It is almost four months since I stepped off the plane from New Zealand. I was tired, battered, and so ready to unpack my bags and stay in one place for some time. It has been a busy four months: My best friend got married, I started a new position at my job, I am now a proud owner of a horse, holidays happened, Fall was here and went, and with that I finally have time to look back on that glorious trip I took to New Zealand.
During my trip I surfed for the first time, hitchhiked while being dehydrated, visited a church made entirely out of trees, entered a world of fantasy and feasted on hobbit food, saw the stars underground, relaxed on a beach in a warm pool dug from the ground, pretended to drop the ring in Mount Doom, trekked through golden sands, got caught on top of a mountain during a thunderstorm, rode a noble steed on the beach for three days, experienced water like I have never before, laughed with joy around a fire, survived an icy mountain excursion, made friends of a lifetime, almost got picked up off of my feet by the fierceness of wind, slept in a structure made of the earth, and came home to tell the tale.
It all seems like a fantasy now. As I look through my pictures and read my journal entries, I am starting to realize what important lessons I learned from my travels. I will hold these memories dear to my heart for the rest of my life. And through my reflections I came upon…
3 Reasons to Travel:
1. Traveling is a time of reflection; you forget to think when you are caught up in your daily routine at home. During the moments of wonder and bewilderment while sitting on a cliff viewing the ocean or on top of a mountain, things are slowed down enough to remember. You breathe and remember the feeling of air filling your lungs. You remember to perceive and not just see, viewing the world through the innocent lenses of your child-self. You remember what really matters.
I found myself thinking a lot about my past and how I got to the point I am at today. I thought about what I have done and what I still want to do. I thought about my friends and family, sometimes laughing out loud randomly from a fond memory, but usually my heart ached from their absence. I thought about situations I wanted to forget, where I acted poorly and could have done something different, and what I should have done better. I forgave myself and remembered that these are the moments where you learn the most.
“Absence makes the heart grow fonder”
2. Traveling is a time for inspiration. I am a firm believer that all art is created from other inspirations. Ideas come from the world, but are filtered through you. When you travel you see new things that inspire new ideas. Dreaming is necessary, but it is important to remember to stay in the moment.
“Life is What Happens To You While You’re Busy Making Other Plans” – John Lennon
3. Traveling is a time to find yourself; to step out of your comfort zone, quite literally. Every step towards growth requires suffering. Some parts of our trip to New Zealand had been quite uncomfortable, to the point where a simple bed, a shower, and a warm meal was such a novelty to have. It really gives you a different perspective on things and an appreciation for the simple things in life.
In a book I read during my travels through New Zealand, The Happiest Man in the World, by Alec Wilkinson, he describes the main character, Nuetrino, to “have a seeker’s belief that deprivation can bring about a state of receptivity, an awareness, in which a person obtains access to territory that lies at the outermost boundaries of what we are familiar with, with what we accept as ourselves.” You have to remember to put aside what you accept as yourself and make room for growth.
“Life begins at the end of your comfort zone”-Neale Donald Walsch