Five Traveling Insights:
Nomadic Truths From One Perspective
For as long as I can remember I have enjoyed the adventure of traveling. The notion of a two week vacation over the entire year seemed absurd to me when contrasted with a childhood of nomadic summers. Now, the entire idea of “vacation” is something that I have let go of. I discovered that I was using the excuse of being on vacation as rationale for destructive habits, “Why not indulge? I’m on vacation!”. No – this is me living life, making choices, a nd taking flight to my dreams.
Transitioning completely to this nomadic lifestyle began eight months ago with the move into a camper I named Magic. My intention was to let go and relax into the flow of life: this journey has no plan (other than my choosing the next step as it arises) and no pre-determined end date. The path has taken me across Canada and back, through my starting point of Alberta and into the Rockies of British Columbia, along the West Coast of the United States, and now, into Mexico. The turn of the new year brought the purchase of a one-way flight to Bali in February so I can dive deeper into my passion of writing.
I am going to share five key insights that have blossomed within me during my experiences on the road, meeting new people, observing and playing in nature, and learning from communities I visited.
I. Our Stories Are Just Stories
People often jump at the opportunity to share stories from their own travels (myself included). Observing the contrast between these stories (many times fear based) and my personal experience, I can’t help but become aware that we choose the stories we tell. I find myself asking, “Why are these stories so different from my observations?”. Many times the stories are second-hand, completely divorced from the individual’s belief in the specific details, yet still reflective of a deeper held story about the world. There is nothing wrong with sharing particular stories, just remember that our words have creative power and reflect our deeper perceptions of the world. I have written about this awareness as storyteller consciousness.
The Magic Carpet I roll around on is painted with a beautiful assortment of creativity from people at music festivals over the summer. The art attracts many smiles, laughter, hand waves, cheers, peace signs, hang-loose hands, and sparks incredible conversations with new friends who are drawn to chat with me. I was also surprised by the number of times people shared with me their perception that such a vehicle would attract negative attention – perhaps that of being hassled by the police. My experience with law enforcement couldn’t be anything further from harassment. Sure I have been asked to move from where I was parked, but I have never felt targeted because of the look of the camper (or my burned out tail light that “should” have had me pulled over multiple times).
Where do the differences in our stories arise from? Why do we choose to tell the stories we do? Are the stories we tell reflective of our actual experiences or are they second-hand? Do they feel true to us?
II. People Are People Everywhere (And They Are Friendly!)
Being in a different country and meeting others who travel often brings up the stories of what people are like in particular countries. I hear that Canadians are this way and Americans are that way. This city is dangerous and these people are going to scam you. Again, stories.
I have met countless individuals who have shown me kindness, generosity, and warmth. Yes, there is the rare encounter that reminds me of the shadows we carry, however, none of these distinctions have any correlation to what “country” a person is from. As perspectives are expanded and connections made through intimacy with other people, we discover the inadequacy of any label we place on others.
We are all unique and reflect back to each other the qualities we desire to see. We all have our pains and pleasures, our hopes and dreams, our fears and our loves. We look and act different on the outside so that we can see what stories we carry on the inside. We are all part of the same family, sharing the same home. People are kind and desire to do good in this world.
III. There Is A BIG Difference Between The Screen And The Visible Dream.
Being raised in a world of screens, starting with the television and expanding to include many electronic devices, I was taught to distinguish the difference between what is “real” and what is on the screen. We are told as children, “You don’t need to be afraid of that picture on the screen – it isn’t real”. Do we integrate this story and carry it forward in life? It certainly appears that way as we are able to watch disaster take place on the box, even right next door, without much of a second thought.
The Earth is in pain. I believe on some level we can all feel this because we are made from the Earth and the Earth is made of us. As I meet people in different places and chat with them about the current state of affairs from their perspective, it appears to me that most are aware of the extreme disharmony on the planet. I have seen this imbalance expressed prominently through water – polluted lakes, toxic algae rivers, multi-year droughts, flooding, death and emptiness in the ocean, diverted natural flow to produce agricultural empires in the middle of deserts.
