As we approach this long-anticipated and favored season, our thoughts invariably shift to outdoor adventure and exploration. Some of us are well-traversed roamers, while others long to step outside of our comfort zones for the first time, in search of expanded horizons. Either way, wanderlust hypnotizes all of our imaginations.
I have found that I do not always need to travel far and wide to bask in the benefits of travel. Sometimes, a simple left turn on a running trail that routinely ventures to the right, makes all of the difference. My own wanderlust tends to lead me to familiar places that I visit often, that speak to my soul. Depending on the geographic location, they are daily, monthly, or annual gifts that I present to myself. Near or far, the benefits of a fresh environment, perspective and spirit provide such tremendous value to our well-being.
Last April brought me to Seattle, a place I fondly called home for four years in my early twenties. It ended up being a solo excursion and the thought of it felt odd at first, to find myself vacationing, by myself, in a place I was once so familiar with. It was like I was reconciling with an estranged friend, and I was nervous of how I was going to be received. This reticence quickly transformed itself into unbridled exploration. Rediscovering such a magnetic and vibrant city through a matured visitors lens, was nothing short of extraordinary. I reconnected with familiar haunts and hopped to landmarks I used to only visit when guests were in town. Because I was traveling alone, I allowed my thoughts, intentions and feelings to freely roam as they pleased. My heart exploded with equal parts inspiration, admiration and nostalgia. I was a tourist in a town that I used to reside in, and it was an utterly and unexpectedly romantic adventure.
This year took me to parts unknown, with an equally emotional result. If you have never experienced Zion National Park, I implore you to stop what you're doing and go at once. I knew I would be instantly attracted to the pristine beauty of this unique landscape, but I was not prepared for how grounded this part of the country is. At times, I was overwhelmed by the primal and powerful energy that unconditionally embraced me. I trustingly released my spirit into this environment, to fully experience the peaceful and cleansing properties that these surroundings gift to its guests. Four days was not nearly enough. While I did not want to leave such a spiritual place, I was at the same time very ready to return to my every day life, armed with fresh purpose and renewal. Mission accomplished.
A change of environment not only awakens each and every one of our senses, but recharges our sense of perspective, ambition, and conflict resolution. A nagging issue or emotional pain that has overstayed its welcome can suddenly be overcome, reasoned with, or even forgiven, with an alternative outlook. Our daily routines provide us with structure and security, but can also become redundant and overwhelming over time, if not regularly reviewed, redefined and refreshed. Travel is not only restorative, but essential.
If only we could all, in this modern world, downsize our lives to eating, sleeping, pleasure and adventure. If only we could pack up on a moments notice and travel to far off places, yet to be explored. While this may not be realistic for many of us, there is always something new and unfamiliar just outside our doors, or even in the next town over, to satisfy our sense of wanderlust. Choosing adventures of any size quiets our anxieties, refreshes our passions, and enriches our quality of living.
What direction will the summer season lead you this year? Whether it be somewhere new, somewhere familiar, somewhere opulent or unplugged, let your senses guide you and be graciously receptive to the gifts these adventures provide to your existence. I very much look forward to the plans that I have in store, as well as the surprises that are sure to accompany them.