Yet, when we think of travel, our focus will likely be on all of the fun we plan to have. We may not consider, however, what a great opportunity we'll have for personal growth, too. For when we venture outside of our predictable routines, our comfort zones, we are invited to learn and grow ourselves. Situation upon situation, we'll be reminded of our likes and dislikes, what pushes our buttons, and what brings us joy. And as an old adage claims, "Change is inevitable, growth is optional." So this year when you find yourself traveling to wonderful new places consider chronicling your inner travel, as well. You can begin by keeping a travel journal. Here are a few tips to get started.
2. Explore the best time of day for you to record the details of your wanderings. First thing in the morning, reflecting on the previous day's events? Or at night, when the day is done? Perhaps, like me, you might like to make little notes to yourself all along the way.
When my husband and I drove from Michigan to Florida a while long ago, I kept my spiral notebook in the front seat with me. I jotted down everything from funny billboard sayings to remembrances of stunning scenery. Making brief notations in the moment is helpful. You can go back and add colorful details later. Despite my best intentions of writing in the morning or at night (too busy in the morning; too tired at night), I found I was more of write-it-down-before-I-forget-it sort of gal. Each of us must find our own rhythm.
3. Tune your senses up to high and write with childlike wonder. Really see, listen, touch, smell all that surrounds you. You may have never seen these sites before and you may never see them again. Take time to fully experience and describe the sensations you're experiencing.
4. Notice how you feel, name that feeling, and jot it down. At least you've recorded it and you can expand upon it later. Here are a few of my noticings from memorable trips:
Canyon de Chelley, AZ: "Very emotional, teary, as if deeply held by Mother Earth herself. This canyon feels like a safe womb, and I do not want to leave."
The Gulf of Mexico, Florida, "Relief! Breathing space. I can see forever. I feel home."
SRF Meditation Gardens, Encinitas, CA. "I have never seen such stunning natural beauty crafted by man' s hands before. I feel like I am walking through the Garden of Eden itself. True peace is here for me."
5. If you find yourself reluctant to write, or are moving from one place to another very quickly, buy a duplicate postcard picturing each place you visit. Send one to a friend and keep one for yourself, briefly writing on the back what you did there and what your impressions were.
6. Allow yourself to creatively play within the pages of your travel journal. Add drawings, if you like, or paste in photos. Use paints or markers, glue and scissors, if you're inclined to turn your efforts into a real scrapbook. Let go of any "shoulds" and simply have fun with yourself.
7. Take real reflection time now and then to think back on what you've just experienced. Note how it impacted you. Don't edit or critique your entries, just write from your heart and record what comes up in the moment. Ponder how different you now feel from when your journey first began. What are you learning about yourself? How have you grown from having been here?
Most of all, enjoy your journey of inner travel. Get to know yourself all over again in the shadow of majestic mountains. Gaze upon the real you reflected in a crystal clear lake. Reconnect with your truest self wherever you are. Your travel journal will serve as a keepsake of this memorable journey home to yourself.
(Originally published in Women's OutLook Magazine)
Looking for an opportunity for real travel as well as inner travel?
I've just posted my new retreat schedule. Michigan is a beautiful place to visit, especially in the fall.
Join me for a day retreat or a full weekend of rejuvenation.