A Few Tips for Transforming Yourself on a Long Travel Journey

by - December 09, 2020

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There are many reasons that people go away on extended travels, ranging from a desire or need to advance their careers, to uncertainty about what the next step in life should be, to a simple and honest desire to see the world, get to know new people, see new places, and experience different dimensions of various cultures. My travels through North and South America and then again back to California and Mexico were some of the best times of my life! Plus adventuring through food is so fun! Like eating in Dublin or San Sebastian. 

In addition to all of those things, however, perhaps one of the most significant and common underlying reasons why people go away on extended travels is in order to “find themselves,” and to undergo some form of self-transformation as well.

Your journey may take you to many different places. You may find a room for rent in jurong east that really resonates with you, and end up staying there for a number of months, or a year. Or maybe each leg of your journey only lasts a couple of weeks.

Whatever the case, here are a few tips for effectively transforming yourself on a long travel journey.

1. Consider trying out a combined meditation and contemplation practice

Meditation has grown massively in popularity in recent years, as a practice endorsed all around the world for the sake of helping people to obtain a greater degree of calm and focus in everyday life, in addition to potentially even being an avenue for spiritual development.

What is often not spoken about, however, is the fact that meditation – or more precisely, mindfulness meditation – is only one half of a pair which should also include more imaginative contemplation practices.

As the academic and psychologist John Vervaeke argues, what a practice like mindfulness meditation really does is get you zooming your focus in on the micro scale, with the effect being that it essentially breaks mental patterns and frameworks. In traditional religious practices which have incorporated this kind of meditation, however, he argues, “contemplation” practices have also been heavily emphasised as the other side of the coin.

A contemplation practice is, in essence, something that gets you looking at things from a big picture perspective and helps to establish and solidify frameworks. In Buddhism, for example, mindfulness meditation is accompanied by contemplation on topics such as the interconnectedness of things, love and compassion, and so on.

In other religious practices, the focus of contemplation will of course tend to vary.

In any case, there is a good argument to be made that real self transformation – and wholeness – come about when you combine the two.

When travelling around the world, you typically won’t have a huge amount of room in your rucksack for different physical props, tools, gadgets, gym equipment, and all the rest. But you can certainly take up a combined meditation and contemplation practice while on the road, without having your baggage weight limit at the airport affected whatsoever.

2. Start a daily travel journal

Journalling is an incredible practice for all sorts of different reasons, but first and foremost because it allows for a structured and productive form of active reflection and introspection that can help you in a wide variety of different ways. I wrote a blog when I travelled through Thailand for two weeks, when I went to France for ten days, when I spent two consecutive summers teaching in Spain, when I spent four months in North and South America and when I went back to Cali and Mexico and they are my most treasured writings! It's such an amazing thing to reflect on and laugh at! I keep them mostly private so they are raw, unedited and amazing. Do it!

For one thing, journaling can help you to understand and process your own thoughts better – and for this reason, different types of journalling practices have frequently been used in the context of psychological therapies.

For another thing, journaling can help you to capture and record subtle details of your everyday life experience that you might otherwise have forgotten about completely as time went on. Years down the line, your old journals can bring everything rushing back in vivid detail, and can serve as the basis of an autobiography, a series of anecdotes and stories to share with your loved ones, and a number of other things.

Thirdly, journaling can help you to notice the fascinating, magical, and often overlooked details that are present in everyday life. Simply by writing a few lines each morning or evening, you can train yourself to be more aware of the adventures that surround you.

Many people keep travel journals specifically in order to capture the events of their trips. Keeping your own travel journal can certainly be an excellent way of helping to aid the process of self-transformation and development.

3. Note down any inspiration that comes to you, and think of the future direction you want your life to take

It’s often difficult to come up with ways to change the situations in your everyday life, or to identify how to overcome a particular problem, when you are caught in the midst of things. Magic happens when you travel! There is something in the novelty of the situation that causes all kinds of amazing synchronicity to hap[en and inspiration to come and epiphanies to happen! Capture them!

When you’re travelling, however, you will typically have a lot more mental freedom, and an increased ability to see things from different angles. This is largely because you are away from home, physically speaking, and this naturally allows you to view things from more of an outsider perspective.

It’s for this reason that many people find inspiration to change some aspect of their life, while away on vacation.

To aid in a process of self-transformation, be on the lookout for these precious moments of inspiration when you are travelling. Note them down whenever they come to you – either through a voice memo stored on your phone, a note in a journal, or anything else that works for you.

Just be sure that you think about the direction you want things to take when you get back home, and that you take steps to capitalise on that inspiration.

4. Read some great novels as you travel

Some people find reading fiction to be a bit of a waste of time, since you don’t necessarily gain anything “practical” from reading a good novel, at least in a conventional sense.

There is actually a lot of evidence, though, that people who read fiction experience startling development in different regions of the brain and an increased level of insight in certain key areas.

As human beings, our lives are made up of a number of stories laced together. Reading good stories and fiction can provide inspiration, insight, and energy. And you’ll likely have plenty of time to read while on the road. If you're interested in meditation I can highly recommend The Surrender Experiment by Micheal. A. Singer! ( I read it during my three months in San Sebastian and it's a life changer!)

Comment below if you have been inspired or you would like any further travel tips from me and I will be more than happy to help! 

Lots of love,

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