Be the Excitement

by Keith Savage · 20 comments

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“Be the excitement” is a little mantra I dredge up whenever I’m on my own. I consider it the active, positive way of approaching the old saying “if you’re bored, you’re boring.” I also consider this mantra to be the most important thing in my “pack” when I travel. The best part? It doesn’t weigh a thing. In fact, there’s a noticeable lightness of mental being when I accept responsibility for creating this atmosphere. There’s comfort in a little control.

This mantra is essentially a mindset of positivity and action. I can’t guarantee any given night will be a lasting memory for all time, but I can make sure that I’m contributing to the atmosphere that makes these memories more likely.

I’ve been writing about mindsets quite a bit lately, and I’m chalking it up to a pre-trip exercise routine for my brain. So much of life is perception defined by state of mind, and any issues are magnified during travels when failsafe routines and environments aren’t there to fall back on. For social butterflies this topic may seem so obvious as to be unworthy of digital ink. For others, people like me perhaps, it’s a critical reminder. When not naturally inclined to “be the excitement,” it takes concerted effort to resist a natural state of passivity.

And we all know people trapped in that state.

Think about your circle of friends. When you get together, who brings the excitement? Who takes it? For the sake of illustration, assign those who bring the excitement a one (1) and those who take the excitement a negative one (-1). Add up the numbers. What you’re looking for here is a positive number: it means more people are contributing to the atmosphere than taking from it. Which one are you? Anything strike you?

The point of that exercise is not to objectify your friends, but to show briefly the quantifiable impact of energy. Generally people enjoy being with ones (1) more than negative ones (-1). If you’re in the negative end, fear not. “Being the excitement” is totally within your control, and here are a few tips to help get your energy right.

  • Reach out. Call. Use your voice. Drop by someone’s place if you can. Texts and e-mail require so little effort that when you actually receive a call or visit, there’s a lot of power in it. People notice this effort. If you refuse to call then write a nice e-mail. Simple communications are the infrastructure of friendships.
  • Suggest. In other words, use your brain. When you’re with friends, have ideas or suggest activities. Ultimately this shows that you’re engaged in what’s going on, that you care. Nobody likes dragging around people who don’t care. If that’s you, why are you there? Don’t be an energy vampire.
  • Organize. The next level up is organizing outings or activities. This gives those in your social circle the enjoyment and excitement of getting together without having to do much of the legwork. Always appreciated.
  • Be spontaneous. Allow yourself to experience something unplanned. Rarely will you regret it.

“Being the excitement” is actually easier to achieve when traveling solo because, well, you’re alone. If you don’t do it, who will? Sobbing in the corner of your hostel room is not acceptable. Have you wondered why so many people believe that if you can travel with your significant other things will work out in the long term? Traveling isolates couples from the outside world (ironically) and highlights inequities in being engaged and bringing the excitement. It’s also generally not appreciated by the person doing the heavy lifting.

It’s true that being in a foreign land is likely to be fun and exciting, but it’s not automatic. At home or away on your travels, if you can remember to “be the excitement” your experiences and memories will be the richer for it. Excitement is man made. But man, you gotta remember to make it.

Original photo by Stewart via Flickr under Creative Commons

floretaNo Gravatar April 29, 2010 at 9:02 AM

this reminds me of a quote..
“you are the best party you’ve ever been to”. It’s a great attitude for life!
.-= floreta´s last blog ..Return to Innocence =-.

KeithNo Gravatar April 29, 2010 at 9:02 AM

I like it, right in line with this post too.

The DameNo Gravatar April 27, 2010 at 11:14 AM

This is such a fantastic post. I spent a year traveling alone in Australia and I hated it because I tend to keep to myself. This is a great reminder to get out of your box and connect 🙂

KeithNo Gravatar April 28, 2010 at 8:51 AM

Ooh, sorry to hear about that year in Australia. That’s the kind of experience I fear. Were you there for work or pleasure?

