Having just returned from two weeks of travel in Greece, I can definitively say that for me, travel is not what it used to be. And that, is not a bad thing.
During my first week away the focus was on a professional conference and research and the second was, well, just because. I couldn't very well go all that way and work the entire time, right? Right! Plus, I'd never been to Greece and was eager to experience deeply this land that holds the seeds of many of Western civilization's archetypes.
When I say that travel isn't what it used to be I don't only mean that the fun of "getting there" has evaporated. The novelty of airline travel and the adventure of train trips has given way to cramped spaces and monotony so that even under the best of circumstances modern travel can be a slog. But that's really not the point. For me now, going to new places is a fundamental kind of energetic "tune up" for what is evolving in my life.
What I really noticed on this trip was the character and quality of the land I was visiting, the energy of the people I met and how these elements interacted to influence and amplify the profound "felt sense" of my experience in each place. It was almost as if every situation: the professional conference, a visit to the ancient Sanctuary of Asclepius at Epidaurus, the hustle and bustle of Athens, and the otherworldly feeling of Meteora's hilltop monasteries had a different story to tell me and a particular lesson to teach. Even a 23-hour layover in Copenhagen on the way home had a specific effect on me.
And while I'll write more in the coming days about each experience, what's alive for me right now is how visiting new places, noticing what reactions they bring up in me and allowing myself to drop into that open and unknown space can be scary, yes, but even better, instructive and vitalizing too!
We have become familiar with the trends toward eco, adventure and culinary tourism as well as exploration of sacred sites for spiritual uplift. But as the traditional vacation season here in the western hemisphere begins, let me propose that there are even more profound ways to interact with the earth, it's inhabitants, the moods and atmospheres we encounter in each place that we visit. And, in so doing we can truly feed our soul's growth. Let's explore together!!!