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1. Veronica's Personal thoughts on travel & adventure
"Traveling and Adventure are great for one's spirit, body and soul!"
Soon after I have settled down for a while in any given place, I start to be lead by an incessant and insistent urge to travel, to search for new things, to dive into the great spirit of adventure.
Through the years I have found that too much stability and security can freeze one's ability to see things anew , to question, to wonder and to explore. One becomes too easily accustomed to traditional routines. Very often these routines are devoid of any sense of real choice or inner gratification other than the act of repeatedly doing the same thing over and over again. To me once one reaches that point of comfort it is a sign which is clearly stating that it is time to go! It is a wake up call telling me that it is time to leave and to discover yet another of the so many wonderful corners of this universe.
Every time I announce a new trip to my parents or friends, they just can not get it! 'What do you mean,' my dad would ask, 'Didn't you do all your traveling when you went to Europe? Aren't you over with all the traveling for the rest of you life?' People always ask in disbelief and confused as to why I would once more take off on a new traveling adventure.
After hearing that same response to my announcement time after time, I realized that I would never reach that point when I might be able to claim to have experienced enough traveling and adventure. I think that in my case I am addictive to this traveling drug and it will just always take over my attempts to lead a more standard and traditional life.
I feel we all achieve something in life. For some it is a job, a promotion, a raise in their salary, a trip or something else they want to get or do. And when one finally achieves it and has it in one's hands, the sense of euphoria and success is unexplainable. One is overwhelmed with a feeling of fullness, of plenty, of never needing anything else. However, fortunately, life never works quite that way. We are all part of an endless ascending spiral. And once we have had something for a while we start little by little to get used to our new situation. So we grow accustomed to feel as normal everyday reality that which once was our true dream and which after a while has turned into another natural and obvious situation. At that moment our hearts gradually start craving a new goal, a new trip or yet another raise, another house, something else. So we look up and start imagining our lives with that new thing we crave. We can easily imagine ourselves having that which we crave although we do not have it quite yet. Somehow we can start to taste it ahead of time. We like so much its taste that we have to push out of our comfort state of reality to take action, reach out and set out to get it! There is no other way out. We either answer the call for more adventure or else we are bound to encounter endless frustration. Fro em there is only one way to go once I get that call for talking another plunge. Very often when a new idea lands in the fertile land of our desires and seeds a new dream we tend to resist it and fight it. After a while we realize that in order to feel once more that ecstacy, that initial sense of overwhelming victory, we have to pursue yet another goal and jump yet another obstacle.
In my case this uneasiness comes up after I have been living for a while without traveling. It is impossible to describe how uneasy my heart can get after being in one same place for a while. There is an eager urge to move on, to keep discovering and peeling off new layers of reality and of everyday life as I challenge myself to travel through different countries and cultures. Traveling and moving along new territories, forces my body to step in a different place than usual, it forces my perspective to change and my views on reality and society to be observed from a different perspective. In this way I learn to look through the magical eyes of being able to see ordinary everyday occurrences anew!
Traveling is a magic experience that highlights what prevails and everything which is essential outside of the self-imposed and chosen routines of our lives. When one voluntarily chooses to step out of these routines, something divine happens, and the irresponsible act of not doing what we are expected to do, brings us closer to that which we are divinely supposed to be doing. All our old patterns get altered and nature shows the body and the mind their way back to the TRUTH, the path of love, of surviving out of breathing and of living out of loving everything that comes and goes our way. In this way, nature gradually teaches us the art of giving and receiving and of going with the flow. Alternating peace, silence, torment and joy. There are no rules yet everything responds to an intrinsic law. The law of living, the law of gravity, the law of balance, the law of survival, the Divine Law. As one changes one's surroundings, the inside questions each reaction and every thought follows a question that needs to be answered, a quest that needs to be pursued, a series of whys that need to be responded to. Voices that hide silences and silences that are eager to speak wisdom to our ears. All this and more opens up as we travel freely through new lands with an open sense of adventure. This is so because when we are traveling we can never predict what will happen. We might be waiting for a bus that might never show up, or might face rain and thunder when we were expecting sunny and blue skies. All these unpredictable occurrences of everyday life get highlighted as we travel. Such constant flux of uncontrollable occurrences teaches us that life is what happens to us while we are trying to follow our well planned traveling maps.
