To travel alone, unimpeded by another, is a magical gift. It’s a way to fully immerse ourselves in a culture so different, so far removed from our daily comfort level that we’ve grown so accustomed.
As children, we are filled with wild ideas, hopes, and dreams and endless possibilities. Year by year, the society in which we live, slowly extinguishes the fire within by molding us into what it believes we should be. Like faithful soldiers, we conform. Guilt consumes us for being “selfish” enough to consider our passions obtainable and little by little, we hush our hearts, ignoring the voices that slowly turn to whispers, before becoming silent. All hope is lost. We will never pursue our destiny.
Only when we explore life beyond our comfort zone are we able to open our hearts and minds to the endless possibilities awaiting us. A heightened level of spirituality can only be reached when we blindly step into the darkness with our hearts wide open. It is only then we can strip away the layers and layers of sediment that has through time, hardened our hearts. We have no choice but to rely on our remaining senses. The weight of prejudice and judgment and expectation is far removed.
To immerse ourselves in a different culture, foreign and unfamiliar without the capability to communicate in spoken words, is to have achieved an even greater level of spirituality. Senses, such as sight, sound, smell and taste are heightened to levels beyond our imagination. To be unchained with the burden of spoken language in a land so unfamiliar, with a culture unknown, is to have walked into the shadows exposed and vulnerable with our hearts open and waiting to be filled with grace.
Often in our lifetimes, we reach this place, if only for a moment. Frightened with the unfamiliarity of our emotional vulnerability, we slam the door on it, seeking an outside explanation for its appearance. For some, this place may not reemerge for a very long time. And when it does, most will once again dismiss it allowing it’s voice to eventually fade away amongst the mundaness of our day-to-day lives. We will pass the time by filling the emptiness left behind with tasks and obligations while we wait for whatever society has deemed appropriate for us- vacation, retirement, etc, etc.
As our years pass by and we continually lock our passions away, they like any living thing devoid of sunlight and air and room for growth, will die. Our expectations for happiness end up lowered and we will learn to rejoice small, barely noticeable events. We will come to believe this is all there is to hope for. Maybe, It is all we deserve. By then, our dreams seem silly and unrealistic and we won’t dare to mention them to others for fear of their rejection. We will end up simply giving up on our selfish, unobtainable dreams and die, long before our bodies.
We are all afraid. As we mature, we fear even more. Unless we force ourselves out of our comfort zone, the space becomes smaller and smaller with time. So much so, that we believe we may suffocate. Pushing ourselves beyond our comfort level and surviving to see the other side is a driving force that can keep us alive. When we are able to do this, we see beauty in everything. We appreciate many things previously overlooked.
Traveling alone offers so many adventures beyond imagination. Maybe it’s time for all of us to take a moment or a month, reevaluate our lives and stop blaming our circumstances for who we’ve become. Maybe it’s time to set aside some time to explore what’s out there, without guilt, without excuses, without procrastinating any longer.
Maybe it’s time to open our hearts, take a step into the darkness and see what awaits us.