The Importance of Elsewhere

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One of the most important appetites my now departed mother transferred to me was that of travel. Being of Chinese origin, she always placed the highest value on education - and unbeknownst to me at the time – our annual trips became global courses in history, culture, art, humanity and compassion. Throughout various times of my life, travel became my insurance policy for ‘perspective’ – if my thinking started to contract or my world became more predictable, there was a good chance I hadn't indulged for an extended time. Conversely, periodic releasing of the familiar tethers I sometimes (unknowingly) created for myself – allowed my mind/soul to soar freely and in a state of possibility.
British-born travel writer Pico Iyer says it most eloquently in my favorite highlights in his essay, Why We Travel: “We travel, initially, to lose ourselves; and we travel, next, to find ourselves. We travel to open our hearts and eyes and learn more about the world than our newspapers will accommodate. We travel to bring what little we can, in our ignorance and knowledge, to those parts of the globe whose riches are differently dispersed.

Travel in that sense guides us toward a better balance of wisdom and compassion — of seeing the world clearly, and yet feeling it truly. For seeing without feeling can obviously be uncaring; while feeling without seeing can be blind.

The first great joy of traveling is simply the luxury of leaving all my beliefs and certainties at home, and seeing everything I thought I knew in a different light, and from a crooked angle.

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The sovereign freedom of traveling comes from the fact that it whirls you around and turns you upside down, and stands everything you took for granted on its head.

And we travel, in essence, to become young fools again – to slow time down and be taken in, and fall in love once more.”

Philosopher and literary critic George Santayana, once wrote,“There is wisdom in turning as often as possible from the familiar to the unfamiliar; it keeps the mind nimble; it kills prejudice, and it fosters humor.”

Travel writer Tom Cole, shares his value of travel, “First, we figure that if we’re going to spend money, we might as well enrich ourselves. And there’s hardly a better path to enrichment than on the road. Second, we believe strongly that travel offers a magnificent return on investment. Third, travel is a nearly matchless way to bond with family and friends old and new. And fourth: travel, rain or shine, is the highest form of re-creation. As soon as you lock the door and get in the car to drive to the airport, you are who you want to be.”

Some of the most important ideas and relationships in my life happened while traveling. I met my Albanian husband on a trip to Europe. I have life-long friends I’ve made in India and Dubai. Some of the most important ideas for my business or my life were the results of being able to ‘shift’ my thinking and be inspired in a different way. Each year, Root Whole Body hosts a health and wellness travel adventure to remind us of the importance of ‘elsewhere’ – and in late October 2014, we’re heading to Thailand. Perhaps this year you’ll join us – lose yourself in this exotic country – and in the process, find yourself all over again.

This post is featured in The Ammonista Report - Winter 2014: quarterly inspiration to help people and companies create brands of significance. Subscribe Here.

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