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Open Minded Travel – Travelling The Spiritual Way

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In our world of fast evolving technology and instant distractions, it can be all too easy to get caught up in daily routines that leave us uninspired and overwhelmed.

Social media encourages unhealthy comparisons that can keep us feeling inadequate. Scrolling enviously through images of other people’s seemingly perfect lives and filtered beach selfies does nothing to enhance our own life experience.

If you’ve ever had the thought “I want to travel the world,” why not do it!?

Get out from behind your screen and explore the real world in all its raw, rich, wild beauty.

“Travel brings power and love back into your life” – Jalaluddin Rumi

Travelling is Personal Transformation

This isn’t just about going on holiday, having a quick respite from work and then slotting straight back in again without any kind of spiritual or conscious change.

Having a real travel experience is about personal evolution and spirituality. It’s a search for inspiration, authenticity and new perspectives.

Don’t let the word spiritual put you off. It can carry so much weight and meaning to different people and it is not necessarily about being religious or disappearing up a mountain on a silent retreat.

Embracing travel in a spiritual way is about recognising that we each have within us the ability to evolve and live out our true potential as individuals. That we alone must tend to our inner selves and choose experiences that enrich not only our own lives, but also those of everyone we interact with.

If you haven’t read it, check out “Eat, Pray, Love” by Elizabeth Gilbert. The bestselling book of one woman’s travel experience post divorce; inspired many to hop on a plane and change their lives.

Here are six benefits of travelling for your mind, body and soul.

1. Travelling teaches you more about who you really are.

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Travelling alone shines a big spotlight on your character. It forces you to face yourself in ways that your everyday life normally helps you avoid.

Throwing yourself into unfamiliar situations and experiencing the unknown causes you to consciously observe your long-held beliefs and behaviours. It is a huge lesson in learning to be open minded and to appreciate yourself.

Wandering new cities, exploring different cultures and even just making those everyday decisions of where to eat, sleep or what to do next on your own are incredible ways to develop a sense of self-love.

If you’re looking for motivation and meaning, the autobiographical novel “Wild,” by Cheryl Strayed, a healing journey of self-discovery, is essential.

2. Travelling shows you how to live in the moment.

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Even if you have never meditated in your life, travelling is the ultimate way to bring yourself into the present moment, again and again.

Imagine embarking on a 15-hour bus or train ride through the rural lands of an exotic county; there’s no WiFi, there’s only an incredible ever-changing view and a crowd of strangers.

What if your bus breaks down or the train is late? Who cares? It’s just another opportunity to embrace the situation, enjoy your struggles and add to your ever growing repertoire of interesting stories!

Travelling exposes you to a feeling of timelessness where you can enjoy everything as it is without worrying about deadlines, meeting arrangements and agendas.

You will come across a variety of situations beyond your control that will test your patience but it is precisely these situations that force you to pause and be mindful in the moment.

When you surrender to circumstance, you see the beauty of life as it happens. You are no longer pushing against things and trying to rush past the present moment.

You slow down and appreciate where you are; you learn to go with the flow and observe all tiny, beautiful things as they happen. There is no better meditation than that.

3. Travelling teaches you to embrace vulnerability.

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When you travel you have to adapt to new things quickly, be it food, customs, language and culture. Of course all of this unfamiliar stuff can be scary and overwhelming but such feelings provide an opportunity for spiritual transformation.

Great inner strength and self-empowerment are born from the letting go of control and accepting uncertainty.

No matter how well you plan things, change is intrinsic to life. If you learn to be at peace with the unknown, you will have gained an invaluable insight that will serve you in incredible ways for the rest of your life. After all, it’s normal to feel anxious about new experiences.

In the book The Anxious Traveller,” by Rita Anya Nara, strategies and techniques for gaining the confidence to take a leap into the unknown are laid out in a simple way.

4. Travelling is all about connection.

When you travel you have endless opportunities to connect with other people, the natural world and ultimately with yourself. These connections lead to stronger, more intense life experiences which make you appreciate the world more.

Simply being outside in and among awe-inspiring natural landscapes fosters a deep sense of stillness and inner peace.

Breathing the air of the world, feeling the ground beneath your bare feet, and witnessing the beauty and power of Mother Nature makes us feel alive.

Travelling also offers us an understanding of how we each fit in to the larger whole. After all, on a microscopic level, we are made from the same building blocks as all solids, liquids and gasses. Just as we are within the universe, a part of the universe is within us.

As well as connecting with nature, interacting with diverse people who you wouldn’t normally meet is often inspiring, mind-opening and humbling.

Connecting to others is crucial for us as social beings. We need that sense of unity in order to thrive, not only as a species, but also as individuals.

5. Travelling shows you how to simplify.

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Travelling teaches simplicity as a way of life.

Firstly, you do not have access to all of your usual material possessions. You learn how to pack for the essentials and cope without your usual choice of clothes.

You may well feel alarmed at this prospect, but after a very short while, travelling proves to you just how little you really need to be happy. To live life in its simplest form all you need is food, water and shelter. Pleasures then come from feelings and experiences that you encounter along the way.

Travel can strip us of the need to adorn our lives with excess and help us appreciate the world in all its authentic wonder.

Our article on minimalism along with the best selling Japanese author Marie Kondo’s book The Life Changing Magic of Tidying will inspire you to de-clutter both physically and emotionally and re-frame your life in simple terms.

6. Travelling is good for the world.

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Travelling with an open mind and a spiritual purpose can change the world, one personal experience at a time.

As Vincent Van Gogh once said – “great things are done by a series of small things brought together,” so remember that each individual interaction you have impacts the world. This is the butterfly effect.

When you communicate positively with others, that uplifting encounter will spread to the next person and then on to the next.

So take the time to have that conversation with a stranger; open your heart a little more and embrace a feeling of shared humanity.

It is the small moments in life that matter most and while you may not be personally involved in tangible change through an not-for-profit organisation or volunteer work, you are creating a unique wave of kindness and love that is infinite in its reach.

Travelling doesn’t have to feel like an unobtainable goal, you can always find a way to follow that feeling of wanderlust, be it the other side of the globe or far closer to home.

Every time you visit somewhere new, you will refresh and expand your mind and feed and strengthen your soul.

Just remember what you are – you are a machine that has evolved to receive signals from the environment (via the senses), which are then perceived (by the brain) and felt as sensations (via chemical reactions and electrical pulses throughout the body).

Travel offers an opportunity for you to seek out and intensify sensations that make you feel good, creating a truly fulfilling life.

So what are you waiting for… Go find those experiences and create those sensations! You will not regret it!

“Once a year, go someplace you’ve never been before.” Dalai Lama

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