Although I write about my personal travel experiences every day on this site, I very rarely go into too much detail about my personal life. There are many reasons for that, most of which revolve around my own privacy, but sometimes I do choose to share details about my life here and the response from you all has always been kind and heartwarming. I want to do that again today as I chat about my recent obsession with Disney, which isn’t an isolated experience, why it’s happened and what I think it means. You can say that this is too much detail and that no one really cares, which is fine and could be true. But, it’s my site and the content here is just as much for me as it is the rest of the world, so bear with me.
A few weeks ago I had the opportunity to visit Disneyland for the first time. The experience was so much more impactful than I could have imagined, and I find myself longing to return and to try to recreate some of the magic I discovered. I’ve become obsessed with it actually, which isn’t a new sensation for me. I tend to do that and always have. For me, there’s no grey in my life, just black and white. Something is either the best thing in the world or the very worst, there’s just no in between. Over the past four decades of life I’ve learned how to mostly deal with it and keep it in check, but it does rear up once in a while and lately it’s become a more common experience. Route 66 is another great example of those obsessive qualities. I became completely and totally obsessed with the drive, planning out every imaginable detail and now, even though it’s been over for a couple of months, I’m longing to go back and do it all over again. My brief Disney experience has had the same result, which has made me sit back and ask the question, why? I don’t like all of the answers I’ve arrived at, but I thought I’d share a few reasons why you’ve suddenly noticed a dramatic increase in Disney content and what it means for me on a very personal level.
Life for me has been hard over the last couple of years, with 2018 being a particularly bad year. I won’t go into all of the reasons, but the effects have been profound and have me questioning nearly every aspect of my life. That being said, thankfully I travel for a living and those frequent trips from the quotidian into the world of fun and fantasy haven’t just been nice, they’ve been necessary for my own sanity. But is that really a good thing? This has been a debate in the travel community for a very long time. Many accuse bloggers of traveling to escape real life and responsibility, which certainly isn’t the case for the few of us who do this professionally as our sole career. But lately, I’ve been questioning that because I really do think that recently I have been traveling as an escape. Not on every trip, but certain ones like Route 66 and visiting Disneyland. How were these trips different, why did they stimulate my obsessive behavior?
In both cases, they were bucket list trips that I had waited a very long time to enjoy. More than a job or obligation, they were experiences I desperately wanted to undertake and naturally enjoy. When both trips exceeded my expectations in every way, I became overjoyed and now identify them with what were well and true happy times in my life. They also represent a form of freedom. I didn’t feel the normal pressures of daily life, I didn’t have to worry about anyone else other than myself. I was alone, I was happy and I was at peace with myself. That’s rare for me, and it’s that escape I want to recapture. Not to run away from my problems, believe me I know that’s not possible. No, instead I want to escape to a happier and better version of myself. On those trips I wasn’t quite as neurotic as usual, I allowed myself to adapt to the situation and to enjoy the moment. That’s why they were so important to me, especially in the case of Disney.
Life as an adult in the 21st century is hard. Mortgages, jobs, responsibilities and our electronic-tethers otherwise known as phones all conspire to make even our vacations more stressful than they should be. When I travel, I can’t escape anything, but in Disneyland that all changed. For a brief two days, I was able to forget almost everything challenging in life and instead just have fun. Maybe it’s because I didn’t have the real Disney experience as a kid, but I threw myself into the moment and was richly rewarded as a result. I find myself obsessing a little over Disney right now, and that’s partly due to my own personality quirks, but also because I am desperate to recapture that magic. I’ve never had that much pure and innocent fun in my life. The honest and wholesome enjoyment that is Disneyland isn’t kitsch or corny; it’s fun at a base level. I’ve been to every corner of the planet and while I enjoy most trips, that level of fun is unheard of. It goes well beyond the attractions though, it’s about a feeling. For those two days I was able to be a kid again. I was able to have fun and to amuse myself without concern or fear. I think that’s what drives so many adults to visit in the first place, and most if not all are well rewarded as a result.
A Little Obsession Can Be Ok
Some people may find my newfound obsession over visiting Disney slightly annoying or disingenuous. The annoying part I can deal with, but believe me it’s anything but disingenuous. I’m a lot of things, but I’m not a liar. I’m honest to the point of fault, and I expect the same from others. (This is also why I always fall for every April Fools prank every year.) My brief time spent gallivanting around Disneyland and Disney California Adventure was the most fun I’ve had in years – YEARS. Thankfully I realized it at the time and sought to maximize every minute of my time there, but it wasn’t enough. I want nothing more than to recapture that magic, if only briefly, whether it’s back in Anaheim or in Orlando or even Hong Kong. I want to make sure that it wasn’t a one off occurrence and that yes, it is possible to relive those special couple of days. While ordinarily I don’t approve of obsession of any kind, sometimes it’s ok. From time to time instead of being a hindrance it’s a boon and in this case I think it’s something I need. Life has been hard lately with nothing quite going my way. In addition to being somewhat obsessive I’m also prone to melancholy, which is why I think I’m so focused on Disney. Unconsciously I know that I need moments like the ones I enjoyed in California and it’s my brain’s way of trying to stave off feeling sorry for myself and instead realizing just how beautiful the world can be. If that’s not a positive result of obsession, then I don’t know what is.