Travel has the opportunity to save and feed the soul. I will also be bold enough to say ‘save a life‘. Personally, I have always been open to adventure and travel but in the depths of my struggles, it was the furthest thing from my mind. I struggled with motivation and needed to know the time, food, and agenda. Travel and experience are so helpful not only for one’s mental health but for recovery. It forces one out of their comfort zone. We are able to witness other cultures’ relationships with food. There is a true appreciation and love for eating together, preparing, and celebrating.
Once in Spain, I was able to take a cooking class. I was in awe of the preparation and gathering of everyone eating from the same big bowl. It was such a beautiful experience, almost ritualistic. I get it not everyone is going to hop on a plane and go to Europe nor does anyone need to but breaking routine is important. Structure, although helpful, can also keep us rigid and stuck. When we travel, we are more open to trying new foods, exploring new territory, and actually, being nicer as a person. The next time you go somewhere even an hour away observe your overall mood.
Travel and vacations are needed not because we are trying to escape or feel like we earned something but to cultivate play, perspective, and fun.
Travel to wake up your inner child
Curiosity is always a good starting point. The term inner child gets thrown around, especially in therapy. If I were to simply put it, I would ask, how do you play? How do you cultivate joy? If you have children or have watched them play the world is a beautiful place filled with adventure and exploring. Items like a hula hoop and bubbles provide hours of fun and entertainment. I often tell my clients what did you enjoy as a child? This can be hard to connect to depending on history and or trauma. I have clients that make time to color, do puzzles, paint, and be in nature.
Heal your relationship with food
I am not the most adventurous person when it comes to food. Honestly, I eat like a five-year-old. However, when I travel I do tend to be more curious, flexible, and open to the cuisine. I attempt to integrate this when I return home. Taking food aside, I become more observant of the language around meals in different countries. No one is talking about the need to rid themselves of the meal or calories. If anything there is a discussion about dessert after and the true appreciation for the meal.
Life is hard. Responsibilities and being a functioning adult are difficult and we don’t get trophies for existing (I looked into it). I am a true believer in that we don’t give ourselves enough credit. There are internal and external pressures that are hard to navigate. I am an advocate of travel and know everyone can learn through the opportunity. Again, I do understand resources are not always available but a small step in breaking routine can benefit. It’s important to celebrate the small moments and most importantly celebrate ourselves!