There are many reasons why traveling has always tempted my soul. The fact for one that whenever one is in the same place for a while eventually it gets too familiar for its own good. This familiarity can at times prevent us from seeing objectively things which should be bothering us. However, we can not do much in order to change our reality if we can't see any underlying problems. When we discover ourselves traveling through life without that ongoing expectancy of endless miracles crossing our path, to me is the ripe moment to go traveling. I believe that by placing ourselves in different societies and realities we are suddenly forced to perceive our own world differently. This helps us become more critical of our own reality back home and it incentives us to make changes for the better that otherwise we would never consider carrying out. This does not apply just to one aspect of our place of living but to ever single facet of our lives: family, friends, the way we choose to spend our free time, the things we do when we are bored, the jobs we do and all those things that make up our daily existances.
When travelling we develop more of a sharpened wondering eye, which observes more carefully and from a more objective point of view. In this way, we can see things we normally fail to realize. It is incredible how when traveling we get to perceive our existence as a work of art. While traveling, one can be creative in everything one does, even in the itenariry we choose to follow, the way we travel, , the places we select to visit and the spots we choose to stop by. Even the spot we select to sit and watch the scenery and all the things which we decide or not to see or visit, the museums we walk, the things that captivate our attention, the other things we somehow overlook and those which catch our undivided attention . Even the means by which we decide to travel, the people we observe and those other ones we ignore, the conversations we hold and those we miss, the food we eat, how much money we spend, what we choose to buy and what is not worth a single pennie for us all teaches us something about our inner selves.
If we really started analyzing it, the way we travel, the way we build our traveling experiences is totally unique and it exclusively reflects our personality and identity. From this point of view we can say that traveling can be considered an art in itself. This is because you make it happen with your own unique footprints in your own subjective way. This is why the experience itself is different for every traveller. This is my main reason for writing my traveling stories. It is not becuase I have something to teach but because I have an eagerness to share what I create and feel while traveling as an expression of a form of art. In so doing, it is possible that others who might have traveled the same roads will see through my story new things which they might not have realized. Eventually as we share our traveling experiences we all get a chance to learn and see things which we were unaware of while traveling an exact same road.
This reinforces my belief that the pictures we take, the shots we miss and those we wait hours to take as well as every step we take becomes a manifestation of our innermost nature and a revelation of our own individual priorities. The way we draw a map, the fact that we might not even use one, the time we go to bed and wake up and where we choose to sleep (either in a luxurious hotel or in a tent) all of this, transforms a simple traveling experience into the most unique work of art. When traveling can be seen as art, it becomes by necessity precious in itself for it contains and reveals so much of our true identity. If we were at all conscious of this fact we would probably be more self-conscious of this public self-disclosure! Fortunately or unfortunately we do not perceive it this way! We are taught that art is only seen in a beautiful painting and only if it is sitting in a Gallery or museum. Yet we fail to see many other things which surround us as art. Very often we just do not appreciate art in its most natural and purest form. We overlook the fact that we are all painters of our own lives. We move through our lives mostly unaware of our holding a brush and painting the canvas of our lives through every decision we make and through every step we take. But whether we realize it or not, we all choose the colors we are going to use in each paintbrush we take. In this sense, each of our lives could be exhibited in a Museum next to a Picasso or a Van Gogh.
