22 September 2016 4 Comments

Travel Experiences 1: Travel Can Be Intense

Sorry for dropping of the map for the last few weeks. I didn’t realize how much recovery time I would need upon my return.

The next few blogs take place in the context of recent travel.

Travel is considered expansive. Awareness stimulated by new experiences expands us as we open to embrace additional insight and inspiration. We have an opportunity to drop or relax habits and habitual viewpoints, p1010336duties, personality traits, and activities we normally identify with and carry along though daily life. Viewing our usual orientation as irrelevant creates room for expansion. At the same time, our focus of attention may simultaneously contract as visiting interesting locations for short periods of time rivets attention on the immediate environment.

When I travel I am keenly aware that I will probably never pass this way again, sharpening my focus within the moment and making simple things precious. This local focus enfolds everything around me. It sometimes includes where I initiated my day and where I am headed. During the most salient moments, whether or not they are pleasurable, my world consists of what I experience around me and my trajectory through it.

Ideally we would live in the moment most of time during daily life as well, bringing attention fully forward into the immediacy of life. Our capacity for attention tends to fall asleep among the people and things we see daily. We may substitute what we think we know about people and situations for actually interacting with who they truly are in the moment. We also tend to take for granted that we will be here tomorrow, but we may not.

Foreign travel vigorously challenges assumptions. Without language and prior experience as sources of understanding, we must open to What Is and take nothing for granted. We have to find out how to get places, what a bus stop looks like, what a coin or bill is worth, whether to tip, where to buy a ticket, how to find acceptable food, and so forth. This takes a lot of energy. It can be invigorating or harrowing, depending how we manage our self care, and what the universe throws our way.

Seeking new ways to meet our needs and negotiating unfamiliar terrain causes us to interface with life at a lot more seemingly-random points of contact, meeting more people. Many of these people are also in motion. Liberated from our usual contacts, we are more available for interaction. When we are in motion it’s as if the world is a huge pinball machine and we are one of the balls, bouncing around and available to intersect with others in seemingly-random yet cosmically-ordained timing.

Travel can make immediate and direct the reflections life throws back to us. Our points of contact can be invitations to experiment with what how we want to be as we explore new feedback from the people in our environment. To some extent we can re-create who we are in a new place. The reflections we receive are not predicated on past impressions from former interactions. The reflections we receive from others are thus more direct.

Intensive travel, where we throw ourselves into full engagement with a larger slice of the world, is not the same as a vacation. It is not always comfortable. Full immersion in a foreign environment is not about relaxing, escaping responsibility, or luxuriating, although these may occasionally occur. Intensive travel is active, vulnerable, and demanding. Recovery time can be required afterward.

To what style of travel are you primarily drawn?

What values do you or would you support through this selection?

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4 Responses to “Travel Experiences 1: Travel Can Be Intense”

  1. Therese 23 September 2016 at 2:29 pm #

    Welcome back!

    Right now, I’m drawn to my RV travel. While I’m in familiar territory, there are many opportunities for growth. Learning about my RV, how to plan my route, and navigate challenges while finding a place to stay. That’s fairly easily learned though I’m starting over with the aspect of boondocking. Learning to traverse challenges like repairs is new and rewarding, once accomplished. Maintaining boundaries, meeting people, being aware of my environment as well as the rules different people and areas seem to maintain. Just like in foreign travel, smiling and being willing to laugh at myself goes a long way towards finding the help I want.

    The foreign travel I’ve done has always been a positive experience. There are other customs I find annoying. If I’m too annoyed, I need to go elsewhere. That respects myself and the other country’s people. Often I find more similarities than differences. I embrace pleasant, new experiences. I can live without the unpleasant experiences but they do serve a purpose. I admit I find few experiences unpleasant. That’s probably why I enjoy new experiences so much.

    With Love,

    • Teresa Dietze 23 September 2016 at 3:55 pm #

      Thanks for your comment, Therese. I missed exchanging with you over the past few weeks.



      • Therese 28 September 2016 at 11:12 am #

        I’ve missed you too

        • Teresa Dietze 28 September 2016 at 2:10 pm #

          Thanks for sayin.’ I felt you out there the last few weeks and it’s helped inspire me.

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