When you travel all your predominant habits reveal themselves. You learn what triggers impatience, fear, anxiety, physical patterns of sitting, standing and where your body holds tensions. The more that is revealed through traveling the less our minds can blame it on our home circumstances. Being out of routine shows us precisely where we habitually have knee jerk reactions instead of responding mindfully.
“I recommend travel for my clients. Therapy is all about getting out of rigid mental states, leaving the same old, same old behind. Travel stirs the pot. One feels and experiences something different in their body and le viola: The impossible becomes possible.”
-Michele Ritterman, Clinical Psychologist and author, Berkeley California
The interruption of patterns and being in new places gives us the opportunity to change those habits that don’t serve us. If for instance, you travel by bus (like I did recently in Costa Rica) for 4 hours sittting in the same way you’ll learn the precise habit that can cause you low back pain, and the way you can change the way you sit can reduce that pain. Or if while traveling you are faced with a vegetatarian diet when you normally eat meat you realize how well that works for you or how much you benefit more from meat protein. Either way you learn a new perspective.
Even our sleep patterns change when we travel. Being in a new time zone can open our eyes to new opportunities. For instance, if you constantly stay up late but while traveling in areas of like in Baja, Mexico where they refer to “Baja Midnight” as 9pm you’ll learn to go to sleep earlier. Or maybe you are traveling in the jungle where it gets darker earlier and you feel the naturalness of sleeping earlier to be in sync with your environment. And when you return home your two hour difference might give you a new perspective on changing your home wake-up time to 6am instead of 8am. Or on the road you might not have curtains like at home that block the natural light and you learn to sinchronize your sleep with the cycle of sun and moon stead of using artificial light.
In terms of exercise if at home you always drive then while traveling you might engage more foot power walking or cycling and you will grow more aware of sedentary habits and how you can change that pattern.
Even your patterns of dress will be revealed if at home you alternate between waering a black suit or black luon you’ll find may parts of the world where that formality or the material makes you uncomfortable in the heat or humidity. You’ll change what you’re wearing: maybe its wearing your black uniform less and instead incorporating more colors into your wardrobe.
Travel could also present you with options to wear different materials or looser less structured clothing ore more stylish clothing depending where you’re traveling.
Even the way you wear your hair is a habit and when you travel you discover new ways. Maybe it’s because of currency changes or your in an eco-solar powered area where hair dryers and flat irons aren’t permitted. Or you are in and out of the ocean and wash and wear hair can easily become your new way. Or at home maybe you’ve been afraid to experiment with your hair and going somewhere no one knows you gives you permission to experiment a bit more.
Travel also shows us where we have the habit of playing only life too safe, of staying where we are and with what we have now. Traveling not only encourages us but quite frankly demands we be more audacious.
“Yoga believes in transforming the individual before transforming the world. Whatever change we want to happen outside should happen within.” – Sri Swami Satchidananda
You often have no choice but to walk, talk and make bolder decisions. Whether it’s about a place of lodging or trying a new activity or even choosing which street to walk down.
When we travel our habits: mentally, physiclaly, even spiritually are revealed to us. And if we choose to we can use this as an opportunity to unlearn less healthy or limiting habits and incorporate new patterns in our lives. And as a Osho writes, “Happy people are always changing.”
Love yourself, love your day, love your life! Silvia