Travel the world, and find the unexpected: you!

“Rover, wanderer, nomad, vagabond. Call me what you will. But I’ll take my time anywhere. I’m free to speak my mind anywhere. And I’ll never mind anywhere. Anywhere I may roam. Where I lay my head is home.” -Wherever I May Roam (Metallica)

Anyone who knows me knows that I LOVE to travel! I love everything about it! Well, almost everything… If I’m going to be honest, I don’t really enjoy the packing – except that I know it means I’m going somewhere! 😉 I love being in the airport, getting on the plane, ascending above the clouds, flying through the skies, arriving at my destination, heading out to explore, meeting new people, trying new foods – you get the idea.

A few years ago I noticed an interesting pattern in my behaviour while on vacation, particularly when I traveled alone (like when I went to Costa Rica by myself on a ‘learn Spanish and do yoga for a week’ trip). I was more relaxed and at ease, less self-conscious, kinder, less judgemental, and more curious. I didn’t feel the need to schedule anything or know how things were going to turn out from day to day. I was able to just wing it and follow whatever my heart desired (i.e. what felt like fun). I was completely present in whatever was happening at the moment; it was pure bliss and freedom! For the first time in a long time, I felt completely alive! I’d get back home and people would comment how great I looked; I felt totally rejuvenated!

“When people went on vacation, they shed their home skins, thought they could be a new person.” ~Aimee Friedman~

me in Costa Rica 2009At first I wasn’t exactly sure what was so magical about the travel I was doing. And then one day I realized: I was more ‘me’ when traveling on vacation and spending time with strangers than I was at home with family and friends.  Say what?! Why was that you might be wondering… I asked myself the same thing, and here’s what I concluded: there were no expectations from the other travellers of who I should be; I was able to just show up as myself! These amazing people in turn pointed out my strengths and gifts – things I had forgotten all about. My heart and mind were wide open. I felt connected – to them and to my own inner knowing. Travel revived my creativity and self-esteem. Life made more sense than it had in a while.

When I began to see myself as a good, kind, compassionate, loving and smart person (the way other people actually saw me), I became my own best friend. I grew more confident in who I was and what I wanted my life to be. I no longer believed that making me a priority was selfish, and I saw that in fact the radical opposite was true: it was mandatory! I am now aware that unless I fill myself up, I have nothing to give to others. This realization has led me to a fulfilling career, amazing friendships, a loving relationship, and the knowledge that no matter what I’m doing, where I am or who I’m with, I am able to live and love as my brilliant self.

“Travel brings power and love back to your life.” ~Rumi~

*Please note: my family and friends never told me I had to be any certain way – that was a restraint I placed on myself. I thought I needed to be pleasing, to gain others’ approval – in order to have self-worth. The secret, I discovered, is that I only ever needed my own love.

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