Along with exciting new adventures and exotic locales, travel always allows the time and ability for self-reflection. Self-reflection is careful thought about one’s beliefs, character, behavior, and motives. So, what’s so great about it?
Self-reflection is introspection. It’s the spark that ignites one’s essence, which, in turn, creates the unique formula for each individual. Self-reflection is what propels your choice for a sophisticated cruise with day excursions of the anthropological kind versus a rough and ready backpacking trip along the Pacific Coast Trail.
Self-reflection slows you down. It requires you to be present and in the moment. While traveling, we’re often hustling for the photo of the day – that brilliant sunset or colorful bird in mid-flight. And we often hustle right by the very thing we want our lens to capture.
There’s no one way to self-reflect. Journaling or writing in a diary is a popular way. Talking aloud to oneself works for others. Thinking in the shower does the trick, too. First, you must clear some time; second, have a purpose or a question asked. This can be as simple as 10 minutes with morning coffee mulling over whether to accept a new job or not.
Through self-reflection I’ve learned balance by giving myself a day for “me time” when traveling. I am learning to be better at building in a minimum extra day or two on each trip. Are you doing this for yourself? Remember to factor this in when negotiating within your projects. It’s made a big difference for me, and I allowed myself to do this quite a bit this past year.
Self-reflection and travel enable you to appreciate life and loved ones who are kind and generous with you. Your intuition for nonsense is in hyper mode and there’s low tolerance for the trivial. It makes one more selective in what commitments to take on for the following year.
You also learn to purge negative relationships because you realize you don’t have the time nor the desire nor the energy nor room in your busy schedule. I find the gift of time far more valuable than the gift of things. Now, when I return home from a trip, I prioritize spending time with my family.
Travel and self-reflection go hand in hand no matter the destination. A required appearance at a family gathering held in a decaying urban center of the Rust Belt offers the same opportunity for self-reflection as does a trip of a lifetime to a South Seas paradise. Be sure to seize it! In our day-to-day overbooked lives, we need to take advantage of every second afforded us.
After years of extensive traveling does the newness of travel slow you down? We need to ask, “Why do I travel?” Personally, the location has to speak to my soul. This includes a wide variety of places, but, in general, the path of nature always wins my heart.
Do you have a special place for self-reflection? Did you make a major discovery about yourself there? Will you be going back? Please post and share.
Photo by Kurtiss Locker