The greatest journey we make is the one that brings us back to where we started.
So I wrote a post for the Virgin Australia Voyager travel competition for Problogger, and THE Richard Branson may have followed me on Twitter as a result. I don’t really do Twitter properly, but hey, Richard Branson. Followed. ME! Yes Sir!
And then I wrote a post (as of course you would do) about the total shock and sheer delight of RB actually following me. Here’s the social proof again, just in case you didn’t see it!
And then you guys who commented pretty much all said: ‘Tweet him back’.
So I’ve been trying to craft something intelligent and soulful to tweet him – 140 characters or less. But it’s Sir Richard Branson, and I’ve got to write it right. Right!
On the off-chance that he did actually read my blog post offering tips for travelling the soul journey, then the least I can do is follow with a post about the adventures of discovering the soul – after all RB is pretty much the most adventurous, entrepreneurial philanthropist around. (It seems like he’s mostly a philanthropist these days – the adventures are still fun, the business stimulating, the publicity stunts a constant, but the heart and soul are where he’s at).
I’m not so adventurous. While I like to shoot for the stars, I try to keep my feet on the ground – that whole yin-yang idea of growing through grounding (although flying is great RB)! And I’m cracking my heart open, mostly through yoga. Travel helps.
So how do you take travel, beyond the sheer pleasure of it, into the realm of an adventure for the soul – how do you make travel about the making of you?
All who travel do not adventure
Travel can just be an escape, albeit a nice one to exotic locales and scenic places, but still a running away from life, from self.
Or travel can be an adventure, not necessarily gruelling or dangerous, but one that takes you out of your comfort zone, offers new perspective, brings you back to self.
Our honeymoon, 20 years ago, was the usual newlywed escape – for fun and lots of sex, and away from normal life when you’re not busy being a bride. We went to Vanuatu and New Calendonia, and it was my first trip overseas (at the ripe age of 26), so it was kind of an adventure, a rite of passage into a new married life.
In between we ‘did Europe’ – not within the comfort zone of a tour trip but on our own, no accommodation booked other than the first few nights, allowing ourselves to get lost along the way. We drove from the French Alsace region over the Rhine into Germany before taking a wrong turn and finding ourselves back in France 20 minutes later. We spent 20 minutes in Switzerland too, just for the fun of it. We drove right past historic castles (probably) but found majestic eagles perched atop a craggy mountain and discovered Hitler’s Eagle’s Nest in the Austria Alps. We white-knuckle drove into Rome to drop our hire car back and I may have left fingernail imprints on the dash.
Make your adventure about something bigger
So travel can, and perhaps should, be about the lessons you can learn, the people you meet, the details you appreciate – the realization that we are all the same. Well that’s what I’ve found in Japan, China, the US, Canada, Europe, the Pacific…..
And adventures can be about more than climbing Mt Kilimanjaro (think of the Tanzanian kids you could help educate, every step of the way). I marvel at some of the gruelling challenges that adventurous souls undertake in the name of causes close to their hearts. (For charity adventures you could try World Expeditions’s Humancharity Challenges or World Visions’ Charity experiences and challenges – and there are others).
From kitesurfing across the English Channel to traversing the Atlantic Ocean by hot air balloon and trying (and failing, which is just as important) to circumnavigate the globe in a balloon, RB has certainly had some adventures. I’m sure he’s learned lessons from them, and made a difference.
But all adventures don’t have to be big, for the gestures behind them to be grand. The lovely Sarah Rosberg of Rafiki Mwema travelled to Africa for a volunteer trip that changed how she saw the world, before a horrific car accident when she returned changed her life. The charity work she now coordinates helps house and support young Kenyan girls who have been victims of terrible sexual abuse. We are pleased to sponsor the program ( I know I’ve spruiked before, but it is so worthwhile).
This week one of my favourite Aussie bloggers Caz Makepeace was made a World Vision Ambassador – she’ll be a great advocate, joining other bloggers who use their influence over large communities to make a difference. I have a ‘bucket list’ dream of one day being able to contribute in such a way.
In truth we can make our adventures for the soul count whether we travel or stay close to home – from volunteer trips abroad to random acts of kindness to friends or strangers. We can have the courage to do what we love and so serve others – whether it be painting a beautiful tree that reminds someone else of what it is like to grow; writing something that takes another person out of their comfort zone; or preparing a meal that transports someone special back to the sights and smells of a Middle Eastern bazaar so they remember how amazing adventure is.
If you haven’t seen The Shift docudrama by Dr Wayne Dyer you really should. I’ve watched it twice this week in the wake of Dr Dyer’s death (it’s free to watch on-line for the next few days). You’ll understand what he says about the biggest adventure of all – coming back to where you started – to your true self, to your divine purpose, to doing what you truly love that serves others. All other travel, even when flying Virgin, is just a nice distraction along the journey.
What travel adventures have you had? Have you undertaken a charity journey or adventure?