We are honored here at GoddessCeremony to share this lovely guest blog post by Amanda Cantrell, a yogi with over 15 years of experience on her mat. Enjoy!
When I first began this post about travel, I looked back on my own experiences. I have been to almost a dozen countries, visited almost all Canadian provinces, and almost all 50 states. I started to write about how amazing it was and how it meant so much to my formative years. And while I wrote, my husband had on the news in the background. Now, I won’t assume your political view, but will assume that no matter what, we can all agree that the world is a very different place since January 20, 2017. While I tried to write this sing-song little piece on travel, I kept getting distracted by the world. So I did what any writer worth a darn does- I scraped the piece.
I’d like to address what travel means in 2018. When I was growing up, you didn’t need a passport to go to Mexico or Canada. You knew enough not to drive your car into Mexico, but otherwise you were safe to cross the border and enjoy the day. The people on the other side of the imaginary line were just people who spoke a different language. Not so in 2018.
That summer I spent in Spain, I learned how to convert American dollars to pesatas and let me tell you, I came into Spain much richer than I left America. I traveled freely within the country, without fear of kidnapping, bombing, or more. Not so in 2018.
By the time I took kids to Germany as a teacher chaperone almost 10 years later, the Euro had replaced the deutschemark, but it allows us to travel within several countries without having to stop for the right currency. I can’t say that everyone was happy in Europe at the time, but we saw a continent that worked together with the countries that made it up. Not so in 2018.
So if those are things I remember back then, what does travel mean in 2018? It means to invest in the future. Well-traveled people will be what saves us.
To travel in 2018 and beyond is not a luxury, but a necessity. Despite the closeness of the world via the Internet, and the sometimes-decreasing cost of travel, it is still seen as a luxury to most of the world. I would argue it’s not—it is a necessity to be a global citizen. The connections technology has brought brings us closer together in communication and access but without firsthand knowledge of those people we are connecting to, it is just as superficial as the video game, or cat video, or latest meme that connects us. To be a global citizen, you must see the globe. The ease of talking to someone halfway around the world is not going away, so I suggest you get going and try to tackle some of their culture.
To travel in 2018 is to expand your mind. Now, I am an avid reader, but all the books on Picasso’s works pale in comparison to standing in the Museo Reina Sofia, looking at the wall-sized Guernica. You can only learn so much about our fellow citizens from a book! No amount of preparation had me anywhere near ready to actually be in the space of Dachau. I don’t believe in ghosts, but it was haunted. Did you realize that Starry Night is actually a pretty tiny painting? Probably not, but I promise that trip to the Met will open your eyes. As our world continues to connect, don’t let the idea that you’re talking to someone on Facebook who lives in Austria fool you into thinking you can see what their world is like. You can’t. Get out there—go see it for yourself!
To travel in 2018 is to allow yourself to admit that you don’t know it all. All that time studying Spanish is not worth a lot if you don’t understand that Castilian Spanish, Mexico Spanish, Venezuelan Spanish are not the same. Which version did you learn? Probably none of those actually if you learned in school. Why are they all different? For the same reason we are all different—the region and the people change it. And they are all wonderful! Why only have one type of queso when you can have many?
To travel in 2018 is to look towards the future. The world is getting smaller, intolerance is growing, and those who have never left their couch are suddenly making very loud and distracting noises. To travel in 2018 is to combat that. It is to learn what it is like in the EU so you can form and opinion about it. To travel in 2018 is to see why clean water and the development of the water straw and water book will be critical to changing the next generation of Africans. To travel in 2018 is the see what the Arctic is really like, and see the effects of the loss of permafrost and polar ice. To travel in 2018 is to see the beautiful jewels of that Fertile Crescent that started us all before it’s too late.
Traveling when I was younger was about seeing something new and exciting. It was all about expanding our minds, and it was a luxury not open to everyone. But traveling then was different. It was more about frivolity and excitement and less critical to my thought patterns. As an adult, I cannot be thankful enough that I did travel, that I speak other languages, that I saw what amazing things other people had to offer. It opened my mind. Having an open mind back then was a luxury though. Now it is a requirement for rational thought.
Traveling in 2018 and beyond will be what soon distinguishes people. People who have traveled will be able to see the value in everyone; will be able to see themselves as global citizens, and as global citizens will begin to think about what will help humankind, rather than just their compatriots. Well-traveled people will be able to remember what it was like to walk through that plaza or attend that event in that amazing location, and will stop looking at places as dots on a map, but will view them as precious memories. Well-traveled people will have a story, or a pen pall (perhaps Facebook friend now), or a connection to a country and will care about their plight.
Travel used to be a luxury. It is now a part of a contract you have with other people; to see their amazing world, and to let them see ours. Travel used to be something only the rich could enjoy; but it is now a requirement for global citizenship. Travel may still hold the joy and frivolity I remember to some people, but to those who are paying attention, travel will give them the needed information to make a choice about the future.
Traveling to other places is still just as amazing as it was when I started. It still holds the keys to unforeseen worlds, and exciting photos. But travel in 2018 is so much more than just that. Travel in 2018 is the next step in becoming a global participant. It is the next step to taking all of the good energy put forth in yoga (and other practices) off of the mat and into worldly practice. Travel is the key to a better and brighter future. So where’s your next trip taking you?
About the Guest Blog Writer~
Amanda Cantrell is a yogi with fifteen years of practice under her belt. She is passionate about yoga, and is that friend who is always asking you to go with her to a class. Amanda has a wide background in public education, non-profit work, theatre, and of course-yoga. Currently she resides in Anchorage, Alaska with her husband and two furkids. Amanda loves to travel, learn, read, write, paint, do yoga, and act in the theatre community. Her favorite pose is probably pidgeon or dancer, and is often reminded of the anonymous quote, "Blessed are the are flexible, for they shall not be broken."
You can find her online at thebendyraven.wordpress.com,
on Instagram @thebendyraven