Travel with a Capital “P” – Gaining Fresh Perspective
I’ve been traveling over the past 4 weeks on one of those “larger than life” journeys that changes the way we do and see things. Not just a weekend away or a trip to see family in Texas, North Carolina or Louisiana but rather, a long, dreamed-up trip of my own making. It was a trip to celebrate my 50th birthday, albeit a few months early, and I chose to go to two places that have intrigued me for a very long time – Amsterdam and Croatia.
Amsterdam because of its’ charming canals, beautiful old buildings and the Van Gogh museum of course but mainly, because of the flowers! I have this special thing for flowers and have for as long as I can remember. They just make me happy down to my roots and because of this, I have spent 25 years working with flowers on a professional level – event design, floral design, weddings, gardening, etc.. When I’m not coaching people I’m often working with flowers and I just can’t express enough my deep appreciation of working with mother nature so closely. She never disappoints me or bores me and she always delivers some deep insight or satisfaction or surprise. Her beauty is limitless and well, I have a passion what can I say? Therefore Amsterdam, for it’s tulip fields and Keukenhof Gardens, where they plant over seven million bulbs for a glorious flower wonderland that would make any gardener shrill with delight. Yes, I was in heaven!
Croatia because of it’s closed-world intrigue and it’s abundant sea life. Although a jonny-come-lately on the tourist map (after the breakup of Yugoslavia in the early 90’s) Croatia has become a fast rising tourist hot-spot of epic proportions and after visiting there, I can certainly see why. It’s drop dead gorgeous with it’s mediterranean climate and its’ centuries old fortified cities spilling into the Adriatic sea. White stone villages with red tile roofs descending from mountain ranges and hillsides into bustling yacht harbors amidst the pure crystal clear waters of the sea, I mean honestly, how could anyone go wrong? It was visually and experientially stunning. Picturesque beyond imagination, delicious food, charming and gracious people, home to over 1000 islands that make up the Dalmatian Coast and compared to the rest of Europe, it is still affordable and about the same cost of being here at home, in Northern California. We took an intimate seven day cruise on one of the classic boats that navigate those waters, a Gullet, and had the time of our lives. We had 12 passengers on our boat, which had eight cabins and four crew members, as we motored and sailed from charming port to deserted island to charming port. Breakfast and lunch on-board, dinner on our own – usually harbor side at one of the local seafood restaurants or pizzeria’s. If I had only one word to describe Croatia it would be “magical!” You’ve gotta go!
This article however isn’t about my trip per se but rather about the perspective (Capital “P”) that comes from being out of our comfort zone and away from our routine.
There is nothing like being in a foreign place to bring out the best (and sometimes the worst) in people. Traveling requires a huge effort and an enormous amount of work no matter where you’re going or how long your stay. There is the planning, the anticipation, preparing your home or office for the time you’ll be away, packing, getting through the airports, customs, navigating a new city and possibly, a new language. It’s tough no doubt in fact in my circle we tease that traveling is a “contact sport” and if you saw all the bruises and broken limbs and deer-in-the-headlights look of fellow travelers and felt the bone-deep tiredness in your own body, I think you’d understand why.
But, after all this twisting and turning and uncomfortableness and compliancy, you get spat out on the other end and something magical happens, or can if you let it….you get inspired! At least for me that is what happens and it’s such a big giant dose of inspiration I can hardly contain it or speak about it or even know what to do with it. I take notes, I write, I have my camera at the ready. I dream and skip and laugh with ease like a child seeing a sunlit field of daffodils for the very first time and, I let the energy pulsating in my veins have it’s day. I see possibilities that before seemed impossible. I invent, create, solve and build. I am desperately tired and raw and elated and there is no end to the open doorways of my imagination. This my friends, is Perspective with a capital “P!” And to me, this is worth it’s weight in gold or Euro or Kuna or Yen.
The Perspective gained from traveling is rich, priceless and liberating beyond compare. It rattles you at your roots and breaks you from the chains of routine thinking, routine living. It unearths those stuck places, all the ways you think life “should be”, and moves you into a place of wonder and limitless creativity where everything seems and feels completely possible….and it is.
You don’t have to go on an epic adventure to gain this kind of perspective either. Sometimes a weekend away in a land you already know is exactly what is called for. The main trick to gaining this perspective is to look for it, to allow it. We just have to get out of our own way, close one door and open another, become a discoverer in everyday life and fresh Perspective is already there. It’s just waiting for us to show up….and also to let go.
Travel inspires me to endeavor to change the world, to connect, to help on a global scale. It encourages me to see beyond my own small existence, to acknowledge and welcome and even be charmed by the differences of humanity.
To delight in the wonders of this great world is a wonderful gift! And it’s a gift I recommend you give to yourself as often as you can, and as soon as possible.
1) What areas in your life would benefit from a new perspective?
2) What ways can you gain new perspective without having to travel to the other side of the earth?
(Please feel free to answer these questions in the comment section at the bottom of this post.)