You know this feeling, don’t you? You’ve been planning a trip for months. Years sometimes. You’ve read books and talked to people and scoured the internet searching for hostels and cafes and salsa dance classes. You’ve had dreams and journaled and stared longingly at other people’s pictures of mountains, beaches, and horseback riding. Then, one fine day, you finally take the leap and make the trip of your dreams. You travel to your destination, deal with any time changes, and start jumping into the adventure. Only, you haven’t really arrived yet … do you know what I mean?
The moment of true arrival comes at different times for different people. Recently I met up with my long-time friend Andy here in Ireland. He was on his “Celtic Spiritual Pilgrimage” as he called it. He wanted to get in touch with his roots and, in a way, reclaim something he felt was missing inside him. So his generous wife stayed home with their child (luckily his mother-in-law was also able to help) and he spent 3-weeks traveling, exploring, and journeying. Here’s Andy:)
Andy told me a really beautiful story when he knew, deep inside, that he had really arrived in Ireland. He was in the Midlands exploring a beautiful natural area by a lake where his ancestors once lived, long ago. He sat there thinking about his own family and letting his mind wander back and forth between Ireland and the US and Canada. About the journey his ancestors took long ago. And as he sat by that translucent lake he said he felt like he was finally, really and truly, in Ireland. That he’d arrived. And the experience meant something to him that I just can’t put into words. You could just feel it off of him.
I know this feeling too. I had it on my first trip to Ireland. It took about a week and a half of traveling before my moment came. I was standing on the edge of a set of cliffs near Baltimore, looking out over the Atlantic Ocean and little Sherkin Island. A white signal tower stood near me and as the waves crashed against rock and the fields of green lit up my own green eyes, I thought, “I’m here … I really am here!” Then I laughed and the feeling of knowing I’d arrived filled me up.
One of the keys to arriving is using your eyes, ears, nose, tongue, and raccoon hands … I mean sense of touch:) Raccoon’s have really sensitive hands and can feel better than they can see! So the next time you smell a blossoming magnolia flower or taste a spice-filled bite of lamb tagine or feel the simple softness of a southwest breeze, really take it in. Allow your senses to be filled. This will help prevent home blindness in your own place of residence AND get you ready to fully experience your travels.
I believe this also helps you get into the mindset of what the French call dérive … “the idea that even if you drift you will end up on the right path. This could describe life in general, but it also describes small journeys. When you’re wandering through a new city and you just happen to wander on a path that takes you to great discoveries.”
I have had some of my best adventures doing that, but I’ll save that for another blog post:)
Now it’s your turn … have you ever experienced that moment of arrival? Where were you and what did it feel like? Leave a comment below, we love hearing your stories!