Why Travel is Good for the Soul
Travel as a Spiritual Journey
In The Way of the Traveler: Making Every Trip a Journey of Self-Discovery, Joseph Dispenza theorizes that all travel is "transformative".
"Making a journey", he writes, "is always about going from where we are now, to another place, a higher realm of consciousness."
Of all the many spiritual paths one can take, I believe the road back to the self can and should come with the thrill of novelty, interesting people, unusual customs and costumes, gorgeously foreign scenery and the undeniable beauty that is ever present on our planet.
Travel is Transformative
Traveling presents us with innumerable opportunities to re-connect with ourselves as we are confronted by spontaneous, unexpected moments and points of contact with strangers.
Away from our own homes and routines, for a time we are unbound and free as we make new friends, fall in love with new places and have the luxury of time to take stock of our hopes and dreams - or rest and do nothing at all.
While not everyone loves to travel, nor does everyone feel called to adventure, drawn to far off places or eager to begin a spiritual journey, most people will admit to the transformative impact of travel.
Upon returning from a trip perhaps we notice a shift in perspective. Perhaps something as simple as an appreciation for a new food, architectural style or type of music previously unknown to us.
Or maybe we simply feel a new sense gratitude for what we have in comparison to those who live their lives with much, much less.
Travel Inspires the Practice of Paying Attention
When we travel, we interact with the new and unfamiliar. Our senses are heightened as we take in new sights, smells, sounds and tastes.
As we explore, we sometimes feel overwhelmed with everything that is new and different around us. The more familiar we begin to feel, the more we begin to appreciate what is around us - the geographical, socioeconomic, cultural and spiritual flavour of the place we have chosen to explore.
The geography of a new place can be the thing we remember most upon our return. The scale of mountains, colour of the earth, the temperature of the sea, or the taste of the dry dust on our tongue might be the signature memory of a particular trip.
Experiencing the vastness of the earth's terrain, the diversity of its landforms and extremes of climate can give us chills as we realize how enduring the earth is and how fleeting our lives are in comparison.
We may feel moved and inspired by the unfamiliar beauty of a place that is new to us, and so different from our home surroundings - a tiny village, an unlikely river dividing a town, a rare species of bird or flower.
Travel Shows Us the True Meaning of Wealth
Visiting third world countries brings us face to face with our own level of wealth and privilege, and can cause a shift in perspective about our level of social responsibility, our personal definition of "wealth", and what it really means to be rich.
Upon returning from a trip to Mexico, one of my professors confessed to our class that the level of poverty was so abominable in some places he visited, being robbed would, to some degree, have alleviated his guilt -- guilt for somehow having the unearned privilege of being born in a first world country.
Experiencing how the majority of the world's inhabitants survive with almost no material possessions in the most humble of homes can inspire travelers to make a commitment to ending poverty.
I love to travel. For me, it is a form of spiritual practice. Travelling reminds me of how privileged we are in so many ways - to be, even briefly, a part of the varied, dynamic, and wondrous scene all around us here on planet earth.
I Can Make Life: Poems About Infertility and Miscarriage, Pregnancy and Birth
About Nicole Breit
Nicole Breit is a published author and poet. Her debut poetry collection, , retraces the journey to have her son, and was a finalist for the 2012 Mary Ballard Poetry prize. She is the owner of Sparrow Writing + Editorial Services, and when she isn't having fun with her kids, she is helping small business owners craft blog posts, articles, web content, and ebooks. Follow her writing journey on her blog, I Can Make LifeWriting for my Life, or on twitter @NicoleBreit.
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