I recently prepared a TEDex style talk on travel as a portal for change. I’m still waiting to deliver it, as I’m sure you’ve guessed the conference was postponed and due to go virtual.
In it I say,
travel is the place that feels absent of fear and where I feel most alive.
Without it I feel like I’m trying to suck water from a straw with holes in it.
And now, here we are, in territory none of us foresaw or ever walked upon sharing the same damaged straw.
Travel around the world has pretty much stopped, millions of people have been affected, and economies soon to be hurting badly.
The message I’m receiving is to not talk about travel, yet.
I get it. Our minds are consumed with what is currently happening – fears for our health, fears for our loved ones, fears for our livelihood and the economy, fears for our future.
But, what happens if that fear and uncertainty is ALL you consume?
You become even more fearful. You get angrier, and more bitter. You look to throw blame onto others and your sense of self, health, and community becomes disconnected.
Humans need hope.
We need joy. We need pockets of escape to dream and remember the beauty of life – in our past and futures.
I don’t think it’s healthy to stop talking about things that bring us joy!
No, we can’t control the current crisis, but we can control how we react and feel by tapping back into what we love and preparing ourselves for when life does slowly return to normal.
Without hope, purpose and something to work towards, we have nothing.
I’ve been pretty much full-time traveling for 22 years. It’s been a life that is constantly changing and full of unknowns and I have become a master of adapting. Of being able to move through life with uncertainty – yet not feel anxious or afraid.
Through travel, I’ve learned exactly who I am and who I want to be.
I’ve learned how to be compassionate, tolerant, and kind. I’ve learned my strengths and my weaknesses. I’ve learned what I don’t like about myself and how I can change it.
Travel has been my greatest teacher – of myself, of others, and just how perfect nature is.
It’s helped me become a voice to stand up for these truths.
It’s enabled me to grow in ways I’ve never could imagine.
It’s allowed me to create a business I love that enables me to share my passion every day. Not just share my joys around it but help others tap into their joy with it and their potential to also have travel positively impact them.
It’s been my strength. My joy. My adventure, My discovery. My purpose.. My friend.
It’s helped me fall in love with people and form wonderful friendships all over the world so I NEVER feel alone. And it’s helped me feel like I am a person worthy of love because of those people I’ve met and all the strengths it’s given me.
It’s been my savior and my life force.
It’s been the ONLY CONSTANT in my life that I can depend on and thrive with.
While the immediate world of my circumstances always changed around me, I always felt safe because I knew who I was and how to exist in this travel bubble that always surround me.
And now pop. That bubble is gone.
And I’m standing completely exposed in a world I don’t know or understand. One I no longer know how to exist in. One I can no longer see my reflection in.
I don’t know who I am without travel. I don’t want to be anything without it.
One way I’ve managed to thrive and exist in a world that ever changes and involves consistent risk, is to always be aware of the possible worst case scenario and have a back up plan for it.
I need to know the enemy I am facing so I can be prepared and okay if it arrives.
So I asked Craig this question in horror “What if it never returns?”
“I seriously don’t know what I’d do. I look into that potential future and all I see is a black void. I can’t find anywhere to lay a root, I can’t even lay a seed. “
That may be where this goes. No one knows. But I’m doing everything now to draw on my strength and tap back into what I do know.
I exist and I’m okay,
I can do something with that. I can do something with who I am.
Just like when I showed up in London as a scared and alone 21 year old with a heavy backpack, an infected foot, and 30 pounds to my name. Somehow I navigated my way through that uncharted territory and survived.
Or, when I was put onto the stage with no notice to speak to 500 high school Thai boys who spoke almost no English to tell them I was their new English teacher!
Somehow I found the words to make them smile, even if they didn’t understand me.
Or, when I sat sobbing in the principals office at my new school in North Carolina, trying to make sense of this world and feeling completely incompetent. Somehow I managed to make it work and help kids move onto the next grade.
I can adapt and I will adapt but I will not do it without travel.
I will do just what I did last time we were completely broken during our financial crisis in 2008 where we lost everything, including our ability to travel.
I will bring travel into my life. Anyway I can . I will live and breathe it and I will breathe it into you.
Do Not Travel NOW!
Even though we aren’t traveling now and may not for some time and are safe in our home in Raleigh, North Carolina, and we do not recommend you travel now either unless for extreme circumstances, I will breathe the spirit of travel into all of us.
We understand that most people plan travel 6-12 months in advance, so it’s absolutely fine to research and plan for travel in the future.
But currently, this is no longer about a destination but a transformation.
I will return to the content we first wrote when we started this blog, when were not traveling and didn’t know what to do – we turned to the life transformative WHY.
It will give you hope.
In a mentoring call I was on today, the counselor said now is the time to
redefine healing and manifest hope.
So, while we will still write posts to share travel destinations, I will be focusing largely on being the manifester of hope and the meaning maker. I will check in daily with you – as I know you need that now more than every in your communities and self isolation.
My daily check in will be with my email community.
It will be just a quick check in with a message of hope and positiveness. Something to distract you from the non-stop doom news.
You must find ways to overshadow that with the good stuff and remembering why you are here.
My co-working space is holding a daily monthly virtual meeting where we share our worries and our joys and Emily gives us a few words of wisdom to help us stay focused on what really matters.
It’s been a life-saver for me. You need someone to help you stay centered and grounded as you navigate your ship through this tumultuous storms.
We’re in for a rough few months. A short message of hope may be all you need to direct your energy to purposeful action and thoughts, and help you to see yourself in this new world.
We need hope while we stare among the rubble and the ashes around us. We need hope to know we’ll be okay in those moment when we want to lay down with the rubble.
A reader told me the other day…
“you are good at holding people up and staying positive and finding the light among the dark rubble”
So I will show up and be that for you now.
Thank you to that person for helping me to see who I am at the moment when I can’t see a damn thing.
You may not be ready to talk, dream or plan about travel yet and that’s okay.
We’ll be sharing a wide range of topics – on video and our new podcast coming soon.
We want to get you feeling calm and centered and connected to your power. So check in for those.
You know our travel posts will be here when you need them and once we settle into this new normal we may even have a better idea of what content to create for you.
We still have posts to share from our RV road trip, which we will publish. I have to have a purpose for getting up each morning and those travel posts do it. They’ll be here for when you’re ready.
And if you’re ready now. Great. Keep dreaming. Keep planning.
This too shall pass. It may be a month or two, or even 18! No matter what, you can still dream and plan for it and be ready for when the timing becomes right again.
And if travel ever does completely disappear (although I truly doubt it) our thirst for adventure, for evolving, for spirited connection never will.
We can travel in our own backyards, and minds and hearts.
We will always have our memories.
Make your life as rich with them as you can.
As we’re all learning, the only thing important to us when we go through crisis like this is connection to each other and the memories that pour forth from that.