To say that sadness gives too much weight. But happiness is too lively and concrete. I do not feel happy when I enter my tenth year on the way. At least not to travel, in particular. It's more like a lot of uncertainty. My life is pregnant with a pause. I am waiting for the Spanish embassy, and if I approve the visa application, I will move to Spain. If not, I'll go somewhere else. In any case, it's time to get an apartment. I will still travel, but at a different pace. I will have a home base from which you can explore. A place where you can hang pictures and a place where you can welcome friends. Feel right to change the direction of this trip that I diverted in 2008. I have achieved much more than the goals I dreamed about when I started traveling.
I look back at what I chose when I dressed her all over the world, she kissed her friends and family, and she was crying on the way to the airport – I was on the edge of something great. Facing the uncertainty of my year on the road, I was filled with exciting fear. No matter what the price, I wanted my travel experience. Absolutely. So I left; I am adventurous.
And years passed. Nine, exactly.
After nine years of traveling I changed deeply and fundamentally.
Which was my intention. The change would happen any way, even if I did not travel, because nine years is a long time. But when I first fed the seed of thought to my backpack all over the world, I flirted with a transformative story of how our culture surrounds travel.
It is called our personal transformation – personal perfection even – is the result of well-traveled life.
It's a powerful story, aspirations sold to the media, travel lithuanians. The transformation story is desirable and sexy. The epic adventure catalyses deep internal shifts. Only change itself unlocks the changes; without traveling experience, you do not have access to anything that is promised. What you happen to be is unknown, the whole promise may be incomprehensible. Uncertainty only increases appeal.
The wave of transformation has pulled the lightest and darkest parts of my soul. Transformation promised me the opportunity to become my best version and promised to pick me up from my shameful background. I wanted to do it all, no matter what it takes before it happens.
… in the first days.
As I rose, I hid my friends from my life. Around my high school, I realized my family had problems. Fundamental dysfunction cracked our family walls and split the light, supposed "American Dream" that I assumed we live in early childhood. During my teen years, it was clear that even though it was such a thing that we were poor with dignity, we were not such a family.
At a time when I was desperate to belong to my group, I had a deep shame about my background. I have explained the story about myself, which better corresponded to the outside version "normal" I have seen with everyone else. I was good when I said goodbye; I learned the modified version of my life for a "polite society." Others would want me better, they would have accepted me better if they thought my childhood was also a middle class.
And that worked for the most part. I graduated high school with honors and had a few middle class friends. I was the first of my family to attend the university. Still, my life followed. When I took part in this classical middle-class ceremony – a summer study abroad – I flew home three days to bury my brother, the first of several family members who were taken over by the ongoing opioid crisis. His death equaled me. It flattered the colors of my world. I could not modify this family tragedy from my story.
It was my first truly transformational experience. I did not choose it, but it changed me fundamentally.
Three years later, I would leave a one-way travel ticket all over the world. I would like to choose a transformation on the way for all the light and happy things I wanted to become, for the lessons I would learn and the knowledge I can hold forever in me. And of course I have escaped some things. This statement is true. But it's also true that I was running to the next step of healing, growth. I fled my past to the larger receiving world.
We all are looking for things – acceptance, love, truth. Travel looked like an escape hatch, but no one would come easy or free. And I also liked it. Life shows me at every step that nothing happened.
… to create a space for transformation.
When I left nine years ago, I gave only a little conscious thought, which steps catalyze the transformation. I supposed that this transformation is a byproduct that sets its plan to travel around the world. That does not mean it's true. To some extent, I knew I would return from my trip with a few epiphany if I spent one year at the beach in Tahiti – I would be leathery and relaxed, but a little wiser and unlikely to be transformed. There is no manual that would travel in a way that would guarantee transformation – if there was one, I would read it.
It took many years to come to realize that, due to the connections I have made with new people and cultures, a deep, lasting and meaningful personal transformation has taken place.
Just like many passengers, I have unmarked the items of the classic blade list. I sank the Great Barrier Reef, I stood in Petra and I went Camino de Santiago to France and Spain. This adventure satisfied my desire all over the world and satisfied my desire to see new things and to encourage my curiosity, but it was not the adventure that changed me.
When I look back on the nine-year journey, I see that this life on the way has given me the opportunity to connect with people from every area of life. On the way was the shining wrapping paper around the experiences. Experience such as an interview with native women in rural Mexico, hiking after sunset with Maasai fighters and even occasional interviews yum kai dao with more expats in Chiang Mai. Years of conversation. Opinions I have never seen. Stories I never imagined.
