Travel and Discover
“The world is flat”, said Thomas L Friedman in his book “The World is Flat”. I like the book because the first time I read it, I was travelling during a break from studying in The Netherlands, thousands of miles away from my home. We are all connected in many ways. At Shades of Yoga, we love travelling and we offer various destinations for our teacher trainings to enhance your journey of self-discovery. Today, as I am sitting on a beach on the beautiful Osa Peninsula in Costa Rica, I am reminded of the flatness of the world again. And it made me think of why we travel across the oceans of the world.
Travelling is healthy for the soul. It allows us to break away from our routines and see the world differently. This is what the saying we travel to “lose” ourselves means. Travel does not mean you have to buy expensive plane tickets to exotic destination, it can simply be a trip to your local beach. A journey can change us. A journey can be the road to our spiritual growth. We meet new people and we discover new things. Sometimes the very thing that we discover deeply is the discovery of ourselves. Hence, we travel to “find” ourselves. Travel can reveal the real “you” from within. So we travel to lose ourselves… and to find ourselves.
But on the other hand, travelling can be overwhelming. The distractions are plenty, and the technology has made travelling faster and easier. We buy flight tickets online, book hotels online, plan and buy tickets for activities even before we reach our destinations. We plan which place to visit each day, and some people even book restaurants before they arrive at their destination. In this fast world – Thomas L Friedman calls it the “Age of Accelerations” – it is easy to travel and miss the essence of the journey. When we fast forward our trip, we just “be” in a place, but we don’t connect to time and space. We are busy planning the next step and we forget to enjoy the step we are at. The destinations and activities become part of a list that we must tick, part of a “bucket list”. We take pictures and upload them to Instagram instantly only to show the world that we have been to a place. But have we really? We often miss the connection to the space and time. We are at a destination but we are not present.
How to travel and stay mindful
So how should we travel so that we don’t get caught in the overwhelming distractions? The first thing to do is to slow down. Instead of rushing from one place to another, try to sink deeply into where you are. Be right here, right now. Stop and smell the flowers. Stop and look at the butterflies. Stop and feel the air. Stop and look at the people. Appreciate where you are, feel a sense of peace, embrace the energy that the place gives you. We travel to experience. So when things get tough, and often on a journey it does – from delayed planes, to bad weather or illness – sit back and let yourself “be” in the experience. Realize that everything is impermanent, both the good experiences and the challenging ones. Make an intention for your travel to your spiritual growth and transformation, and enjoy your journey.