Originally Published in The Edge Magazine.
Call it wanderlust. Call it a gypsy soul. Call it travel-obsessed. Whatever the name, it is a longing for adventure with a spiritual bent that bubbles from deep within my soul with resounding frequency. It beckons me to step outside my comfort zone and see the bigger picture with a fresh perspective. And I oblige it, because if there is one thing I’ve learned, it is to listen to my soul.
If you share the same longing, there is no need to curse your flimsy bank account or your hectic work schedule, because you don’t need to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro or book a Caribbean cruise to reap the benefits of a spiritual retreat. Your spiritual pilgrimages may not seem tweetable on the surface, but with the right approach you can gain just as much insight and healing on your local hiking trail, en route to the grocery store or sitting on a park bench. These simple strategies will help you wring every bit of spiritual bliss out of your next jaunt—near or far:
Packing for a trip is a necessary evil, but in the case of a spiritual journey, it’s more about what you do not haul with you. Just like that pilled cardigan you won’t wear on your trip but bring just in case, limiting beliefs and hurts will only weigh you down and take up valuable space in your luggage. So cast those worries and preconceived notions aside; opt instead for peace, curiosity, and open-mindedness.
Let Intuition be Your Guide
From this place of clarity and acceptance, intuition will be your tour guide, your map, your guru, and your concierge. If intuition tells you to nap instead of going for a jog on the beach, then, by golly, trust there is spiritual growth in that decision and act accordingly.
See the Sites
All this preparation sets the stage for a brilliant display of spirit guidance. No tickets are necessary, just tune in to every sound, every color and every circumstance in your surroundings. Be inspired. Divine guidance and intervention is present in traffic delays, in a single flower blooming through a crack in the sidewalk, in the unexpected pepperoni slice on your vegetarian pizza and everywhere in between.
Jot it All Down
Jot it all down — It is remarkable — addicting even — when you start recognizing spirit messages, but don’t stop there. The next step is to find meaning in your observations. For instance, what is the meaning of that lone flower? Does it symbolize standing out above the crowd? Does it illustrate the beauty of loneliness? Do you need to bring more color into your life? Get creative, get metaphoric, get poetic, and then journal your thoughts and observations. The depth you can extrapolate by simply verbalizing your experiences will surprise you.
Take it Home with You
Once you’ve used your super powers of intuition to observe and define the lessons from your retreat experience, your challenge is to incorporate this guidance into your daily life and spiritual practice. Make sticky notes for yourself and place them in prominent locations as reminders, create a mantra to use in your meditation practice, or place on your bedside table a souvenir or travel photo as reminder of your spiritual journey. The key is to keep the lessons at the top of your awareness and practice them until it becomes second nature.
Is your soul nudging you to go forth and grow? Spiritual growth and evolution are ready and waiting to be your travel companion. Whether it’s a jaunt up the street or a pilgrimage to the other side of the globe, dare to stray from the ordinary, flirt with the unfamiliar, and see things from a new vantage point.