The above is one of the insights that traveling brings out for me. It exposes the art of my own life and those of other people I meet and see. In this way, everything becomes part of our never ending learning process in our journey towards embracing our humanness and divinity. From this perspective, everything lived and experienced counts as one more brush in the picture of our lives. Therefore, everything can be regarded as something positive and worth living. Everything we do not like we can cover up with another color and reshape it with the will of our brush. We can always turn our picture into a brighter piece of art. There is always time for improvement; we can forever add some light, paint some happy scenes or cover a tear with a smile. In this way, by putting the necessary time and effort we can learn to know ourselves and our cycles. We can recognize our moods on those days when we paint wonderful things from those when it seems that our painting is not getting anywhere at all and we literally feel like quitting. At that moment we might realize that as we ascend in our journey and set out for adventure we sometimes do not have much of a choices in certain things that happen to us. This realization does not come easy. W have to start by gradually peeling off the many layers of paint to reach the essence of who we are in order see ourselves again as a wide open canvas. All the colors we see that we have placed through the years can fool us to believe that the picture in front of us is our reality. But the fact is that our reality is an empty canvas the same as it was when we started our painting. As we learn our painting lesson we start to recognize the various tricks of the mind, how our reactions, urges and impulses determine our painting each day. In order to become true traveler artists we must learn to express to express ourselves through the path of our hearts. By observing ourselves closely we gradually start perceiving things, predicting behaviors, reactions and attitudes. In this way, we can hopefully face ourselves naked as we are, we can lower our expectations of our reality and in that way, we can get rid of any disappointment.
If we expect nothing out of everything we encounter in our journeys, then there is room for everything to happen. We do not need to limit our potential to that which should be or happen. Part of my first reason for traveling was to prove to myself that I could be happy and maintain my peace of mind anywhere under any circumstances. So by changing my present external surroundings and keeping myself balanced and controlled I could know that I had reached a state of happiness that did not depend on external factors. Through my traveling and by observing the way most people live and the way we all somehow seem to rush through life without much thinking, I came to see that somehow along the years I had grown to have different priorities than many of the people I encountered. I have chosen to live life more simply than most of people. You may have a Corvette or a big house but it is important to know that those things are not you and you do not really need it. The only thing you really need cannot be bought or robbed or given, you have to find it within yourself. I challenged myself to feel happy or at least at peace anywhere during my days of traveling and I felt that I did a good job. Fro example while traveling in MN, I was able to cope with the most awful cold and freezing weather. Managing to keep at peace through my various traveling experiences has granted me a feeling of eternal freedom.
The freedom derived from traveling did not come easy. It took many years of deep searching, of questioning and of strict discipline. We need discipline to achieve anything. To get to the most out of ourselves and to squeeze all our unlimited potential, takes lots of work. When we stuff ourselves with noise, food and all sorts of unhealthy activities there is no room left for our potential to develop, we cannot feel or listen to what is hidden inside because we get deafened by all that external nonsense. We need peace for the spirit dwelling in our hearts to guide us. We must keep a strict order and we must willingly discipline ourselves in all aspects. In this way we can control everything that we allow to enter our body. If we perceive our body as a temple we will not allow things which might be detrimental to it. We will control the kind of information we receive, the food we eat, the activities we perform and everything that contributes to the well-being of our minds, bodies and souls. In this way, we can gradually get rid of anything that might contaminate us in any sense. This, if done properly by listening to the instinct from inside, should not be a form of sacrifice but a volunteer willing urge springing from the soul. Then traveling through life becomes a source of ecstacy for all those simple at heart. We have to be critical of the thoughts our brain produces and make a very cautious evaluation as to why we think what we think. We need to screen our thought to know if they are really doing us any good. We have to do some cleaning like if we were about to plant a rose in fresh fertile soil. According to the seeds we plant and grow shall be the harvest we will gather. We alone can turn our lives into a paradise or a weed field. The choice is ours all the time, every single day!
The beauty of traveling is that we can tint our lives with a magic brush of adventure at every turn of our ascending journey. So whether traveling through far lands or around one's most familiar environment be always alert to encounter miracles across your path!
The life of a traveler is one of never-ending change full of roads opening and closing in all directions. Do not worry too much about which road is the best to take. They are all equally wonderful and promising. And remember, your destination is not only where you are heading but the actual everyday process of your journey.
Love and peace,
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