Travel the world, right where you are by Ashmi Ahluwalia
This article was written by one of my friends and fellow traveller. Ashmi is a talented writer, and I hope you enjoy seeing the world through her soul...
Travel the world, right where you are
by Ashmi Ahluwalia
“Why do you go away? So that you can come back. So that you can see the place you came from with new eyes and extra colors. And the people there see you differently, too. Coming back to where you started is not the same as never leaving.” ― Terry Pratchett, A Hat Full of Sky
Travel has that magical power of making us see the old anew. It gives us a certain innocence; which we came into the world with— but which we seem to have lost along the way. Seeing something mesmerizing—a blooming flower, a building of history, a face etched in memories— puts us in a place of presence, where we become young children again. Suddenly, even sitting on the bus has a magical charm, and a change of place and time— allows a rather pleasant change in perspective too.
That pleasant change happens while you are on the move. You are able to just be, and experience life as it was meant to be felt—minus your coloured thoughts, or distractions or even half-heartedly. You are able to stop living in your mind, and inhabit the real and now, rooted and connected to everything around you— people, nature, history and lived cultures, as they unfold in front of you.
In that moment of seeing things differently, you find a solution to something you’ve been worrying about in our everyday life—the job didn’t give you the fulfillment you were seeking, the fight with your childhood friend that was giving you sleepless night, the worry of a parent’s health or a broken relationship you were unable to let go of. Most likely, back from your travels- you find some resolution or make peace with something that was plaguing you subconsciously or consciously earlier.
Travel is a breath of fresh air in our apparently ‘stale’ lives. It refreshes you, calms you, teaches you and most importantly, connects you, not only to the world outside but to something deep inside. And through all of this— it helps you to find you. The only thing you need to carry with you is actually a certain state of mind, marked by alertness and openness. Armed with these two, you are ready literally and metaphorically to take on the world!
And for this reason, places heal and movement gives us a nice lease of life. Getting away from it all works. It’s as simple as that.
I have a simple suggestion though.
Instead of aching for your next getaway, what if we all learnt to embrace our inner nomads? Life would start looking and feeling very different. Within the structure and routine of our lives, if we made even two hours more every week, for experiences, and people, and moments and the things we love doing—
the magic of travel would find us, right where we are.
Imagine how liberating it would be to seek that same newness we long for in our sojourns, in our everyday lives. How powerful it could be— to experience things as they are, be open to the possibility of wonder and be open to how your day might pan out if we learnt to surrender to time— knowing and trusting it will all play out the way it has to.
Your job: only to be an observer and a seeker, only acting or responding when you know it’s the right thing to do. Not in a flash of anger, or irritation, or disgust or conditioned behavior.
Monotony, then, is a mindset. And routine, if embraced, can also allow for some of that magic of serendipity to unfold in our everyday lives. We only need to stop living in our thoughts and our phones from nine am to twelve pm—and stop feeding our inner control freaks, anxiety, worry, fear and anger that make their comfortable nests in our inner worlds.
Instead, get into your office elevator and today, smile. Know it will be an amazing day, and you will get things done. Eat your lunch with a new colleague. Try a different coffee - beyond your usual cappuccino. Try a different route on the way home. And maybe tomorrow, try a different sort of look for work!
Some of you may say this is idealistic. What about when issues happen, and things at work or in our lives get out of control? Can you really be a nomad and a wanderer and smile through it all?
When you’re travelling, you’d treat a bad incident as an adventure, as a story to be told later. Quite similarly, when shit hits the ceiling in real life i.e. the unexpected meeting happens or someone bitches behind your back at work or a personal crisis occurs—watch the drama unfold and treat it like a deviation from the main plot, a story in which you happen to be a character. When you step back and become the observer—you will know—whether to defend yourself, get involved or let it go. Whether in the larger scheme of things, this incident, or a certain person, or a circumstance, even matter at all.
The truth, quite simply is that we can all choose to ‘travel’, wherever we are. Where we are—can be a new journey and a new destination, armed with beautiful experiences, and people, and wonder and awe.
All we need to choose is to be in a state of ‘willing suspension of disbelief’. All we need is open eyes, and the desire to want to see the same things….differently.