A year today, I was wracked with nerves, terrified of the stretch of unknown terrain that lay before me and I lugged a 14kg bag onto a big, steel Emirates bird and trusted. I trusted that the little voice in my heart that had whispered ‘South America‘ since 2010 was lovingly leading me to wherever I had to be. I trusted that myself and my fellow passengers would be safe and would arrive at our destination in one piece [flying has been a flat out fear since I was young, near causing me to cancel my trips]. I trusted that whatever unfolded over the coming weeks, I would meet and handle with grace, bravery and presence. I trusted that, in the grand scheme of life and the universe, that I was where I was intended and every step was supported and universally governed. A year later – I sit with that same trust in my heart as I go about my day. I trust that this, somewhat less exciting and less travel-ly, day that lies ahead is undeniably mine and that, by mindfully choosing to check in and remain present whenever I make decisions or choose direction, I am co-creating epicness with the big, buzzing energy that births all life.
I recall, so so so dang vividly, writing a letter to ourselves in year 12 for the us in 5-10 years ahead. My friends and I shared our words and hopes and dreams that we were embedded in our love soaked letters. Marriage, babies, careers, houses in the ‘burbs … the usual goods. Except I remember some of my classmates excitedly bangin’ on about ‘travel’ and confessing to their future selves how much they hoped travel would features in and shape their lives. I thought they were bat shit crazy. Why leave? Why would you want to leave this cozy little nest that we have built here? Why risk the scariness and the potential danger and the unknown for all the comforts and stability that we have grown up in? No thanks guys, no furgin’ thanks.
Fast forward 10 plus years and my skin restlessly itches to be on a plane and in a foreign place. I don’t pretend to not be totally aware of my absolute fortune and blessings that I even have the opportunity to travel, and explore. I am so grateful. Which makes me yearn even more to appreciate this absolute gift of freedom and to play the hand I have been dealt. But how on earth did I get here? Someone who was far more nurtured by known, stable and unchanging surrounds than she ever was with change, uncertainty and adventure. How did this flip? How did this seemingly opposing view come to settle in her heart? And, I think it comes down to this exact day, 12 months ago. My first solo adventure. The first time that I was (literally) the only person that I could rely on. The first (of seemingly many) journeys fuelled by a little voice//little intuitive nudge.
Travel is an incredible playground on which to explore those aspects of ourselves that might not otherwise have the chance to rise to the surface. Our flexibility, as even the best laid plans go awry; our strength, as we potentially face undesirable situations or circumstance; our confidence, as we meet people from all walks of life and potentially differing views than our own; our bravery, as we say ‘yes’ to experiences that we may (in the past) have declined; our trust, in the whole dang process; our ability to see the good in every situation and every soul; our capacity for love and connection; our appreciation for the natural world around us; our spontaneity and sense of adventure. Travel offers us the means and foreground to play, test the waters, re connect (or re invent) those aspects of oursleves and our lives that may have fallen out of alignment with who we were put on this earth to be. We drop the cloaks and limitations of familiarity and show up, somewhere else in the world, as our total and complete self.
We see the world with fresh eyes (cue the latest Andy Grammar banger). We are given the gift of experiencing the world with the complete newness of a child. To see sights and beauty and landmarks that are unlike any we may have witnessed before. We appreciate the diverse and incomprehensible vastness of this planet.
We meet people from across the globe. We learn to make friends but this time as adults and not as children, which may have been our only real experience of friendship forging in the past. We allow ourselves to interact with these people without the security of context or reputation or familiarity – we have no preconceptions or background to them, we are taken on how we are today and in that very moment.
I don’t know about you but I kind of think that travel offers us the trifecta of human experience. Connection. In all its glorious forms. It encourages and fosters a deeper connection and understanding of ourselves, as we silence the outside noise and muffle external influences to reveal what we truly are when everything else is stripped back. It allows for a potent connection with others and allows us to learn from people who may differ in thoughts, beliefs, culture, race, appearance, age and//or social status. And, what I believe to be the most important of all, it harnesses a deep and profound connection to our planet. We typically go about our days, and dismissively ignore the beauty of the world below our feet and above our heads, but when we travel these become the things that unwillingly grab our attention. We snap photos of breathtaking views, we pinch ourselves as we stand with our feet in shorelines on the other side of the globe and we marvel at the wonders of our world. And, for me at least, it really helps to light a fire in my belly as to why it’s our duty to advocate for and protect this amazing planet and its incredible, but finite, resources.
So travel, my darlings. Travel near and travel far. Learn the lessons that travel has to teach you. Unwrap the metaphors of life that are so deliciously encased in cross-continental adventures. Have your own back, have one another’s back and have the planet’s back.
Blessings and the ITCHIEST of feet and the FULLEST of hearts x