I’ve been traveling alone for 4 weeks or so – and none of it is like I expected. Except, perhaps, that it is indeed as I did expect, about finding the less known me. Which in itself isn’t all that interesting for the world :-) – but then again, there are some “lessons” that I’m learning along the way, some experiences here that I hope you will find useful and inspiring:
Traveling alone I’m connecting to more people than I’ve done in years
For some of us, connecting with ourselves, expressing ourselves, unfolding the art of living alone is essential. In my experience, as I connect with myself and become a bit of a master at living alone or being alone, I’m called to express myself in the world and to connect with others. Luckily, once that inner connection is there, creating the outer connections is surprisingly easy, effortless, natural.
On that note, part of my journey included participation in this wonderful, heart-opening, life-reaffirming, transformational event. (don’t let its strange name fool you. Explore the website instead. It’s beautiful – as are the people who create and participate in this).
But even prior to and after the event, when traveling alone – and often needing help with practical things such as finding my way, or finding out how the public transportation works – I reach out to people for help. In this way – and just by being open, traveling alone I enjoy many more conversations and connections with strangers than I do at home. It usually starts with the the usual (where do you come from) and it often takes us into other areas (interests, family, life, meditation, art…).
And, if the meetings I experience while I travel are random then the world consists of my kind of people entirely. :-)
Travel brings me the people I need to meet
Seriously, as mentioned previously, I don’t think there even is such thing as random, but both the event (#WDS2015) and the random meetings that preceded it and followed it were everything but random. It was – and is – as if life orchestrates my journey. Having noticed that, I stopped trying to connect with people at all, or search for the few that I knew previously (online) among the 3000 that were at the event or anywhere else. I just remain open or reach out spontaneously because I feel like doing it – and people show up, meetings happen, beautifully, heart-to-heart, naturally, in a way that I’ve rarely experienced otherwise or elsewhere.
Travel helps me stretch my comfort zone and grow
The good life created a fantastic take-off for me – the first 2 weeks were a journey through paradise – partly in the form of the summit, but just as much through meeting my dear sister, old and new friends, wonderful hours in nature… until it was time to move on to the next chapter. And with that some personal challenges, including the fact that I don’t really like moving on (I’d rather enjoy and stay in one place), and that when I do arrive at a new place it takes time for me to arrive. I apparently have a need to explore the space first, then the near surroundings, then the local area and only then, maybe, do I feel ready to go on a further trip. That process can easily take a few days. And that’s fine, because:
Travel helps me discover my own traveling style
This is super important. There are thousands of travel books and blogs out there, and while I’ve learned a lot from some of them at the end of the day I realized that I need to learn to listen to my needs and develop my own traveling style which may or may not resemble any other. Even more so perhaps now that my vacation is over and most of my time needs to be dedicated to work.
Travel brings me joy
I’m saying this because, again, what I notice is that I find intense joy not only in the majestic landscapes that I get to see but also in “small things”. Like a vibrant flower I’ve never seen before, or a Mexican family enjoying their day off at the Bay, or a sweet toddler saying “hi” or…
Which makes me think that we don’t necessarily have to travel far to find new landscapes, new connections, new joy, new aspects of ourselves.
Travel reignites my creativity
I regularly struggle with not feeling creative enough, or not writing enough. Seeing new places, interacting with new people, opening to new inspiration and last but not least meeting an inspiring writer, editor and friend has a wonderful influence on me. I’m writing again, here, obviously, but also my novel and just notes from the journey. I so enjoy it! And, there might be another reason why it’s happening:
There is an inner journey taking place now too, and it’s both what I expected and then again not at all. I did not expect to encounter waves of sadness or fear or confusion the way I did for a few days, in between everything else. And I did not know that these waves would eventually lead me to a new sense of clarity, focus and creativity. Interestingly:
Travel makes it easier to eliminate distractions
I didn’t expect this at all, on the contrary. But as it turns out, while I travel I’m more open, more focused (because everything is new and/or requires my attention) and so I either spend time on something that really inspires me (whether it’s a walk in the forest, a meal from a food cart, or the landscape outside a train windows) or I spend it meditating, writing and having conversations that matter.
Becoming so much more aware of where I want to go and what really matters (and what doesn’t) means the world to me!
Even if my vacation is over now (although it will be another 2 weeks before I’ll be back in my little town), it still feels like I have more time than usual. So I’m asking myself – what have I been doing at home that took so much time that it prevented me from spending more time on activities that matter? What was so important? I have no idea! But I trust I will remember this when I get home. I trust I will, because:
Life is traveling by my side. When I travel alone and when I am at home.
It may look like I live alone but I don’t. It may look like I travel alone but I don’t. Figuratively speaking, life is traveling by my side, at all times. At home and everywhere else. Just like life is by your side and on your side, no matter where you are, no matter what you do, no matter how you live.
Please share your thoughts, experiences and this inspiration with friends, in the communities you’re part of, on social media as well as in comments below. Someone out there will be glad you did! Thank you!