Somewhere along my way I've developed a strong case of wanderlust and I honestly have no desire to be cured. Travel feeds my soul and inspiration in a way so profound and deep I have a hard time putting it into words. Anytime I am gifted the opportunity to experience a new place, I am changed in some way. I have become very passionate about sharing this feeling and igniting it in others.
It is fairly often that friends or acquaintances express great interest in traveling only to follow up with why they can't do it themselves. For example, we're getting ready to head to Iceland in October on a retreat, and I have heard countless times, "That's so great that you're going to Iceland! I hope that I get to go some day. The northern lights are sooo on my bucket list.” This is usually met with a reason or reasons why they couldn't possibly go on a trip like that. "It'd be too hard with the kids.” "Maybe when I'm older I'll have more money to travel.” "I don't have the vacation time.”
The truth is you may never feel like all of the stars are aligned and it's the perfect time to take the trip you've been wanting to take, or to experience the culture you already feel connected to from afar. You might not even get a tomorrow if we're being super real about it.
Travel takes hard work and it takes a lot of planning and sometimes sacrifice. It is very rare that a big trip just falls into your lap. You have to make shit happen for yourself.
Travel is a priority to me for many reasons. And the more I travel, the more I prioritize it in my life. We are on this planet for a limited amount of time and I intend to see and experience as much of it as I possibly can. If this speaks to you, you need to make a plan. Shift your life as much as you need to and start from where you are. The journey of a lifetime is NOW, and this isn't a practice run.
Why You Should Prioritize Travel
Experience the world. It's a big world out there, and believe it or not, people live and behave differently from you! Traveling is the best school out there... you get to experience things for yourself. As Mark Twain wrote in Innocents Abroad, "Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry and narrow-mindedness.”
I am a firm believer that life was not meant to be lived occupying only one tiny corner of the earth. If we were meant to stay in one place we'd have roots instead of feet. So go experience new cultures. Go meet people who follow a different religion than you. Go where other languages are spoken. Go where your tastebuds have no idea what to expect. Allow your eyes to open to the beliefs, values and norms of other people and I promise your perspective will shift. Once we see what a tiny space we occupy, we are humbled by our very existence. Once we feel that through all these differences in human experience, we are essentially all one and the same‒ we begin to awaken.
Experience yourself. When you explore the world around you, you discover a whole world within you. When you move out of your comfort zone, you really see how you respond to life's different sequences and frequencies. You notice how and when your patience wears thin. You notice your fears, and maybe where they stem from. You notice what makes you uncomfortable. You begin to know yourself more intimately in all of your dimensions and you're forced to peel back layers of identity and preferences that dictate your life day in and day out.
The act of traveling alone teaches you to go with flow of life until you become it. It teaches you that there really is no need to try to control things and whatever happens is in fact exactly what was supposed to happen. It teaches you to be alive with your senses fully heightened and to appreciate every fleeting moment because you know it will not be recreated.
You might not get to later. When I visited Sydney, Australia last year I had one of the most pivotal moments of my life. It's when I decided to make travel a priority.
I was walking the famous Coogee to Bondi path hugging the beautifully raw and rugged coastline. I found a spot on a cliff overlooking the ocean to meditate. The wind was blowing, waves crashing underneath me about 50 feet down. I'd never felt more grateful to be alive. My meditation brought tears of absolute joy and truth. I got up and kept walking, carrying this gratitude for life itself with me. I rounded a corner on the path and the very next thing I saw was a cemetery. It literally took my breath away. As I looked closer and started reading the tombstones, I noticed so many with dates only spanning 20, 30 or 40 years. Some of them had a cause of death listed, like a car accident, accidental death, etc.
In that moment I also contemplated death in a different way than ever before. I realized that I might not be 95 years old when I die and go peacefully in my sleep.
It's a harsh truth but one that has really changed the way I see things. I don't think there's really such a thing as being ready in life. I have this feeling that maybe no one is ever really ready to do anything. But generally speaking, now is as good of a time as any. I'm pretty sure if we do make it to 95 years old, we won't be saying "I really wish I didn't follow my dreams and go see the world.”
My advice for making travel happen in your life.
Surround yourself with travelers. You know those people who have a thirst for life that is just contagious? Befriend them. Make friends with people who force you to level up in your own life. Keep your spark alive by talking to people about their experiences. Start focusing your attention on expanding your universe. Where your attention goes, energy flows. You might even create an opportunity for yourself seemingly out of thin air once you just start immersing yourself in this idea of traveling for the sake of traveling. If the people around you don't support your dream and your journey, don't worry... it's not for them! There are tons of online communities and amazing content out there to keep you inspired to prioritize travel and to assure you that there are millions of others out there with the same wanderlust soul.
I've also recently starting watching Departures on Netflix and it's super sparking my fire to go to New Zealand and Japan. It's two average Joes from Canada traveling the world for a year and their documentary style production and photography & videography are impressive.
Become a passion planner. If there is a big trip that's been on your mind for years, you owe it to yourself to go. Trust that there is a reason you are being pulled to explore this particular place. I suggest making a vision board to manifest this trip into your reality. Get beautiful images and words that remind you of what this trip means to you.
First, you'll need to realistically look at what it will cost to get you to where you want to go. I'm a big fan of the app Hopper because it tracks flight information and notifies you of the best time to book your flight and gives you a good idea of a good fare. It should just be a starting point though. Be diligent in your research of what airlines go near your destination and be sure to look at smaller airlines that might not be on the big travel search engines. You should also look for forums to see if you can find what people with experience think a fair flight price is and if they recommend specific airlines.
Next, don't be afraid to get creative in your accommodation. If you can't afford a luxury resort or even an average Air B&B, don't let it stop you from going somewhere you want to go. Look to see if camping is an option, trade a place to sleep for doing some work on a farm... where there's a will there's a way.
Make a plan to save. Where are your frivolous expenses and what are you going to do about it? Think about what you spend money on as an energetic exchange. What are you getting out of the spend? It will be different for everyone but if you can start to look at what you emotionally get out of what you spend your money on, it will be easier to notice what you can cut out or slow down on. For a month before my last trip to Europe, every time I caught myself wanting to ask a friend to end the day with tacos & margaritas, I turned my phone off and put $20 in a jar. I ended up saving almost $200 to enjoy spending in Europe. Pro tip... put that money in a different account!
Traveling is something that has changed my life just as much as yoga. I think it's because they both end up at the same place... experiencing unity within myself and the universe as a whole.
I know I have a lot of friends who will read this who can contribute to why and how to make travel happen... please share! Let's create an ongoing conversation to keep each other inspired and feeling connected.