Then & Now: Empowerment Through Travel
"Sometimes I wonder if I'll ever experience something amazing or cool like travel to another country, but the depressing part is I'll probably never do something like that."
I came across this excerpt from a journal entry I made in 2003. Most of my life I have had images of grandeur in the form of foreign lands, planting my feet on soil I had never stood on before, and discovering the world beyond Bellevue, Washington. But it was a fleeting idea, so much inquisitiveness with so little hope, I believed more in its unlikelihood than in its very real possibility.
I feel an honest sadness from it. It surprised me that at such a young age I deemed something so important impossible. Now at 26, I've had the greatest fortune to travel overseas, and I see travel as an essential part of my life. There is no doubt that I will travel again. I may not have all the details figured out, but I am confident there will be a next trip. It is a joy too great to let slip by.
That entry is what inspired this post. I felt it important to talk about the empowerment of travel, how from the very seed of an idea in Seattle to the first step into the campus dorms along London's Holloway Road, I learned so much about myself. The decision to go, the steps I took to make it happen, launched my wistful dream of travel into a tangible passionate pursuit every year.
I can trace the more distinct memories of doubt to my later teen years, the desire was certainly there, but the road blocks seemed too great to overcome. There isn't enough money. It's dangerous for a young woman to travel alone. I don't have the time. I'm too shy. How could I navigate through another country? Am I resourceful enough?
I thought about these limitations and fears constantly, the greatest thieves of joy. I just couldn't see past them, but stirring beneath the barrier, seeping through the cracks, was an inextinguishable longing to see the world that I am so grateful for. So grateful for its intensity because it pulled me out of my insecurity long enough to take a leap of faith. I took the first step and applied for a 5-week study abroad trip in London, even though I wasn't sure I could do it, even though I hovered the edge of opportunity, certain I would fail.
But I didn't.
I have learned that once I took that first step, I could take another, the small steps growing into bigger ones, to the point that my passion outweighed my doubt and fear. Travel has given me confidence; pushing me out of my comfort zone, giving me the tools of self reliance, and adventure.
Sure I made mistakes over the last few years' adventures. Forgot train tickets, lost my phone, neglected to notice atm fees until after my trip, and just in general, lost my whereabouts. But I've not failed, I've grown and succeeded.
My perspective has matured and my appreciation has grown for the fact that I have been able to see other parts of the world and, strangely more powerful, that I believe fervently I will see even more of the world, without question.
I live to travel through faith and intention. Faith in myself amidst the doubt, in face of the fear, despite all the obstacles. And then intention. It is not enough to long and believe, for every trip I take mindful steps toward that dream. I choose to minimize eating out, put in a few extra hours at the studio, be transparent about the importance of travel to my boss, book that flight, and go. Go despite those doubtful voices in my head and occaisionally from those around me.
Travel is empowerment to the soul. It is your life to live and it is worthy of adventure. Go out there and find what empowers you.