One of the things I like most about traveling is the wonderful possibility that an experience outside of your comfort zone can contribute to your personal growth.
I always try to get the most out of a trip, especially when it’s a solo trip since it’s the best way to not have many distractors to make that experience as profitable as possible.
Clearly, not any trip or any destination will be suitable for a trip with spiritual meaning and growth to your life, but it’s also true that it’s more a question of attitude and setting the goal than of the landscape.
Moving from one place to another requires us to create a new interpretation of the world around us, be more alert and change our perception a bit.
When we want to carry out a journey that means personal growth, we must take this into account during the different stages of the trip: from when we started preparing it, at the moment of departure, during the trip and also when returning back home.
What to keep in mind for a journey of personal growth
I think we have all questioned at least once during our lives some of these questions. What is my mission in life? What am I living for? What should I do with my life? What do I do? Do I want to have children? Do I believe in God? Am I happy?
For me, the times I have asked myself these questions have been innumerable since I was very young and I have tried to answer them in many different ways.
Almost all of us who are now connected to the internet has grown up within a very similar social and family system. We have grown up in an environment that has designed our lives to be able to belong to a very well-armed system and since we were little we have been trained to belong in the best way to this society.
We go to schools throughout the day without the real need to stay in them, more than to be able to later endure long hours in a traditional job.
We grow following a plan and a pattern of life that was designed by others and very early we stopped listening to ourselves. We grow up with fear to know ourselves, to connect with our own essence, with our desires and needs, for fear that they are different and keep us away from those we love or who love us stop loving us for it.
Within that gigantic disconnection with the only person who should always be 100% connected – we ourselves – we are losing ourselves and plunging into a routine that leaves us even less time to do something different.
That is why a trip turns out to be perhaps the best opportunity to change our way of being and thinking. Because being outside of your familiar environment you are more open to incorporating new patterns of behavior and thinking.
Learning a language or working in another country means a life challenge that will make you trust more in yourself, feel freer and overcome many fears. Even the fear of flying can be a reason to go on a trip when you work on overcoming that fear.
I can speak from my own experience with a lot of sincerity and honesty. What it has been contributed the most to my personal growth it has been my travel life.
Because despite having read dozens of books on philosophy and spirituality, having seen many other documentaries about those topics, having practiced Yoga and meditation for years, being a Reiki therapist … nothing compares to the profound and changing experience that the trips that I have made with a purpose have provoked in my life.
After feeling I was lost the connection with my soul, of living a life in an automated way between studies and work, without even having an idea of what my dreams were, the only thing that allowed me to connect with myself again and recover my dreams was a travel journey that lasted almost two years.
I did it a little out of desperation because I didn’t want to continue living a life that did not make me happy. I made myself responsible for my life and decided that I would do everything necessary to recover my desires, at that moment I thought that by escaping from the system I would be able to reencounter myself and I was right!
Leaving everything to make that trip was the best decision I have made in my life until today. I recovered the connection with myself, with my desires, with what I did not want to do in life and above all, I regained the love for myself. Doing the things I wanted, respecting my times and desires I recovered the most important relationship of my whole life: the relationship with me.
The first thing to organize a travel with meaning is to have a clear objective.
And perhaps the most important thing is that when you feel you need to make this type of travel, listen to yourself. You are much wiser than you recognize and if you want it is probably the best experience for you at that moment.
We live with so much fear to be different, to express our totality that many times we stop doing things because we think that others will think badly about us, that we will never find another job, or a partner or a group of friends … and In that fear is when we get lost.
From our fears our courages are born, and in our doubts our certainties live.
The dreams announce another possible reality, and the deliriums another reason.
In the wanderings the findings are waiting for us, because it s necessary to get lost to find yourself again.
Therefore, if you feel the call to travel with meaning and reconnect with your inner being, just do it, organize yourself and try it, maybe it is just what you need.
These are some things that can help you to travel with meaning and having a journey that makes sense to your life:
Schedule some time alone
A trip of personal growth requires that you take the time to connect with your interior, for this you need time alone and a little silence.
It is not the same to travel in a group of 50 people and without a doubt, the interaction you will have with your environment will also be very different. The experience of traveling alone will make the experience even more intense, but if you do not accommodate a group trip it can also mean a contribution when you manage to have times for yourself.
Learning to be alone is not only important to enjoy a trip, but to live our lives better. When we know how to enjoy our company and we are willing to know each other deeply, to love ourselves deeply will be when we can relate to others in a more realistic and better way.
A good idea is to add a diary to record our daily experiences, the thoughts that come to mind and how we are going through the process.
You can use that diary to do some exercises too:
- A list of things that I appreciate about myself
- A daily list of things that I’m thankful and I appreciate in my life
Find a destination that is a challenge for you
It is not strictly necessary to go to the other side of the world to experience changes and growth during a trip. It is the experience and your predisposition to live that change that will make this possible.
