Travel is my Spiritual Journey.

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Travel is good for my soul.

Recently a friend told me, “Travel is your spiritual journey.”

I had to pause and allow those words to wash over my heart. This comment felt much more loving than what many have called the path I chose 19 years ago:

“Irresponsible”
“Confused”
“Lost”

“Irrational”
“Immature”

I have found that travel makes many people uncomfortable. It’s something the government advises against. It’s dangerous. It’s risky. It goes against the rule we are taught from infancy: don’t talk to strangers.

Travel is rarely a celebrated path.

Moving around and being on the go might be tolerated up to a certain age, but then cultural expectations kick in. At some point the timer goes off and that means getting a job, getting married, and falling in line with what we define as being an adult.

I got married just before I turned 30.

We bought a house and started a business. We hit six figures in our first year. From the outside it looked like we had managed to achieve the American dream, except there was one ugly problem: I didn’t want it. Owning a house made me feel trapped. Living day-to-day the American way sucked the life out of me.

Finally I knew I couldn’t fight it anymore.

We were living in Gaslamp Quarter in downtown San Diego and I told my husband, “I have to travel.” I have to get out of this country. Let’s sell everything and go. He knew who he had married and he wasn’t surprised. The books went up for sale on Amazon. The furniture went on Craigslist and we had a moving sale right out of our loft. We informed our clients and put systems into place to continue our business from afar. Three short months later we landed in Tirana, Albania with four suitcases, a Kindle in our hands, and an adventure ahead of us.

I cannot compartmentalize my life.

It’s taken me 19 years to learn this. Many times I tried to convince myself that I could take one or two trips a year and that would be enough; I’d be happy. But that wasn’t the truth. It’s taken many trips across the Atlantic for me to forgive myself for not fitting into society’s norms. It’s taken many heart-to-heart talks with my family for me to find full acceptance from them. It’s taken a whole year dedicated to completely overhauling my life for us to move to Mexico with our two toddlers.

I am a World Explorer.

It was absolutely mandatory for me to declare this and make it my title. Travel has once again been my undoing, my salvation, and my inspiration. It has taken center stage, as it’s my heart and the core of who I am.

From this place of exploration and adventure I am receiving my best ideas, creating my most spectacular relationships, and moving into my most aligned work. This is the real reason travel wouldn’t let go of me. It knew I could only be the best version of myself if I were out in the world. Out in the wide open field of endless possibilities and unplanned days. In the slow pace and lazy afternoons, I could uncover the most spectacular parts of myself.

Embracing my 22 year-old self.

Yes, that’s right. Believe it or not, when I was 22 and living in Albania, volunteering at an orphanage, I had it right. That girl knew the plane ticket had to be booked. The bag had to be packed. Exploring the world was not optional. It was mandatory for her to see life through a wider lens. Being out traveling for the last six months, I can feel myself returning to her. I could have trusted her then, but I know for certain it is safe for me to trust her now.

What I am committed to.

I am committed to giving my children the rich heritage of travel, language, and culture. It’s of utmost importance that they have open hearts and minds. I desire for them to be accepting of all people. May they learn tolerance, and that peace is theirs to initiate. I am committed to supporting my husband and his art. I am driven to assist him in making his wildest dreams come true. I’m committed to work that feels like play. I am committed to seeing it all and going where most have never gone before. I am committed to empowering others to set aside expectations, to stop suppressing their truest desires, and to listen to the faraway places that call their heart.

Travel is non-negotiable because it’s not an activity, it is who I am.

 

 

~

Author: Monique Alvarez

Photo: Pixabay, elephant Instagram

Editor: Travis May

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Monique Alvarez

Monique Alvarez is on a mission to share her love of the world with the world. She empowers aspiring world explorers with structures and strategies that create freedom on all levels so they can say yes to travel. She is currently enjoying slow travel across Mexico with her husband and two toddlers. You can connect with Monique at her website.

