August 18, 2014

Is Traveling Running Away?


When I first started traveling the world, some people, my family in particular, were unnerved. They thought I was running away.

Of course, many people do run away. They run from fears, from difficult situations, from memories, or from their own tenderness and beauty. Some do this by drinking, some by arguing, some simply by using language that is rough or critical, some by using humor.

And sure, there may be some people who run away by traveling, but the majority of people I met on my travels were not running away—they were running “towards.”

They were running towards themselves, towards looking, towards being vulnerable. They were testing their own strength, breathing into their edges, talking about their fears, and learning to trust. They were accepting themselves, accepting the world as it is, accepting their freedom, accepting their gifts.

The people I met on my travels were open to learning and integrating new perspectives. They discovered the lightness of great freedom along with the great weight of what is sacred and important in the long-term: longer than that one journey, longer than their adult lives, or even longer than one lifetime. They talked to strangers, they took risks, they found appreciation for their authenticity, and they strove to live accordingly.

They lived well, even without the “stuff” they worked so hard to secure. Sometimes they simply left it all behind for a moment, to experiment with being lighter in weight, to remind themselves that a backpack is really just about enough. Sometimes they just put all aside for some time, leaving someone else in charge of the house and car, leaving someone else to live on top of the basement full of things they might some day want to look at, the hobbies they might want to renew, and the things they were passed by those who came before—and that they intended to pass into the basements of the next generation.

They left the job that took up half their waking hours, or maybe just took a short break so they could remember that a lot can happen inside your heart between the hours of nine and five. They left behind the things that they once believed made them abundant, and in exchange tried on the feeling of abundance of freedom, spontaneity, creativity and self-connection.

While traveling, I felt like a part of a bigger planet, a longer history, a greater story—a story that made some sense, somehow. I felt this world as a giant playground full of friends. More aspects of my soul were reflected in a greater diversity of experiences. I could feel new feelings and taste a wider range of subtleties through the gifts of new faces, new towns, villages, forests, rivers…every vista having its own unique aroma of eternal existence.

So was I running away? In fact, I was. I was running from the realization I saw many people around me having the realization that a great deal of time had somehow passed. I didn’t want to find myself on a fast and predictable track towards wondering where the time went. I was running from stagnancy, from a life of avoided questions, from a life of not knowing who I was, or why I was breathing. I was running from the emptiness of purpose that I was surrounded by, and into a world alive with synchronicity and relationship to something divine and magnificent all around. And I wasn’t running with urgency. I was running with excitement.

Any action can be done from an open heart, or a closed heart, can be done with the intention to serve and free, or to restrict and bind. Anything can unite or to separate. In this regard, traveling is no different than any other action. My aim is to inspire traveling to its highest purpose—to free, to open, to uplift, and to unite. I believe that traveling can be engaged with as a path to self-growth and nurturing of one’s true gifts, a path to run towards life, and towards one’s authentic self.



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Editor: Travis May

Photo: Wiki Commons


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