Some see travel as a luxury. But I believe it to be an essential piece to a life fully lived. When we travel to places outside of our normal realm, we get a new lease on life. We can show up as whoever we choose to be without the hang ups of our daily grind or all the preconceived notions and expectations from those around us.
We’re free to be led by our curiosity and wonder. We wake up when we're ready. Eat when we're hungry. Sleep when we want to. Purely being drawn or repelled by the vast symphony of sensations-- the sights, sounds, smells, tastes, temperatures, and climates.
And when I say travel, I really mean pushing past the comfort zones. Not just going from one “Anytown USA” to the next. Personally, I love eating the regional favorites, tromping through the local natural areas and foraging for food. I love visiting the “hidden gems” and art museums that are off the beaten path. I love listening to the local musicians and the local dialects. I love people watching and getting a sneak peek in the day of the life of the locals. I find this exposure to diverse cultures and environment creates an expansion of empathy and wisdom, nurturing our sense of interconnectedness.
But more than the outside world, it can really offer time for introspective reflection. Who am I? How do I want to use this precious time? What baggage did I bring with me that I need no longer carry? We can decide what version of ourselves we’d like to integrate into our daily lives so that we may have a life we don't dread returning to or need to escape from.
I know many of us are tight on money or time and travel seems impossible. There are SO MANY volunteer opportunities that allow us to travel. We can see the country and the world on a limited budget and improve the world while we’re at it. Programs like the Peace Corps, Habitat for Humanity or WWOOF-ing are just waiting for travel-hungry, heart-centered humans.
And while I really value leaving our region, it’s also fun to have “stay-cations”. Going to food establishments we don’t regularly patron or just choosing something different off the menu or at the store. Going to nature spots we haven’t checked out yet or catching a performance or art exhibit we’ve never seen. Wearing outfits we don’t usually wear, wigs included, are a fun way to be incognito and afford the same anonymous freedom travel can.
All of these memories and lessons are stored in our hearts and minds and can be accessed any time we choose. To me, being RICH with memories and self-understanding is a far greater wealth than any coin can offer. I don’t think Old Lady Liza is going to regret those mountain views in WA or the freezing plunge into the Mediterranean, or being twirled by a stranger on the dance floor at the old country bar in NC. She’s going to be grinning and grateful Young Lady Liza chose to explore and expand her horizons. And I’m willing to bet your older version will be grinning and grateful for all the times you chose to live life to the fullest and embracing the boundless wonders of our world. <3 <3 <3