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Sam Diyon Oct 18, 2016 4:41am

THANK YOU for sharing the wonderful experiences n story telling your journey.I cant help but tend to agree 102 % with your suggestions..I always believe that everyone should take travelling as a hobby..n esp.to start travelling when one is still young n healthy..I travelled alot with my family members(4) n covered Central Europe,Canada,New Zealand,eastern Europe,Spain Portugal ,Scandinavian countries n Israel...if one wants to travel dont wait till one is too old..or dont wait till we have lots of money..by the time we have lots n lots of that bludy money we will be bludy too old n sick to travel n just sit at home..n just look n stare at that tons of money one cant enjoy..thx Monique for the bold adventure.

Neha Nayak Oct 17, 2016 3:37pm

Love this Monique..you are so inspiring and I very much agree with what you have to say about travel....I know moving to 5 cities across Canada and USA in the last 7 years has definitely helped shape who I am today :) and I'd love to know more about how my husband and I can do it with my little one <3

Carmen Rosas Oct 17, 2016 1:50pm

Thank you so much for sharing your story! You're such an inspiration and reminder that life gets to be lived on my terms! I'll be making plans to travel more for myself but also so my daughter can experience travel and adventure early on!

Liz Caraballo Oct 17, 2016 1:07pm

All those steps for the last 39 years led to this magical experience of living your true self as a momma a wife and most importantly your authentic self. Sharing your story will empower thousands to do the same. I think that might be the best gift we can give - authentic transparency to inspire authentic change.

Lisa Marie Pepe Oct 17, 2016 12:58pm

I am so inspired by your story, Monique. Thank you for sharing and for having the courage to be yourself.

Mariana Calleja Oct 17, 2016 12:50pm

I can absolutely relate. Travel has been my spiritual journey since I can remember. It's something that was always there. I wouldn't deny it, instead I'd seek it like mad, crazy in love with my curiosity and idea of the world. It has been only through travel that I've been able to heal my own inner issues from the past, to grow into a full grown woman who knows her destiny, her purpose, who stepped up into her true and full courage. Travel changed me before I even started really travelling. And that is the most valuable thing we can own within our own hearts: truth and desire to pursue it. Bravo Monique! And so glad to have crossed paths with you. Great article!

Adriana Monique Alvarez Oct 17, 2016 12:37pm

Thank you Elise! It has freed me in so many ways!

Adriana Monique Alvarez Oct 17, 2016 12:37pm

Thank you Riikka! I appreciate you stopping by.

Adriana Monique Alvarez Oct 17, 2016 12:35pm

Thank you Nesha, I receive that!

Adriana Monique Alvarez Oct 17, 2016 12:34pm

Thank you~it's all about unlearning isn't it?

Adriana Monique Alvarez Oct 17, 2016 12:34pm

I love hearing that Tandy! Adventure is our birthright!

Adriana Monique Alvarez Oct 17, 2016 12:33pm

Oh it's true! Thank you so much! <3

Riikka Pauliina Oct 17, 2016 11:35am

I admire your bravery to follow your path. Kudos.

Elise Severino Oct 16, 2016 5:00am

What an inspiring story! Love that you followed your heart.

Chaunesha Zackery Oct 16, 2016 3:03am

You inspire me daily to search for that part of me that I have given up in order to live the "American Dream". Your courage is astounding. Your commitments are bold. God bless you on your spiritual journey!

Vernon Hoffman Oct 16, 2016 2:49am

I believe that we all come into this world as adventurers. Why would we come if that isn't the truth? Most have this programmed out at an early age,,, but not you ;-) When we find alignment with who we really are,,,, our world,,, totally opens up for us,,, just like yours is now... Cheers to you !!! Continue to inspire people to look for who they really are !! Great article !!

Tandy R Elisala Oct 16, 2016 2:18am

What a terrific article and a great reminder that adventure is our birthright! I love traveling and have done more of it lately. I am inspired by your story and courage to simply sell everything and move like you did. Kudos to you!

Diana Marie Oct 16, 2016 2:18am

Wild hearts cannot be tamed! Thank you for being true to yourself, it's not only inspiring but refreshing!