Travel To Learn Some More. Stop. Process. Reflect. Grow. Repeat.
I was talking to a friend recently about travel and how we hope for our children to experience it in this way. When I hiked the camino I was in awe of the young people who had decided to take the time to go for a long walk. Equally, I was in awe of the newly retired walkers who were walking. Both of them were walking to take the time before what comes next.
I know we can’t pick up and travel right now but I guess I like the idea of this time to travel into new ideas and to perhaps explore what we feel curious about, what grounds us, what takes us home inside, what sets off the fireworks under our skin. Granted we are on our summer break so I have this luxury of time. As much as I thought I could write during quarantine – no way. Home school took all my free energy! Well home schooling the 8 year old did.
The sequence though, I love the sequence. While my friend and I talked about it in relation to travel I think it’s life. And travel is something we do at home and afar. It is travelling further with our mind, expanding our horizons, hearing new opinions, connecting deeper, learning the ‘somethings’ that grow us.
When I look back to my time of quarantine I kept my fire going by running everyday. It was in this time that my learning happened. It was here I grew, here where my view of the world and myself began to change. The running wasn’t the teacher, it was the travel. The vehicle – the movement, the space, the reflection in the quiet stillness that allowed my mind to open combined with the releasing of the tension with each hard step.
Unless our minds are open it is difficult to learn, to reflect. And without the travel I would have sat in the same cycle I started quarantine in. I was a bit pissed off actually. Annoyed with some people and their attitudes and behaviours. And I was also scared of extending myself, of seeking the next phase of my learning and honestly I wasn’t sure how to or what to try next.
It isn’t comfortable to always have an open mind. Shit no. It’s far more comfortable to drink, scroll, eat, binge, try to control, lecture, buy new things, sit in guilt, judgement, pity, blame, whatever, you know basically numb your way through your own discomfort and fears. Who doesn’t need a bit of numbing sometimes. And all of these are cool things right!
We learn, get inspired by and catch up with others from the scrolling, binging and we enjoy the eating and the drinking and new things are nice. It’s also good down time! Who wants to think ALL the time. It’s only when these numb’ers become glutenous pursuits that they are dangerous. And yes for the record I believe travel can be one of the great glutenous pursuits. Just as I believe chasing wellness can be (stories for another post).
Now, guilt et al. they aren’t fun, down time things – they are creeps. Creeping in to hold us back. But the numb’ers and the creepers in my experience they work together. Deal with the numbers and you can face the creepers. Face the creeper and boom you can grow. Perhaps sometimes we just need the nothing, to travel the path with the unknown answer. Then when we’re not busy numbing we can face the blockers – the creeps.
I have my vices, my cycles, my preferred modes and creeps to keep me still and safe from discomfort. They’d love nothing more than to hold me back from honest reflection, from thinking about why things are pissing me off and of stepping into new things or trying harder with the stuff scares me.
Cruise cycles, we all find ourselves in them, aren’t we always in one cycle or another. They are normal. There is a time for stopping in cruise mode, for a while. Until it’s not. Until you’ve exhausted where you are, when you’re done in that place and you need to learn some more. To peek out wider and to grow a little. And this peeking, this travel doesn’t always have to mean getting on a plane. It’s just travelling somewhere different in life, it’s doing something differently.
This corona journey still continues for us in our different countries and in different phases. Of course what I write, my opinions and how I experience this time comes from my perspective and experience. I’m a middle aged, white woman in a healthy relationship with (generally) happy kids. I have agency, choices and privilege. I like not being invited to things and I love nothing more than a free agenda. Our income hasn’t been affected and none of us have yet to experience illness from the virus (that we know of). We experienced quarantine with a great degree of freedom here in The Netherlands. I also love a bit of self growth, to understand where I’ve been and to continue to seek a gentler more meaningful way. All of these things give me a security which makes reframing this time easier. I understand that.
And so from my personal experience.
I like to think travelling this corona journey has made me a better person. That it has taught me to see and hear people not only from my perspective but from theirs. I hope I have become a little less judgemental, a little more appreciative, more understanding and that I’ve been reminded to be more empathetic, more sympathetic. I hope I will be better at putting myself in the shoes of others. Those in trickier situations and also those with whom I share my everyday life. I hope I am more forgiving. I think if I’m more forgiving I’ll be kinder. And kinder is something that matters.
I also hope I am courageous enough to try harder, to step up, to be myself without fear. I’ve learnt that not every battle is worthy of my energy. I don’t want to hide behind the numb’ers and the creepers that keep me small. Just you know when I need that time! The time to sit on the couch to eat chocolate and do nothing but watch a series.
Lol I know! But seriously, I hope I can be this person, my deepest, wildest self and I hope I can hold onto the better person bit while I’m going there. So when you ask where in the world do I want to travel. I’d say there, from here. Writing everyday is a step in that direction for me. It is also a combination of the process and reflection part of my learning from this corona journey. I think I am passed needing to stop. And already I’m travelling some more trying new things to learn new stuff.
We’ve all travelled through 2020 in an unexpected way, all of us on the trip, the tour bus to the great unknown. But none of us are experiencing it the same way. Who knows how this corona time will pan out, where it is going and when it will end. All we can to is travel it, learn from it and hopefully grow into what comes next. I hope you’re able to find a way to keep your fire going, to travel slow, to find the space you need to see a little light, enough to allow the sparks to flicker and guide you towards the learning, the laughter, the what it is you need from this time and the coping. And for those of us who have the privilege, the safety and the freedom to feel life in a joyful way let’s be kinder together. Because it’s all in the BEING really isn’t it.