The Art of Living a Spacious Life

The busier you are, the more you have to step away from busy-ness, to see what’s truly important in life. It’s the open spaces—the moments when you lose yourself—that help you to find contentment, joy, and peace of mind.

Mantas Hesthaven / Unsplash

For more than thirty years now, I’ve been a full-time journalist and travel writer: One card in my wallet shows I flew more than 100,000 miles on United Airlines alone last year—I’ve long been a member of the company’s Million Mile club—and my doctor has recently taken to prescribing daily medication for my blood pressure. My poor wife has grown too accustomed to hearing pages spewing from our fax machine at 3:00 a.m., or seeing me race off, before dawn, on what are meant to be holidays, to deal with “urgent” requests from bosses or “can’t wait” emails.

Still, I never guessed, when I fell into this life, that soon so much of the world would be stockpiling data, uploading photos, and trying to keep up with the roller coaster of the Nikkei stock market. We’re all journalists now, it can sometimes seem, racing to stay on top of a moment that refuses to stay put. The only way I’ve found to try to keep my balance in a globe permanently on the move—and ever more cluttered with stuff—is to step out of the world on a regular basis, and to step back from my life, so as to see…