Go Get Lost and Be Found
“Traveling – it leaves you speechless, then turns you into a storyteller.” – Ibn Battuta
Travel. It has been at the epicenter of human civilization throughout the ages, weaving stories with the threads of places explored and frontiers unknown, which have formed the very tapestry of tales throughout the ages.
Without the pioneers of travel we would never have experienced the wealth of globalization that has allowed for our world, for better or worse, to be in continuous flux that has propagated everything from religions to spices.
As I take a moment to reflect on what travel has done for me and friends who have regaled me with their most exciting journeys, I realize that some of my fondest memories of my childhood were during times of travel.
I was blessed with travel from a young age. Throughout the year, I would visit Jeddah, Saudi Arabia to visit my father’s side of the family where I would spend days with my beloved cousins as we swam, fished and laughed ourselves silly by the shores of the Red Sea. And during the hot summers, I would escape to an equally hot Austin, Texas to see my mother’s side of the family where I would gorge myself of chips and salsa and ice tea.
Oh, the perks of being a mixed raced third culture kid—you never stay put for long—for each part of your heart is constructed from equal parts of cultural puzzles that beckon you to explore every inch of yourself.
This source of inspiration of traveling was born from the love of my father. I enjoy nothing more than to sit and listen to his stories of his international adventures as a young man and how different travel was during his time. It is because of him that I got to travel to the top of our planet and see the majesty of glaciers where the sun never relents her throne during the summer season. Svalbard is by far one of the most astonishing places on this planet, and I urge you to add it to your wanderlust bucket-list.
Along with being a great source of rejuvenation, travel has a plethora of benefits to both body and soul. It can prolong our lives, make us happier, nourish us in ways we never thought possible, and more importantly, during times of xenophobia, increase our cultural understanding and acceptance of our fellow man.
The benefits of travel are endless. Here are just some of the wonderful gifts bestowed upon us when we set out for adventures beyond:
Peace of Mind
“A mind that is stretched by a new experience can never go back to its old dimensions.” – Oliver Wendell Holmes
Life is messy, hectic and extremely stressful. When we travel to a different country, whether it is for adventure, visiting family or friends, a yoga retreat or to just runaway for a spell, a sense of serenity and peace takes hold.
There is a great exhale of our heart when we finally take a moment to catch up with ourselves. Our lives are so fast paced that a disconnect often occurs between the body and mind. It is during our travels that both can finally realign.
Passport to Creativity
“Traveling is a brutality. It forces you to trust strangers and to lose sight of all that familiar comfort of home and friends. You are constantly off balance. Nothing is yours except the essential things – air, sleep, dreams, the sea, the sky – all things tending towards the eternal or what we imagine of it.” – Cesare Pavese
Suffering from writer's block? Feeling listless or displaced from yourself? Has your life felt slightly dull and brackish? These are probably signs that is it time to pack your bags and explore the world. There is so much out there just waiting to inspire us.
Traveling also pushes you outside your comfort zone. This in turn, invites more creativity into your life. New neural connectors responsible for triggering creative thoughts can be developed by exploring something new and exciting as you break away from your routines.
Faces, Place and Cultural Spaces
“Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness.” – Mark Twain
Turn on the news today and most of what you will hear mentioned is about the rise in xenophobia, war and hate crimes. Travel is the best way to uproot such hateful things and plant the seeds of acceptance and love that blossom into compassion.
What makes travel so enriching are the people and cultures that have left relics of history, beauty, science, art and stories. Meet new people, travel unknown paths, learn, listen, taste and sip—open your heart to every possibility out there.
The Transcending Traveler.
“Perhaps travel cannot prevent bigotry, but by demonstrating all peoples cry, laugh, eat, worry, and die, it can introduce the idea that if we try and understand each other, we may even become friends.” – Maya Angelou
As you begin to travel more, you may start to make friends and acquaintances that you meet along your road to discovery, or on hikes, retreats. Or it may even happen while you are sitting at a charming cafe in heart of Auckland, New Zealand, who knows? Once this happens, you realize that not only do we share similar needs and desires, such as providing for our loved ones, but we are all connected through our humanity. This awareness in turn, raises you to a higher state of consciousness where you notice global synchronicity.
The Age of Educational Exploration
“The world is a book, and those who do not travel read only one page.” – Saint Augustine
Many will agree that there is no greater teacher than experience. I have learned a great deal on my international endeavors, including culture, love, ideals, hate, food, religion, taboos, the environment and of course, my greatest love, coffee. You realize just how little you know about our shared world by peering through the humbling window of perspective.
Go out and learn. Talk to people, and ask questions. Wander through historic cobblestone streets, swim in crystal blue waters of the Indian Oceans, or walk across shifting dunes of the Sahara.
“No one realizes how beautiful it is to travel until he comes home and rests his head on his old, familiar pillow.” – Lin Yutang
When all's said and done, there is nothing like coming home, plopping down on your bed and reliving moments of your trip as you paint them back upon the canvas of your memories. Travel makes you realize just how important home is, and how we often take our own space for granted. You come home and realize how much people have missed you and want to hear about your great adventures as you scroll through photographs of smiling strangers and exotic foods you dared to taste.
So go get lost to be found.
Written by: Laila Al-Yafi