Travel is quite obviously beneficial for many people. To enjoy this process is to grasp it with both hands, and to take advantage of all opportunities afforded to you. However, it might be that your usual vacations are starting to feel a little flat. We all know how package vacations are sold to us, with neat schedules and catering options, sterilized resorts, and overcrowded beaches. Is there more to the world than this? Absolutely.
First, you need to think of why you’re traveling. Is it to gain a tan? To see the ocean? To relax and drink a cocktail on the beach? All these options are of course valid, and if that’s what you enjoy doing you should feel no shame in doing so. You’re the one purchasing the experience after all. However, could travel sustain you with more ‘soul food’ than this? Might it be taking a later-life trip to help expand or sooth your spirit could be just what you need?
Different people might be motivated to try this for many different reasons. For some, it might be a matter of getting over a loss by experiencing the world, absorbing it and throwing themselves into it rather than shrinking up in a corner of the home. For others, it might be they have lived many years and have yet to experience the true world around them. Some might find it important to celebrate a milestone birthday. No matter your motivation, it can be absolutely wonderful to begin this process, and enjoy expanding your spirit through travel. It might help you find an incredible sense of comfort and peace to do so.
Consider these tidbits of advice:
Living in different locations can do plenty for your mindset, but so can living in many different areas, or in many different forms of hospitality. It might be you enjoy a Singapore master room for rent for a number of months, and then purchase a canal boat and sail down the English channel slowly over the course of the remaining months of that year. When you live in multiple different environments and with multiple different facilities, you begin to build a clearer picture of how life can be lived, both in humility and in excess. Instead of simply living as part of your income bracket, you can see many different environments, live in many different ways emphasized and enjoyed by members of your host country, and generally have more stories to tell.
This isn’t to say that you should enter slums on vacation for a ‘pure experience,’ but sometimes living in different areas, taking variant hospitality choices and enjoying the process of it all can help you travel more authentically. For example, it might be that you decide to conduct a large walk across part of a religious route celebrated for centuries. Instead of booking into the super corporate international hotel chains, you might choose to rest in a converted bed and breakfast, conversing with the locals and having the owner cook you authentic food you might not find in a perfectly trimmed high-level business.
This can give you a true taste of culture, and your spirit will always feel stimulated with this, rather than opting for the easy, cheaper or more familiar route. Remember, to expand your character you will need to face new things, and there is never any age limit for this. By conducting yourself in this manner you will likely find novelty, interest and a sense of wonder in the every day.
Of course, sometimes the destinations in which you travel to are only an end result while getting there is the most profound journey. It might be that instead of booking flights at the closest airport you decide to take the more scenic route. The scenic route often keeps more versatility and enjoyment, allowing you to experience something interesting on the way there, rather than regarding this time as unnecessary legwork. But what should you choose?
Well, it might be that you book a higher class ticket on the Great Siberian Railway. It might be that you take a boat around the coast to your destination after your connecting flight. It might even be that you stop short in a town, and walk the rest of the way. It could be you purchase a backpacking pass and decide to leisurely make your way to the destination, maybe stopping off in a country here or there as you see fit. You can see how these efforts really expand your sense of adventure and also help you feel free. Sometimes, you need to escape from the highly corporate and efficient nature of a plane, a highly serviced train or an official cruise ship and take the more scenic, slow and natural route. If you usually suffer from travel sickness, this might be an excellent alternative to ease those pains.
It might be that you’re a sucker for history. Even if you’re not, you can be sure to experience wonder by following old pilgrimage routes. Even if you do not complete the whole route, keep in mind that these were often considered meditation roads for those looking to experience wonder in a religion. For example, the most famous of these is the Camino de Santiago, known otherwise as the Way of Saint James, which includes many routes leading to Galicia in Northwestern Spain from the South of France. This route was crafted for its convenience and also its beauty, and has become a very beautiful vacation destination. Heading on a pilgrimage along this route can open your mind and your heart if done with friends or a loved one in relative peace and quiet.
Why should you consider walking part or all of a pilgrimage route? Well, remember that this world is not new. History is chiseled all over the landscapes, and the residual memories, history, and beauty it can tell you is quite something to behold in the modern day. Not only are these routes peaceful, but they offer respect for history, and something amazing to behold. It’s often the case that looking for a purpose or something to experience is much more than heading to a local resort in your country of choice. Experiencing something worthwhile and phenomenal might take time, but it can really help you feel wonderfully connected to the environment you are in, and in general help you craft memories you won’t forget.
Remember also that this can be a wonderful means of slowing down and feeling peaceful, walking a route in bliss and meditating with each step. When it comes to expanding your spirit, sometimes detuning from your normal life and tuning into a journey can help you come back truly changed.
If you have the capacity, it might be that volunteering here or there could help you gain a new lease on life. This isn’t to say you need to enter war-torn environments to try and gain humanitarian contributions to put forth to help a singular community. You might help the preservation of wildlife in one area for two weeks, and then help out teaching children how to surf in another environment.
There are many forms of volunteerism, and sometimes bringing your skills to a new environment can not only help you sharpen those skills but expand your love for that craft in a new environment. Try to find firms and services that offer the activity you are skilled in, and maybe offer your services. This could help you experience something new for a cheap price, and also help you contribute to a new country. Helping people can expand your spirit like nothing else.
Finding Your Roots
It might be that you have some form of cultural origin in your blood and that you have never truly explored its history until the desire now strikes you out of the blue. Why not try to see what you might find? By talking to your older relatives, or by visiting family abroad, or even by checking your ancestry links, you will likely find a wealth of history that affects you personally and helps you understand where you came from.
It might be that you have always lived in one country near your parents while your extended family still resides in the home country. It could be time to return, meet relatives, eat food with them and learn about your family line. Learning the story of your family isn’t only one of the most interesting things you can do, but seeing and experiencing the surroundings they might have lived in can help you understand more about yourself. It’s not hard to see why this can be inspiring, illuminating and make for perhaps the best travel plans you have ever arranged.
There are many methods of expanding your spirit. Travel is just one of them, but it is perhaps one of the most profound, memorable and fun to encounter. If you feel that this could be for you, draw up some plans and be sure to experience an adventure you’ll never forget.