AshleyNo Gravatar April 27, 2010 at 10:52 AM

Great Article! I have a similar thought process, but mine is always try to say YES. People are more likely to invite you to things and want to hang out with you when you positively respond to their invitations. Of course, you can’t do everything, but people are more willing to accept that when they have more positive responses from you than negative. Thanks!
.-= Ashley´s last blog ..The Art of Picnicking =-.

KeithNo Gravatar April 28, 2010 at 8:51 AM

Ashley – I really like your mantra. It’s the perfect sibling of “be the excitement” and I agree that it will open doors for you. Thanks!

PortseaNo Gravatar April 27, 2010 at 8:36 AM

If you travel alone you get bored. “Being the excitement” what a great advice!

KeithNo Gravatar April 28, 2010 at 8:50 AM

Thanks, appreciate the comment.

AdamNo Gravatar April 26, 2010 at 9:17 PM

I love your way with words! ‘Be the excitement’ is an excellent mantra.
.-= Adam´s last blog ..Ways my life has changed in the past 12 months =-.

KeithNo Gravatar April 28, 2010 at 8:44 AM

Hey Adam, I think you’ve got that mantra down pat already 😉

Nancie (Ladyexpat)No Gravatar April 26, 2010 at 5:17 PM

Good post Keith. I find it easy to have a bit of split personality. Excited when I’m traveling and more interactive. I slow down when I’m at home and become a bit of a hermit. I actually like my hermit state at home. Although, the cat probably thinks I should get out more! 🙂
.-= Nancie (Ladyexpat)´s last blog .. =-.

KeithNo Gravatar April 28, 2010 at 8:50 AM

Hi Nancie, I’m similar to you in that regard. Something about traveling brings out a different side in me. Maybe it’s that I know I need to be more forthcoming to get the most out of my trip, whereas at home I’m content in my current state of being. Hmm, I’ll need to think about this.

AndrewNo Gravatar April 26, 2010 at 12:55 PM

I really like your posts on the mind and mindsets, especially related to travel. The link between the subject is near to my heart and interest.
Travel is stressful, but often good stress. This makes it sometimes hard to “be the excitement.” usually after XX hours on a train. There are times when I have to force myself to go down and order a beer and just have small talk with the bartender, and there are times when I have to learn to just sleep. Its the practice to know the difference. So my point is that sure “be the excitement,” but also know your own energy limits.

KeithNo Gravatar April 28, 2010 at 8:56 AM

Andrew, I completely relate with your description of travel here. You’re right that (most) people can’t always be “on.” When it matters, though, that’s when it’s time to “be the excitement.”

Thanks for reading!

GrayNo Gravatar April 26, 2010 at 8:44 AM

Great advice, Keith! I’ve definitely heard the expression “If you’re bored, you’re boring” before, but never thought about it in terms of people who bring excitement vs those who take it. Of course, now I’m going to start analyzing all my friendships. Thanks a lot. 🙂
.-= Gray´s last blog ..How I Became a Solo Traveler =-.

KeithNo Gravatar April 28, 2010 at 8:44 AM

That exercise is a little insidious – don’t take it too seriously. Last thing you want is an internal monologue trying to determine which of your friends are -1s.

Brooke vs. the WorldNo Gravatar April 26, 2010 at 3:14 AM

Keith, Great article. And to some – like me – super helpful to have the reiteration in words. I generally do a lot better while traveling to “be the excitement”, but in a home situation, I get quite content to just being with my boyfriend. So, what am I about to do next?… make some fun plans for next weekend!
.-= Brooke vs. the World´s last blog ..Learning Like a Child: Host Family Flashback Part 2 =-.

KeithNo Gravatar April 28, 2010 at 8:42 AM

Thanks Brooke, glad I could add a little inspiration. It’s the worst at home! Our routines are so ingrained that we don’t realize we’re just waiting around until the next big, non-routine thing to do (like travel).

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