My first real trip abroad at the age of 19 ruined me.
I knew from the moment I set foot in Barcelona, Spain, on a study abroad trip that I wouldn’t, and couldn’t, ever be the same. I instantly felt at home and vowed to make my way back to live in Spain any way I could. Over the next decade, I worked to travel. From long weekends in San Francisco and Mexico to traveling abroad for play or work, I was (and am) insatiable.
“Work, save, travel, repeat” was my motto.
But it wasn’t only the thrill of seeing new places and faces that got my heart beating. Travel was stirring something bigger inside me. I’m not sure I was even really conscious of why I felt such a strong urge to travel, back then. But upon returning home from each trip, I felt a deep sadness and stagnancy within as the magic faded. I felt the pull to move, the call of the road, and the desire to pack up and get back out there.
It wasn’t until I was backpacking through Central America with my boyfriend at the time (side note: when you travel with your partner, trust that shit will get real!) that it struck me why I loved to travel so much.
It was the inner transformation that I was experiencing that made everything in the “real world” seem silly and insignificant. It was the heartwarming ear-to-ear smiles from the locals. It was the distinct smell of each country and the diverse landscape that heightened my senses. It was a near death experience in India that awakened my spellbound soul (which I will expand upon in the future).
Connecting on a deep level with fellow nomads who had a book of stories in their hearts and the passport stamps to prove them was a thrill. People with whom I had deeper conversations with in the first five minutes of meeting than I’d ever had with some of my closest friends back home. Some of these soulful strangers have become lifelong friends and I have travel to thank for that (and my sparkling personality, of course!).
There’s just no denying it: I am hooked on the wanderlust lifestyle. I am addicted to growth and curiosity and exploration of my inner and outer worlds. I want to learn as much and see as much as possible in the world because I now associate that with a deep inner blossoming.
Travel changed the way I thought and acted and felt. It shifted me to a gracious and humble warrior, capable of anything, who takes nothing for granted.
As I turned a corner on an ancient cobblestone street, I also turned a corner in my heart.
Discovering the world around propelled me to dive deep into the world within, with a hungry curiosity that soon became my driving force in life.
I dropped old, unserving habits and picked up new creative hobbies. I allowed my mind to take a vacation and let my heart guide me—never knowing exactly what would come up or where I would be drawn to. The beauty of uncertainty became a thrill and having plans actually started to make me anxious.
I released the conventional and defied the societal expectations that keep many in chains for most of our lives—never knowing it is we who hold the key.
After years of longing for a more long-term adventure, a series of unfortunate events (which I soon came to realize were the best worst things to ever happen to me) finally pushed me out of my rational comfort zone. I gleefully succumbed to the incessant desires of my soul and decided to move to Spain.
A one-way ticket in my hand, all my belongings on my back, and sweat gathering on my upper lip, I stood at the gate to board the plane that would inevitably deliver me to my soul.
The common thought people have when someone does something like I did (move to a foreign country alone with a one-way ticket, knowing no one, sans home or job) is, she is soul searching. And while the negative connotation of that phrase does bother me, that is absofuckinlutely what I was doing. No shame in that game!
Aren’t we all soul-searching? Don’t we all crave more?
Isn’t there a burning desire for something within all of us that is just waiting for permission to blaze?
Traveling and moving abroad with nothing but a backpack and a dream carved the path to my soul. I did not get on the plane with the intention of finding said lost soul, but I did know that I definitely was not found.
Lost in the bliss of adventure in Spain
We travel to see the world, discover different cultures, learn languages, eat, drink, and be merry. But what we are also inadvertently doing is giving our hearts permission to lead and dissolving the cage around the soul.
We learn through experience, repetition, and an honest desire to absorb the knowledge. What better way to check all those boxes than to travel?
Travel is inherently spiritual, and as a major limb of Spirit Guides, it is obvious that travel is not just checking destinations off a bucket list for us. We have mindfully, intentionally, and passionately chosen to highlight the spiritual aspects of travel—to talk about all that is felt but cannot be seen through the lens of a camera.
They say there are many paths to enlightenment; I say travel is for sure on the top of that list.
So what are you waiting for?
Do it for your soul. Do it until you realize that you’ve always been whole.
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