It doesn’t matter where our body is on this planet: we bring ourselves wherever it is that we stand. Most exotic, most mundane, doesn’t really matter. If you are at war within, you feel/see/experience this war in small and big ways wherever you are. If there is internal discord, discord ripples out anywhere. If you find a way to access a moment of peace, that peace travels with you, wherever you are.
I’ve been engaged in traveling since the moment I graduated from high school. I picked up and moved from Boulder, Colorado, to Paris, and have been out in the world in some form of travel ever since. What I have discovered is, on the surface at least, a lot of information: how to pack, what airlines to avoid, where to change my money, what to do when everything gets cancelled and you end up living at the airport for days on end, what book(s) to always have nearby. I’ve also discovered a lot that’s more subtle than these important, pragmatic concerns. I’ve learned a lot about what the world looks like for the privileged and for the under-privileged, how one’s perspective can change on suffering, how much smaller/vaster the world is than one ever imagined, how the more I see the less I know, what modes of practice help me stay grounded amidst the chaos of–well, India, Egypt on the west bank of the Nile, Guatemala, Bali, Cleveland.
When I was in my mid-twenties, I took a hiatus from the film industry and headed out around the world. My plan was to end this time in New Zealand to meet up with my then fiancé where he lived. What unfolded instead was the great undoing of my entire way of moving through my life as I spent a year and half out in the world, never to settle in New Zealand and never to settle anywhere else.
When I returned, there were a whole lot of questions coming at me: What did you learn? What changed? My answers didn’t seem all that helpful: Nothing. Everything.
The real answer was this: I went around the world only to return to me. Maybe a me that was more me than before, but not because I “did this volcano” or “did that mountain” or …. But because I undid everything I had ever known. Traveling undid me and I have been traveling ever since.
So I travel. I will always travel as long as I am able and I hope to always remain a student of my own internal world, as well as of this outrageously beautiful and vast planet we live on. I travel so that I may be as clear a vessel to experience the world as it is and not just through my limited view. Because when this vessel is clear, the world unfolds in front of me and I can see it, really see it, not only as I want it to be but as it is.
“Nobody can discover the world for somebody else. Only when we discover it for ourselves does it become common ground and a common bond and we cease to be alone.”
― Wendell Berry