Travel is popular, fun and is something a lot of people want to do more of. But what are we getting out of travel? If we’re just using it to escape and recover from our daily grind then perhaps were missing something.
Travel costs time and money and if we’re not careful can be environmentally damaging. So every trip needs to pay it’s way and help us do more than party ourselves into oblivion. A lot of people brag about where they’ve been. They might not do this loudly, just the odd destination quietly dropped in conversation or the long line of travel books on the shelf. So what if you’ve seen the seven wonders of the world if you’ve come back with the same neuroses and bad habits? What we would really like is for travel to help us on our personal journeys, that the real travel helps the metaphorical finding our way along the path.
I believe that there are ways that travel can do this:
- It allows us to step out of the routine. The commute, day job, housework and usual duties are all suspended. Sure, some of them will be replaced for example if you’re self catering but they’ll be different. You won’t be able to cut the grass or redecorate the spare room when you’re on holiday. This creates some mental space if you can stop thinking about these things.
- There will be different things to experience and stimulate us. These don’t have to be exotic like seeing wilder beast on safari but they do have to be different. Examples could be watching some people playing chess in a bar or trying to figure out how the tickets on the metro system work in a new city. These things will prompt thoughts and ideas if we let them and if we haven’t filled up our mental space with noise and incessant activity.
- Inevitably there will be some time to stop on your trip. This may be the result of waiting for a plane or a train or because you’ve wisely planned to have a bit of time to watch the world go by and reflect. During this time you can sift through the new experiences and ideas, compare them against your routine existence and see what conclusions you can draw.
It may be the sum total of this is that you realize that you are the same angst ridden neurotic wherever you are or it may be something simple like if there are people in Brussels who can find time during the week for a game of chess then you will as well.
It will be difficult to predict what any trip will do. It will depend on how quickly you can settle the mind down from the chatter and noise of daily routine and open it up to the fresh experiences. It will also depend on what you come across. For this reason it’s always a good idea to get off the beaten trail where all you are going to see is the stuff pictured in the guide book and a lot of tourists.
Lastly, the unconscious mind will be processing these experiences and who knows when or what will surface and what will create some mysterious spark of inspiration. Just take whatever it is and use it creatively to take action.
Where have you been on inspirational journeys and what came from them?
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