The original travel experience

Give every day a chance to be the best day of your life. (Mark Twain)

Years ago on my first cargo ship voyage, the most special experiences were the feeling of remoteness, i.e. not seeing land for several days and then seeing our civilization with different eyes, at least for a short time, watching dolphins playing in front of the ship's bow, not feeling solid ground under my feet and the moment of stepping on land for the first time again.

On my latest cargo ship trip from Germany to Mexico I felt the need to experience these feelings again. I realized very quickly that it was not possible and when I looked closely, I felt sadness not to find exactly that sensation again.

There is still something unique about this my favorite form of travel, but is becoming routine. I understood how much mindfulness is needed and that the meaning of those experiences in its original quality is perceptible only the first time. I remember very much the special experiences of my first times, like riding a bike by myself for the first time, reading the clock, traveling alone, mountain climbing (high alpine) or my first meditation retreat.

The value of the first time in a person's life is repeated again and again and I understand its multi-layered meaning better and better, like 2 sides of the same piece of paper. On one side I find the curiosity and adventurousness.interesting but the back of this sheet of paper, these experiences, what is hidden behind it and only the 2nd or 3rd time learn. On the 2.side I find my addiction to new experiences and sadness when it does not become like the last time. It is the need to meet again that original particularity.

So if I try to repeat something specifically, it is because it gave me pleasure in the past and this is the basis for my desire to experience it again and forget that everything is transient. To get at least close to the old experience I try it again and again, in a new form. I.e. new countries, new cultures to encounter, even higher mountains to climb or new, longer freighter voyage routes with different ports or times across the Pacific.

Every moment will be new, but no two are alike. The experience-expectation paradigm or dilemma arises because I orient myself to past experiences while avoiding the specialness of the new experience in its uniqueness. I see the seeds of suffering. Because my expectations (especially my unconscious ones) significantly influence the value of my future, new experience. The less I orient myself to the past, the more unique the new experience will take shape. Cargo ship travel, therefore, because of its slowness, contains the extraordinary potential of reorientation, i.e., breaking free of old patterns. When I move quickly, I am challenged to orient myself quickly, and therefore fall back on old familiar patterns more easily.

I.e. not that I should not tackle the first time. Absolutely not. But it means to remind myself that I have the choice to identify with the experience of the first time or to face it with gratitude and equanimity, as well as to observe why I am doing something again, to observe what suffering it may cause (to me or to others). And I can decide whether I choose the sadness that it is different or the gratitude to receive the new.

Every experience, everything we perceive has a deep personal meaning. That is why it is so important to learn to feel the specialness and depth of the present moment and to meet it with the heart.

From birth I learn to live and receive support from my family. First from my physical family, later more and more from my social family (i.e. the environment in which I move) and then more and more from my spiritual family (everything that inspires me). It is a continuous process of disconnection, learning independence by understanding how much protagonists of these families are and were teachers for me. I, however, decide what is true for me and for how long. From this can arise beliefs to which I tend to cling. Or I recognize them as such and let them pass by like a cloud in the sky.

It is crucial to be aware that our travel behavior is a continuous reproduction of what we already know. From this we are invited to observe that some things reproduce suffering and some reproduce well-being, because the left hemisphere of the brain is analytical and deals with the experiences of the past and uses them to deal with the future through projection. Its language is words and numbers. Ultimately to learn from experiences and to protect us from risks in the future. Our right brain deals with the feelings and the energies of the present moment. It is creative and forms our intuition.

So our further experiences follow certain patterns, which within a certain framework cause certain themes to repeat themselves and nothing really changes in our situation. So we create a comfort zoneThe resulting clinging to old habitual patterns is a classic phenomenon of us humans, which always leads to suffering. We tend to hold on to habits, even if they are painful, because we don't know the unknown and are afraid it could be worse.Is this good or bad? Neither. Let's not judge or condemn it, but let's ask what is healing and what leads to suffering in us and around us and how do we deal with it.

Helpful methods in dealing with this issue are the following methods and approaches:

  • Am I aware of the difference between process vs structure oriented travel
  • Sparing Partner / Travel Consulting / Slowtravel Coach
  • Travel Light
  • What type of travel do I choose?
  • How does what I experience relate to you?
  • Why are paths created only by walking them?
  • Do I know my identification structures?
  • Meditation