Once I sat in on the closing session of a month-long meditation/yoga course in the Himalaya. The wise and much revered guru thanked his students for attending, gave them a few guidelines for staying on the path and asked if they had any questions. Most of the students were well-educated Europeans. I cringed with embarrassment as I listened to the litany of childlike, ego-centric questions that followed. An Italian CEO asked, “Should I go to Dharamsala and study Tibetan Buddhism as I have planned?” The patient guru replied, “Some people walk to their destination, some people take the bus, others take the train and others fly. It doesn’t matter HOW you get there. What matters is the work: the spiritual practice that will get you there.”
I see travel in the same light. It doesn’t matter how you get to your destination, though clearly, some means are more scenic, more authentic, quicker etc than others. Your travel experiences, though, reflect your emotions and the state of mind that you are in. In order to get the most from the journey, if you leave home with an open heart, the rewards will be the greatest. You have to trust yourself to face the challenges of the unknown and the people you will encounter along the way. This doesn’t mean that you give away all your money to the first person who asks for it but when someone smiles openly with kindness twinkling in their eyes, you feel free enough to return that openness with more kindness.
Naturally, not everyone will smile at you openly. If they don’t, you pay attention and move on without bitterness or resentment. The willingness to being open, taking risks and leaving that critical judgment behind is not only the key to exciting and fulfilling travel but to taking expressive photographs as well.
When the spirit of adventure is infused within you, along with self-respect and a love for the great diversity that is the human condition and you do not see yourself as separate but as a part of that great mosaic then the journey really begins and you will, “Travel Your Way.”
This post is an entry to the Rhinocarhire Competition: