In his excellent book, “The Happiness Equation,” Neil Pasricha includes this nifty graphic:

His point is that some activities require more thinking, and others need more doing. If the activity requires neither thinking nor doing, then you’re just in space – you’re pretty much lounging on the beach. The upper left box suggests your main job at this stage is to think and plan. The lower right box is when you’ve done all your thinking and now it’s time to spring into action. The upper right box is when you’re both thinking and doing, at the same time. In this mode, you’re “on fire,” mentally and physically, but watch out. You can’t stay here forever or you’ll burn out.

When we’re traveling, we experience all four modes at different times. Sometimes, you’re busy planning your next destination. Other times, you’re busy executing your plan (or at least shopping and packing). Other times, you’re out “in the field”, traveling somewhere challenging, with full mind/body engagement. And still other times, you’re just chilling in a hammock by the ocean, storing up energy for your next excursion.

One of my favorite places to be in “space” mode is Manuel Antonio Beach in western Costa Rica.

This is no ordinary beach.

One second, you’re lounging in a typical, idyllic, seaside scene. Blue water, white sand, soft breezes. With a tropical forest, dazzling in its utter greenness, all around you. And then you turn around, and that’s where the action is. Bathing in the warm, Costa Rican sun is a family of giant brown lizards, similar to iguanas. Oh wait, it gets better. In the trees beyond the beach lives a troop of wild monkeys, just itching to jump on your backpack and hitch a ride to the shore, all the while grabbing at your sunglasses, your earrings, your grandma’s favorite necklace. This is Costa Rica, land of volcanos, rain forests, glittering white-sand beaches and, above all, ANIMALS!
As I lie there on the sand, watching the lizards loll and the monkeys gambol, I find myself resisting the urge to plan and do. My tank is filling up, however. Soon I’ll be heading off to another Wow Place…but not just yet.