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unprepared, bored or disappointed,” remarks Cousineau. “But the flip side is that travels can stretch us, just like a medieval rack.” If you have stretch goals, you can


build them into an itinerary, advises Haupert, whether it’s getting up the courage to skydive or negotiating a purchase in a foreign street market.


If we truly want to know the secret of soulful traveling, we need to


believe there is something sacred waiting to be


discovered in virtually every journey. ~PHIL COUSINEAU


Move Beyond Comfort


“Travel can serve as a vehicle for expansive personal growth. Through it, we learn to explore the world and ourselves,” Boyle observes. “When you venture outside the


controlled environment of prepack- aged trips for tourists to face difficult decisions and confusing and chaotic situations that require problem solving, that’s where real change can occur,” says Haupert. “My 12,000-mile journey from


Washington, D.C., to Antarctica was transformative in so many ways,” says journalist Andrew Evans, author of The Black Penguin memoir. “I’m a geogra- pher by training and spent four years studying maps, but I never understood the true size of the world until I traveled across it on a Greyhound bus. I now see the world as much smaller and much more accessible. The trip made me a stronger, more confident person, and less afraid of what other people think of me; it also made me want to keep traveling.” “Travel comes from the word travail,


to labor, and trip from tripalium, Latin for a medieval torture rack. Metaphor- ically, travel can feel like torture at times, and some travelers feel unhappy,


Experience More To heighten experiential awareness while traveling, build fewer to-dos into an itinerary, the experts recommend.


Do Less,


“Immerse yourself in a place. Leave time for unplanned explorations, rather than bouncing between destinations without space for spontaneity and restful reflection,” says Haupert. “Also build in time for meditation, yoga, simple relaxation or other intentionally restorative moments in-between the high-intensity peak experiences.” Haupert suggests staging a cer-


emonial start to a journey, such as a special dinner or bike ride upon arrival. Similarly, Cousineau recom- mends starting a new journal on every journey, to ceremoniously start anew in one’s thinking. Engaging in ritual can also help


awaken the traveler, says Cousineau. He suggests walking in silence as we approach a sacred site, or physically engaging with it, as pilgrims might do when they palm the feet of a Buddha statue or press their forehead to the Wailing Wall. Sacred sites are fertile ground for


transformative experiences, says Lori Erickson, an Episcopal deacon, travel writer and author of Holy Rover: Jour- neys in Search of Mystery, Miracles, and God, a memoir of her trips to a dozen of the world’s holy sites. “So many people have prayed and opened their hearts in a holy place that you can feel the energy,” she says. Erickson suggests that travelers seek


out hallowed ground from different traditions, which can help heal divides among people of divergent faiths. “The art and architecture of holy sites are beautiful manifestations of spiritual long- ing and human creativity. These places have the power to move you, regardless of your own spiritual background.”


JOURNEY JUMP-OFFS


Here’s a short list of resources to inspire transformative adventuring.


n The blog at AyanaJourneys.com explores Cambodia’s sacred Buddhist sites.


n Evergreen Escapes at Ever- green EscapesIntl.com specializes in unforgettable locales tailored to the traveler’s inner calling.


n “The Travelers” podcast via Holocene.io/travelers features stories and advice from 200-plus change-makers on topics ranging from creativity, fear and gratitude to travel-related careers.


n Muddy Shoe Adventures at MuddyShoeAdventures.com offers small-group trips that challenge participants with combinations of physical activities and cultural experiences.


n OuterTravelsInnerJourneys.com connects people through shared spiritual adventures like mind- body healing and immersion in nature.


n Phil Cousineau (PhilCousineau.net) hosts writer’s retreats, literary tours and pilgrimages to historic sacred sites.


n Responsible Travel at ResponsibleTravel.com offers socially and environmentally conscious tours to all seven conti- nents, including small-ship cruises to more authentic, lesser-known ports of call.


n Find uplifting stories at the Transformational Travel Council’s website Transformational.travel, a travelers’ forum and other tools for change-seekers.


n World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms (wwoof.net) links volunteers with organic farmers to help build a sustainable global community.


natural awakenings October 2017 39


Pius LeeShutterstock.com


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