Hundreds of moments of connection during thousands of days of traveling.
It's the only way in my way. Connection is a thread that allows me every experience and memory. Sometimes memories of beautiful views, waterfalls and mountains are combined, but every story, laughter and friendship is a significant mark on my nine-year-olds.
We have a vital need to join. Maybe that's why no one had to teach me that it was my surest path to personal transformation. We are connected; Prosocial behavior is programmed into our brains since birth. But despite these basic needs, the technology has disconnected us from the connection. The more time I spend on social media or joining my online world, the easier it will deepen from this basic truth: we need interpersonal contacts.
If you told me that linking would make a big difference when I left for the trip, I would buy what you sold. That makes sense. And it makes sense that traveling is the ideal way to practice radical connections – traveling friendship is intense and fast. It is quite normal to meet a new friend and spend next week eating three meals a day. It's a glove of new situations and new opportunities to join. Traveling is a bootcamp for life, honing the skills we need, skills that can lie dormant when we have maintained a routine and well-known life.
Over time, however, I found that accepting pairing with the connection significantly increased bets. The thread that connected me allowed me to accept my life. As I teamed up with new friends and during new experiences, I learned to take radicals on your way. Stay on the road long enough and it always comes to accept. Adopting people who surprise us, and accepting the validity of the ideas that challenge us. And also accepting oneself – in some way that passed through the process.
… about what I learned on the way.
As my travels continued after the first year, and when I realized that I would never go back to life I went to LA, my professional and personal focus changed. Instead of sharing my way on this site – I founded Little Adrift, which fills a gap in online information on long-term travel – I have crystallized my focus on sharing stories that have shifted the way others see the world. If the link was the root of my personal transformation by traveling (and it was), then I wanted to create a connection for those who may never travel. I wanted to share stories about human experiences that would remove the distance and indifference between countries, continents and cultures.
Over the years, my goals have continued to shift and my career has changed my way. Although I have continued to work in online marketing for years, I have also started promoting responsible tourism through this site and through my sister site. And while I shared these stories with others, I was also in my groove. I loved traveling and talking to others. I loved finding these small social businesses and interviewing the founders to find out how others are changing their little corner of the world.
The core of responsible travel consists of experiencing and supporting people the way they are. For years, I have entered cultures and communities all over the world to experience and accept them; I have never looked for ways to change them. Instead, I was looking for what I could learn from them. I enforced travelers to take their journey through curiosity and learning, not the mission of change.
I spent years refining the muscles of receiving – I train myself to separate my personal desires and convictions from the people, traditions and cultures I have embarked on. After hundreds of thousands of conversations about joining and accepting, after nearly a decade of talking to others (from college and university students to other travelers to friends and family), I realized that I had healed many injuries from my formative years.
Deeply in my soul, I always gathered in my family and my life. It would be different if we were not poor if we were not thirsty. It would be happy and healthy if my brothers chose education against drugs and crime.
I was deeply embarrassed about my background, and I was unable to accept that I could not change the situation or control it. Even as a teenager, I tried to lift it up to move our circumstances forever so that, as a whole, we were not identified with this income group because we would be lower classes and would be bad white waste. It does not mean that I hated our poverty. I hated being unable to convince us. And one would like to say that I have reached adulthood and realized that I have accepted every person in my family who they are. I did not do it. And when the natives badly touched my four brothers, I doubled. I desperately saved us. I had anger and hurt to go further to insist that we become another family. I asked to break the cycle with the new generation, my nieces and my nephews. Even when I traveled, this unfortunate damage and the need for change brought me to my native Florida city.
But with each passing year, admissions have changed through cracks. She slipped past these long-lasting pains and shame. Heals parts that I never knew needed balm.
Travel has brought me deep joy. He brought me new friends, friends forever, who changed my life for the better. It brought laughter, struggle and interest in my days. But it is a process of union and acceptance that has transformed me into the person I am today.
Travel does not create you. At least not a travel act. Instead, traveling becomes an abbreviation for the journey you are consciously choosing to walk your door. Is your way back from the beach in Tahiti nine years later and significantly more sunbathing? Or, it is a purposeful act that will trigger your personal transformation.
Like most things in life, the choice is not inherently right or wrong, but the results vary greatly.
I traveled with the aim of personal transformation and I succeeded in this queue. After nine years of traveling I changed deeply and fundamentally.
This travel story (A Little Reckoning … about transformation trips and 9 years of journey) first appeared on Travel with little enemies
Blog, thank you for the trip. 🙂