Almost everybody is familiar with the feeling that arises when a vacation is taken. A person who has experienced this is also aware of the post trip depression that occurs when returning back to everyday life at home.
What are these feelings?
Are there similarities between travelling and other experiences such as meditation, exercise, or ingesting a psychedelic? If similarities do exist, what are the potential therapeutic effects of travelling and can it be a profound catalyst for self-discovery? I firmly believe from my travelling experiences that there are a vast amount of similarities between other perception-shifting events. Not only can parallels be drawn, travel can be one of the most profound catalysts for growth.
It is important to note that the travel I am speaking of is not your traditional family vacation for one week to the closest beach. Although I am sure this is beneficial, I am more interested in extended travel, a nomadic lifestyle, solo travel, or a trip where one is attempting to discover more about their truest self. Like the experiences listed above, a certain type of travel can strip away the layers of one's everyday reality to reveal that person's core without the various external influences that bombard their being on a daily basis. This is similar to what many ancient cultures would call a spirit quest or a coming of age ceremony.
Breaking the Shell
Some people might not see the infinite layers of influence they have in their everyday life. An analogy I like to use when describing this is that of each individual person being the yolk of an egg and the shell being a wall built by various influences in our modern day society that block one’s truest self from seeing other possibilities that exist. Imagine yourself sitting in the middle of the jungle. No phone. No Facebook. No TV. Nobody telling you the same opinions you have heard your whole life like a record player you can’t unplug. Who are you then?
You certainly cannot consider yourself the same person when these things are detoxed from your life. Stripping away the layers of your believed reality allow for what you truly want in life to surface along with lighting up the path that will get you there. All you have to do is listen!
Could these Feelings have a Biological Origin?
When looking at our species as a whole, we have spent more time living a nomadic lifestyle than a sedentary one. According to various sources, modern day humans have existed for the last 200,000 to 150,000 years while only around 10,000 years ago did these modern humans begin setting up permanent residences focused around agriculture. Before this time, our species was nomadic, moving with the climate and animals that were necessary for the tribe's survival. It is hard to fathom even 100 years much less 10,000, but from a universal perspective it is a mere blink of an eye on the scale of Earth's existence. Nomadism could very well still play a major role in our biological reward mechanisms. Another aspect of tribal peoples that our current society lacks is that of a coming of age experience. Most people simply turn 18 and told they are an adult now with no true preparation or self discovery that allows one to have confidence moving forward.
Is it Time for your Spirit Quest?
I highly encourage everybody reading to step back and analyze your quality of life. Are you living in your true authenticity? Do you wake up every day with the goal to be your best version? Or are you at a point in your life where you feel unmotivated, unfulfilled, or just stuck in an endless loop of negative habits that are inhibiting your growth? Just know this is ok. You are ok. No matter what situations life has presented to you, there are always options to better your situation. Maybe it is necessary to shake up your reality which will break the patterns that are so deeply embedded in your life. All you may need is an extended trip with the intention to learn more about yourself. How does one expect their life to change yet repeat the same schedule each week. We are not meant to stay stagnant in a world of infinite wonder.