“I am not the same having seen the moon shine on the other side of the world.” -Mary Anne Radmacher
The act of traveling has deeply spiritual origins.
In many cultures, to travel away from one’s home was a serious journey: one that was taken for the purpose of connecting with God, seeking truth, and gaining wisdom. Even historical, non-religious explorations required a leap of blind faith, and a trust of the unknown.
In current times, we have tended to treat travel as a luxury: only those lucky enough to have the time and money can do it. However, that notion is beginning dissolve with the help of the expanding voice of travel writers. As a whole, we are starting to change our connotations about traveling in a very exciting way: it’s beginning to, once again, become a deeply personal experience that is just as much about self reflection as it is about seeing the wonders of the world.
The decision to venture somewhere unfamiliar alone is nerve-wracking for many people, especially when traveling to international destinations. We want to have the bravery for exploring on our own, but we fear about our safety. We worry about getting lost or not understanding the language. However, by still going and chasing the feelings of personal and physical freedom- we are, without realizing, doing something deeply spiritual in nature.
There is a reason Eleanor Roosevelt urged us to “do one thing every day that scares you.” By busting down the walls of comfort around us, we are subconsciously putting our faith and trust into something we cannot see. By recognizing the value in taking positive-oriented risks, we are forsaking our need for control, and gaining a whole new way of living.
Visiting whimsically exotic destinations will not solve our problems or even make our lives better by default. What traveling does, is it gives us the skills to function independently, both emotionally and physically. Traveling helps us to revoke the power of our negative thoughts and teaches us just how critical perspective is.
We return from our travels with the same responsibilities, issues, and inconveniences that we had before. We do not come home magically enlightened or more cultured than our peers. What we learn is much quieter and much more humble. If we travel in search of a specific answer we will always come back disappointed, because we will find none.
Instead, what we gain, is the gentle awareness that we all possess the skills, intelligence, and power to navigate strange and unfamiliar territories on our own. And even if we don’t find ourselves able to board another plane anytime soon, we will find that there are doors to new experiences nearly everywhere we look.