am allergic to round trip tickets, itinerary, and any plans for more than a week out. Having a return date for a big trip gives me more anxiety than anything in the world, even more so than math. I never know what is going to happen on the road, in the wild, so it’s impossible for me to put an end date on something that hasn’t yet begun. When I know I have a trip on the horizon I forget about “how” things are going to happen and open up to the potential of what is still unknown, following my inner compass with trust, curiosity, and an open heart.
I love the unknown, to a point where I have deemed myself to be an “intuitive traveler.” You have likely heard of intuitive eating—to which I also subscribe, though I never like to really subscribe to any one thing, but I suppose these both are essentially non-things—where you tune in to the needs of your body and go with that flow. Meat today, vegan tomorrow, wine for dinner last night. I travel in much the same way.
This is not to say that I live with reckless abandon and just do whatever the hell I please, ignoring safety, health, or the consideration of others. Rather, I listen within and act on where I am naturally guided. I check in with myself constantly and if I’m not feeling a restaurant or destination I previously decided I was going to go to, I change direction and walk towards what feels right.
A true soul journey, intuitive travel is all about the feels, getting clear, taking intentional action, and reinforcing the muscle that is your intuition, or higher self, or inner self, or whatever you want to call the guiding force within the soul.
Be a magic maker, not a magic slayer.
You know what to do, always. It’s just a matter of telling the ego to sit down and be humble—which is quite literally the cornerstone of every spiritual teaching since the dawn of time. Master control over the ego and life flows like a river. And travel is no exception.
You too can practice intuitive travel and never make plans again. Here’s how:
- Create space: Opening space within to allow your intuition to lead is crucial. A head cluttered with thoughts has no space for creativity. Quiet your monkey brain and clear the nonsense in your head. Detach from the outcome and the “how” of what you want. You can’t dream if you’re fretting, and you won’t be available for magic to shimmy in for a dance if you’re gripping too tightly. Meditate. Breathe and release. Space.
- Prepare, don’t plan: Planning and preparing are very different things. I plan my flights, yes of course, and usually my first night or two in a new city so that I have a landing pad to launch from once I have my bearings on the city and my mind in the right time zone. I prepare what I am taking based on weather and activities, and I prepare a small bag with items for my traveling altar. I am a very prepared person, but I never have a plan. I am open to the possibilities, not setting limits with strict plans. Being smart but not calculated is the key.
- Make an altar: I always, always set up a small altar on my travels—no matter how long I am staying in any one place. It grounds me, reminds me of “home,” makes me smile, and helps me connect with the force within. Home is always within you, regardless of how physically distant you are from where you call your geographical home. I also travel with tarot cards. Guidance doesn’t just happen, it is grown and an altar is a beautiful and intentional way to facilitate that.
- Quiet time: Not only do I need my alone time to rest and recharge my mind, body, and soul, but this also helps me get clear on what I want. Traveling alone makes this incredibly easy. But when you have a travel partner, even an hour a day (or take the whole day if that’s what you need) of joyful alone time to reflect and check in can empower your intuition and reset your spirit to better listen to what is best for you. If you’re feeling lost within or heavy, don’t analyze, stop evaluating and complaining. Get quiet and be still. Journal, meditate, stretch or do yoga, go for a walk in nature, or just stare at a wall. Give your mind a solitary break and a whole new world will unfold.
- Feel into your feels: Feelings and emotions are extremely visceral. When you know how you want to feel, your mind begins to visualize that emotion and your body actually experiences it as if it were happening in real time. This also keeps you in the present, while manifesting the future. For example, I am writing this in Bali. I spent a week in the center of Ubud and at the end of that week I was drained and heavy and tired and uninterested in anything, and extremely over being around people. So I listened to that, asked around for recommendations for quiet places near the centre to retreat to and expressed what I felt I needed. I was directed to a neighboring village and found a perfect little flat with all the things I knew I needed to recharge, for the right price. There are no coincidences. This didn’t just fall in my lap, either. I listened, got clear on what I needed to feel rejuvenated, took action with an open mind, and manifested it. And what has come into my life since finding this flat has been 100 percent what I’ve needed to expand further.
- Surrender: The battle between the head and the heart is as old as time, so there will be moments of doubt, fear, anxiety, and stress. Surrender to them. Remind yourself that flowing is better than resisting, and acceptance of what is is the way out. Missed a flight or arrive at a hotel to discover they’ve lost your booking? Breathe. Let go. Take a moment to check in and remind yourself that it isn’t the end of the world, although it may surely feel like it. Release expectations and detach from the outcome. Surrender. It’ll all work out, it always does—and you spinning your wheels and working up a sweat is not going to help.
That is intuitive travel. It’s simple—not easy without practice, but simple.
Things change for me with the wind. My sails are always up, so when I cross paths with someone with a recommendation for a gust in a different direction, I am able to go. Not having plans, ever, invites that kind of flow and spontaneity driven by curiosity and divine intervention to be possible.
Admittedly, this type of travel is better done if you are traveling slow with some time to work with. But even if you only have a week holiday, make it a point to leave some days open to experience whatever comes your way.
And when shit hits the fan, because it will at some point, be gentle with yourself and learn from it. You either win or you learn, but that’s a whole other article in itself.