It constantly amazes me how, when I’m fully engaged with even the smallest task, everything seems to go more smoothly. That’s not to say that being present allows me to succeed at everything I do. I still have to push through blocks and make tons of mistakes. But when approached from a place of presence, none of those things are inherently negative. They are simply part of the process of living and learning.
I’ve been on a big Eckhart Tolle kick for the past week. Some of the more negative aspects of moving from California to Spain (jet lag, homesickness, stressing over money) have reminded me just how important it is to stay grounded in the present moment. That can often like an impossible feat, especially during chaotic or emotional moments, and it’s words like these that help me stay committed to the moment-to-moment process of being present.
Lately, I’ve been asking myself why I enjoy traveling so much.
The surface level answers that come to mind are all related to the myriad of different sights, cultures, and people that I come into contact with during my travels. But I think the true answer goes even deeper than that.
Thinking back to my semester studying abroad in Madrid – the first time I had ever been out of the country – what stands out to me most is not any of the things I listed above. To be honest, I took in so many new experiences during those four months that it’s just a blur at this point. A beautiful blur, but a blur nonetheless.
Yet I can see clearly all of the changes that took place inside me during those four months.
I may have looked the same on the outside when I came back home, but I was definitely not the same person as when I left. I saw myself and the world around me a little bit differently. Things that mattered to me before no longer seemed as important. I felt a little less certain about everything I knew, yet more confident in my abilities to handle anything unexpected. A similar internal shift occurred during my nine months teaching in Northern Spain last year.
It’s these internal changes that I’m really seeking out, and travel seems to provide the perfect environment for them to take place.