A trip can be as intense or as relaxed as you want and be in a place where you do not know anyone, nor their language and everything is different makes it easier to create new strategies to see things and to react to reality.
Include some days close to nature
The power that nature has to change our mental state, to calm us down and to make us enter our feelings and thoughts is recognized by all.
In almost any place in the world where you are, you can find places of peace and tranquility in a mountain, a river, a natural park or a beach.
If you do not have the time or the desire to spend several days in contact with nature, at least a long day walking, meditating or simply enjoying the environment will change your mental state immediately. Even when you do not sit at your center and do not manage to focus at home, go for a trek, if you have pets spend more time with them or with other pets and you will see how your energy changes.
Think about the possibility of doing a guided meditation retreat, yoga or some other technique that helps you connect with yourself
I can not fail to mention the power of the experience of living a retreat of any kind.
When you travel consider that valuable extra free time that you will have to do that Yoga or meditation course that you have always wanted to do but that plunged into your routine you never have the necessary time.
I had a wonderful experience in India after doing a Vipassana meditation retreat in complete silence for 10 days. I say after retirement because the time I spent in it was one of the hardest in my life, but what I managed to improve in the wake of him completely changed my life.
Live that new culture to the fullest
Being exposed to a culture and landscape different from the one we live in every day is perhaps the main reason why we all travel.
Most of us don’t know very well why we do it but we can take advantage of that opportunity to work on our system of thoughts, to become more tolerant, to learn to respect differences and also to see that there is a lot of goodness in this world.
To live to the fullest the local culture respecting its customs and its people will be the best decision that we take to take advantage of a trip. Share with the locals, learn from their culture, their language, their food, their way of dressing and relating, their games, etc. It will make our mind inevitably expand and see that there are other ways of living life.
This is why I began to participate in the largest travel community in the world Couchsurfing, where you can share with locals in their homes, receive travelers in yours or meet to share experiences walking around the city. The best travel memories I have lived with the more than 300 people with whom I have shared in this way, receiving them in my home or when they have opened the doors of their home and their lives.
Just like why we never do that meditation retreat that we have always thought about, we do not have the time to dedicate ourselves to work helping others.
The contribution of our time, our experience and giving love to others is a very enriching experience and while we travel we will have all the time available to dedicate it to whatever we want.
Give yourself permission to play and enjoy again like when you were a child
It’s impressive how disconnected from ourselves we can be when we live a routine life based on what others want for us. Many times we lose that passion for life, that spark that keeps us happy and alive is what we should always preserve as the most sacred thing we have.
Traveling we will have a perfect opportunity to let our inner child out and learn again to love life, to enjoy the little things, to recover that ability to play at all times because in the end life is never as dramatic or as serious as we think it is.
We all have the power to live as we want and for that we have to be able to play to imagine a perfect world for us and that develops when we see the world as when we were children, free and without fear of what others think of us.
When we connect with ourselves, we accept ourselves 100% with all our light and darkness, allowing us to be who we are and thus flow with life. By flowing and trusting in life we can enjoy it and give ourselves permission to live alienated with our life purpose.
A good question to ask yourself is: What would I do if I weren’t afraid?
I tell you something very simple about how I have applied this.
Traveling for a long time I had to necessarily return a minimalist and stop buying souvenirs during my travels. For me, the memories are usually not decorative items but clothes, shoes, handkerchiefs or anything else I can use.
While in India I suffered a little because I couldn’t buy all the wonderful clothes I saw because I simply didn’t have more space in my backpack and what I did was to play that I was going to buy everything I wanted. It became a game that took me to visit lamp and carpet factories, negotiate prices for different amounts and to meet incredible places and people in the cities I visited and it was so much fun!.
Apply what you learned to your daily life
Far the best learning of all this will be to bring to your daily life everything learned during the trip. The trip itself is not what will bring and change your life, but how you bring back to your life what have you lived during the trip.
After a trip clearly, the one who left is not the same one who returns, especially on longterm and solo trips.
You can come back being more responsible for your own life. You have already lived what it means to be in a difficult environment, or having silenced your mind and after hearing all the possible bad things that you can say to yourself, you understand that this is your greatest responsibility. Take control of your thoughts and your life.
Begin to lead a life with the eyes of the traveler, who marvels with every new thing and is able to enjoy with the little details, who enjoys uncertainty instead of fearing it, who has already lived the hard part of accepting that you can’t have the control of everything, that has learned to listen and to know what you want, following and paying attention to your soul that tells you exactly what to do through intuition.
That person can flow with life and is more tolerant in front of the people and situations that happen to him daily. Accepting that change is something positive and that everything changes constantly.
The most spiritual journey is what we do within ourselves
In the end life, itself is the most important trip of all and the physical journeys only help us to live that great trip in the best possible way, more connected and much happier.
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