Traveling set in my soul at a young age. There is a certain magic that comes with transporting to new surroundings and landscapes. Maybe it’s a type of escapism, but one thing I know is it brings people together who experience it with each other. Even if my daughter and I go somewhere locally, the act of going into a new surrounding clears our slates and brings us back together in connection.
In June, we set off for a great California adventure. We stuck to our budget, replacing the huge costs of Disney and Universal Studios with the wax museum and learning how to handle waves in Huntington Beach. We manged to see all of the possible landscapes that California has to offer driving from Ontario up to San Francisco through the dry valley and taking the 1 back down from Cisco to Big Sur, then cutting across back over to L.A. and down to San Diego. We made it through fatigue, seeing the realities of the city, being accosted in Venice Beach by a group of men, teaching daughter how to deal with people from all walks of life, how to stay safe in general in different situations and then how to stay safe specifically as a female. We learned how to determine what areas of town are safe, how to pick up on shifts with people, how to avoid certain situations and how to express loving kindness through all the chaos and confusion. Being that I come from a background of advocacy for people experiencing homelessness and mental health, it was a rare gift to be in a state that is so replete with homelessness so that I could teach her the ins and outs of what it means and how to navigate through it. We talked about how to deal with life in a sober way, tools that help us get through our struggles, what happens that causes someone to loose housing, what possibly causes are behind chronic homelessness, racism in our system and how to advocate for what is right and the hugest part we learned was loving others no matter what their circumstances are. After the hard life lessons we had a lot of fun at the Boardwalk on Santa Cruz, watching sea lions, visiting with friends, how to book and stay at Air b n b’s, how to ride waves and many other experiences. I just want to touch on the therapeutic aspects of traveling there though. The beauty of traveling is connection. Not only the connection that happens with the people we are traveling with but connection to the earth and the inhabitants of our planet. When we experience the life of a subject versus reading about it, we embody a piece of that subject. For instance, we can read about homelessness all day long but to be in the middle of it, to being sharing space with a whole street of people living in tents, you now are a part of it. It changes you, you can feel for someone when you are in the same space as them. If there is any interaction at all, that becomes a real situation. When we hung out with the wild sea lions at the dock in Santa Cruz, we watched their behavior, We saw them basking in the sun and saw the mother of a pup worry about the pup and leaped across four other grown sea lions to get to pup. We learned about their capacity for caring for one another, that they like to sleep during the day in the sun, heard their alarm systems and saw how each other responded to each cry. Had I read about this on the internet, I probably wouldn’t be talking about it right now but seeing and being with them in their space, i now know a few things about sea lions that I will always remember because I experienced watching them with my daughter, we had a discussion about them, laughed at their funny calls, and shared our time in that moment. Traveling took us out of our heads, provided us with real time, novel moments, provided topics we could ponder together and revealed our hearts to each other. We both got lost in the moment, shedding doubt, fear, clinging to the past, etc. Traveling is like meditation that way, you let go of ego to experience what is. You keep coming back to the present moment of what is happening to you now. I suggest traveling when ever you get a chance. Just go and experience life.
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