When lockdown was finally announced in the UK, I felt very lucky as my travel plans were already bringing me home that day and it therefore felt a bit more like choice than push. Yes, my travel was being cut short, however I was already due home for a dentist appointment (which was subsequently cancelled) and how amazing that when I booked those dates, I didn’t know how it would help me in many more ways than simply having some dental work done.
I’ve written more on the travel alphabet blog for the letter ‘P’ post about the techniques I’ve used before arriving home, since and I’m sure that they will continue to help me as we come out of lockdown.
As a traveller, there is already a strong element of letting go of control within my daily life. This is especially true in terms of relying on public transport to travel between places as timetables don’t always run to plan. Letting go of control means you allow yourself to surrender to the possibility within each moment rather than relying on the set wishes you may have determined. There is power in letting go and opening up to whatever will be as we start to notice all that is around us, maybe a late train or bus means we take a walk outside in the sun, we have a conversation with someone nearby who tells us something which holds a significance in that moment or even later or perhaps we end up taking a more convenient train/bus due to the delay. This has happened to me many times on my travels and often I’ve ended up sitting next to someone significant on the journey or I’ve learnt something for my travels.
Gratitude and noticing all positives and Kindness offered by locals or fellow travellers is a necessary part of life as you are able to open your heart and see the beauty that surrounds you. There is often beauty in and around your environment and when life slows down as it often can whilst travelling, you are able to notice the smallest element that perhaps you normally don’t see. Nature is wonderful for that and I’ve certainly carried that with me when I returned to my family home and to a garden that has been my anchor for years. When I step out into it now to stay in the sun, I notice the butterflies, ladybirds and even take joy from the bees buzzing around my favourite plants and flowers. The other beauty comes from those moments of kindness you offer to or receive from others and in travel the smile from a stranger in whatever situation or a shared experience can mean so much.
Whilst home, I’ve made sure all the skills I normally use for my travels are in full force. Patience and being ready to accept that things won’t happen when I want them to, walking in nature is always a great help to me even when I’m travelling as it allows me to slow down and reconnect with myself away from all the hustle and bustle and my thoughts and feelings come through strongly and my writing helps whether that is for my blogs, journal or simply writing to myself.
Being in the moment and trying to experience all I can as fully as possible during my travels is a necessary part of my life. This means that even if I am somewhere I don’t wish to be or experiencing something unpleasant, I can see the positives at the same time especially if there is learning or opportunity. Rather than looking to the future and the end of lockdown, I’m making the most of every moment I can possible experience in this new and often challenging day-to-day life. Making a list of the things I would be able to achieve whilst home has allowed me to relax a little and see the positives which in that first week of change was especially important and necessary to my mental health.
In going through the tasks on my to-do list, I’ve felt a sense of achievement and also found an area I can have some element of control over to see an improvement. This is something I often do when going to a new place or country so I can see what I want to learn whilst I am there and tick them off when they are accomplished. For an introvert, this is very helpful. Moving through the tasks on this list has slowed me to make room for the new that will come through whether that is in making space in my cupboards knowing that there are things to sell when lockdown is over or if it is about making room for new growth in the garden. When we make physical room for new growth in a part of our lives then we also do it for ourselves whether that be physically or mentally.
When I’m travelling, I am more in tune with my body and mind through listening to how I feel and am affected by what happens to me or around me. That is also the case now as I open up to all that this time can offer whilst also acknowledging the sadness, the challenges and the changes that I’m experiencing as well as those around me are going through.
So, I will remember all of the above and no doubt have to remind myself of it when write a post on the day before my birthday this year updating my travel challenge!
How is your travel experience helping you?