I was on the train to Cinque Terre gazing out the window at the gorgeous waters of the Italian Riviera and reflecting on my travels. I realized how traveling is a vast ocean of lessons and helps bring out the essence of who we truly are.
We’re all like rocks along the shore, molded by each wave of experience. Each wave brings new wisdom, new perspective, and new acceptance. It rounds our edges, helps form who we are, and what we bring to this world.
As we experience other cultures and learn from how others live, we gain insight on how we want to live and what we value.
In my travels so far, two things continue to have a profound impact: the ability to be flexible in my plans & the courage to ask.
Plan what you can, but also plan for all of that to go out the window. Whether it’s a train you need to catch, a housing situation that turns out to not be at all what you expected, or a change in itinerary, things will happen and it’s so important to be flexible. I’m not saying that it won’t feel frustrating or like your patience is being tested, but that’s all part of the experience. All you can do is make the best of the situation. Be willing to see where the new turn of events take you.
Have the courage to ask. It might feel intimidating to approach someone for help in a different language or for an opportunity to teach a yoga class, but the only thing you can do is ask. Maybe they say no, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t someone waiting to say yes to you.
It’s common for people to feel afraid of looking stupid or of rejection, but acknowledge the fear and then do it anyway. Being brave isn’t about being fearless, but not letting that fear paralyze you.
I once heard that life is like a pendulum, swinging back and forth. You have to take action and even your so-called “failures” will propel you forward into success, whatever success means to you.
So take each wave of experience as it comes, be flexible, be courageous, and keep moving forward!
Shannon Handa is a Yoga Trade Travel Rep and travels to teach and practice yoga in different countries to explore the similarities and differences in how it’s approached. She writes about her travels on her blog, Yoga Across the Globe, to share her experiences with fellow yogis.