“The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes.” ~ Marcel Proust
Every year, my wife and I would make it a point to travel at least once to a different country and culture. One of the reasons why vacation is called that is you can vacate – leave wherever you are and whatever you’re having behind, at least for a while. Traveling gives me new perspective. Once in a year, we’ll be hit with the ‘travel bug’ and hear the road calling for us to get out there for another daring adventure.
As a coach, many times it’s easier for me to discern other people’s real issue and help them to move forward than my own, probably because my issues and challenges are too closed to me. As coaches, we need good powerful coaching too. We need to be shifted and see our own issues from a different perspective to gain new insights into our own situations. For me, traveling is quite perfect for that!
I have just returned from Bangkok and it was a really good trip. I can totally understand why many people associate travel with therapy, because it was certainly therapeutic for me to abandon a particular issue of mine, a challenge and dilemma which has been ‘eating’ me from within. Dwelling on the thought itself can be painful at times. So, by physically leaving a familiar place can have an immense change in the way I see my issue – from a distance. It was a huge relief!
One way for traveling to be therapeutic is to not think about your issue at all and just let it rest. And when you return, you may find your issue looks quite different and is not as big as you initially thought. For me, I approach it quite differently.
See The Global View
As I hit the road or soar into the clouds (like I did in this trip), I’d look out at the farthest horizon – to rediscover and reconnect with my biggest life vision, the bigger picture. I ask what really matters at the end of the day.
At the same time, as I drift further up in the sky, I view whatever I’m facing as just a tiny drop in the grand scheme of things. I take time to marvel at the beautiful sky, God’s creations. And I take time to marvel at God’s big plans.
Seeing the glorious sky opens up everything for me.
Seek and Listen
It’s a normal practice for me to travel with a carefully selected book (physical, electronic or audio), to help me reflect during my travels. Somehow reading while traveling gives me a different context from my usual reading – often times more clarity. I get into presence more easily and get absorbed into whatever I’m consuming.
I listen to my thoughts and become aware of my heart’s desires. As I travel physically, I’m also a natural, curious explorer of my inner worlds to dive deeply for new discoveries.
As I listen to my own inner voice, I’d also listen for the still small voice of God, whom I trust is guiding me by His infinite wisdom. He speaks to me through the words of my reading, through nature, through people and circumstances, through a different culture. I’ve to tune in and listen for it.
Different Cultures, Shifting Perspective
When traveling, go taste the local food, listen to their music, smell the fragrance, engage into full sensory experience and see what defines the culture there. Understand the practices and where they come from.
Meeting people from different cultures, languages, backgrounds and mindsets, and immersing into their world, can often give fresh insights and new perspective into the same old issue. Your thinking can alter to see what can be different about your issue, and more importantly, what can be possible!
We’re all part of the human race, yet so diverse and similar at the same time. We’re different, but not that different. We learn from each other, if we’re open to fresh ideas.
Run Your Own Race, But Together
All of us have our own individual journey to travel, our own race to finish. But it’s incredibly powerful and joyful to share your journey with a companion, a comrade, a supportive partner, people who value and accept you as you are, who can emphatize the mountains and valleys that you’d go through, and (don’t underestimate) people who have a wild sense of adventure and fun!
Build parallel tracks with those you want to enlist onto your journey. Have your own individual space without forgetting the power of traveling together. You may travel faster alone, but you can go further together.
Provide encouragement as much as you receive, if not more. Get on that adventure together. By that, I do mean life’s journey and also that wonderful vacation in exotic places.
Lastly, I want to share some of my favorite travel quotes:
“It is better to travel well than to arrive.” ~ Buddha
“The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page.” ~ Augustine of Hippo
“I travel not to go anywhere, but to go. I travel for travel’s sake. The great affair is to move,” ~ Robert Louis Stevenson
“Why do you go away? So that you can come back. So that you can see the place you came from with new eyes and extra colors. And the people there see you differently, too. Coming back to where you started is not the same as never leaving.” ~ Terry Pratchett
“Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one’s lifetime.” ~ Mark Twain
“What is that feeling when you’re driving away from people and they recede on the plain till you see their specks dispersing? – It’s the too-huge world vaulting us, and it’s good-bye. But we lean forward to the next crazy venture beneath the skies.” ~ Jack Kerouac
Remember to share the stories from your travel and more importantly, your journey insights!