Observing the water through my own personal experience has allowed me to feel deeper into the Earth’s pain. We clog her veins, divert her flow of nutrients, and cut her cleansing cycles to meet our own, disconnected needs. Reading about it online and watching videos or news about it does not spark the love necessary to be effective agents of change. It is only through the personal, direct experience and observation that we are able to courageously face the despair and emerge with optimism, compassion, and love for not only the Earth, but also humanity as a Whole.
To paraphrase Gandalf, the world is not in your books and maps – it is OUT THERE.
IV. Seeds Of Creativity Are Sprouting Everywhere
I can empathise with the paralysis and despair that results from observation of the rampant fear on this planet. It seems like the whole world is falling apart and no one knows what to do about it. Indeed, this is true – however, it is happening because our stories are unravelling. Our collective stories are what give us roles, create agreements about what is valuable and important, tell us where we are going as a species. They fall apart when we no longer believe in them as we once did. This is what sparks transition and creates the vulnerable “space between stories”. As our dominant narratives break down through experiences that disrupt our previously held stories, we begin to look elsewhere to construct new stories to resolve the dissonance.
These new stories have existed for many years on the fringes of society. They have stayed there because such stories run counter to the cultural norms of society and cut through the illusions of separation that lay the foundation of The Machine’s established institutions. A full discourse of such stories is beyond the scope of this blog, but in general they contain elements of deep connection, interbeing, and fundamental unity with the world. It is the convergence of crises in all aspects of life, combined with the growing futility of our current approach of manage and control, that is clearing space for the new seeds of reunion to blossom.
Paralleling the growing disharmony and fear on Earth is the infectious spreading of these new ways of being with each other and the planet. Communities that desire to explore these new stories are springing up and expanding all over the world. Ideas that once seemed “uneconomical” or “irrational” are being played with as previous attempts are no longer working, even creating unintended consequences that are worse than the initial problem we set out to solve. Anyone who chooses to act from the new story of connection, love, forgiveness, and generosity is disrupting the old paradigm of separation, fear, judgement, and competition. We are stepping into our role as beings of co-creative play with the Universe as we feel deeper into our desire to give back to the whole.
V. Timelessness Is the Key To Eternity
Letting go completely of any pre-determined plan has allowed me to become the master of my time. Let me rephrase that: I have remembered that I am always choosing what to do at every moment. Very quickly I discovered that I use “time” as an excuse, “I can’t do that because I have this other thing to do”. When I dropped all “other things” I realized that it was me choosing to say no to an invitation – not some external force that I perceived or projected onto. Sometimes I still find myself looking at the time, however I am careful to remember that it is not the master of me. This has given me a freedom I had not known by exposing the internal limitations I had constructed for myself.
The freedom of time is buried under our attachments to a specific outcome. Holding an outcome or vision in mind is a beautiful practice that is strengthened by our ability to hold it loosely. The attachment to a vision, or a specific flow of events, is held in place with our focus on time. When we let go of time and let events unfold as they do naturally (there can still be moments of quickness), a space is created for spontaneous and synchronistic flow. This can often lead to an entirely new and incredible outcome than the one we initially had in mind.
Scarcity of time results from the labelling and quantifying of our eternal present moment. Suddenly we feel as though we are “running out” of time and that our time is somehow limited. This adds to survival anxiety – the need to constantly be doing something, lest we fall behind in this competitive race for survival. We put off the things we love to do because we think we “can’t afford” to spend our time doing something that doesn’t help us get ahead in life. Even the languaging of “spending” time embodies the notion that it is somehow limited. I choose to devote my time, to gift my attention in this eternal present moment. From this space I cultivate a relaxed and playful attitude toward life, not one founded on the fear and anxiety of survival.
I am grateful to share that despite the pervasive destruction of the planet through the extraction of resources, and despite the breakdown of community through the monetization of relationships, there are still vast areas of beauty and loving expressions of community remaining. You are not alone. Don’t give up. Create and share stories of generosity and forgiveness. Practice self-trust and acceptance. Ask questions and observe the stories you tell.
It is up to you to create your dreams!