity and ready to be transformed. That is why the best trips, like the best love affairs, never really end.

- Pico Iyer

Do you sometimes feel like you’re living life on repeat, like Groundhog Day? This is how I felt before I was snapped out of my routine when I went to Bali for the first time in 2006.

“Autopilot” is short for automatic pilot, and refers to technology that allows planes to fly themselves for the most part. In our personal lives, it kind of means the same thing. You are the pilot of your plane called “life”, but you can easily end up relying on well-worn habits and routines that let you check out.

We wake up, eat, do jobs we could do in our sleep, rinse and repeat. It’s almost as if we’re wearing deep tracks into a dirt road and can’t get out of them.

When you’re in a state of autopilot, your focus isn’t on self-care, discovery, and positive change… instead, you end up spending a lot of time on tasks and people who aren’t getting you closer to where you really want to be. Maybe you find it difficult even to define what you would do differently, given the chance... and you're not alone! It’s harder to be present and clear on your path forward when you're on autopilot.

It takes courage and some OOMPH, but you can get out of autopilot if you want to! Sometimes a good start is a shake-up, a departure from the usual humdrum into a new place where people live very differently– into a discovery mindset where your routines and habits get interrupted. This is one of the reasons why I love helping people travel, and why I think travel is so important… it can boost you back into a state of clarity, where you remember what is most important to you.

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