Before I embarked to Europe, I spent a long time on the Internet researching packing lists for travel. I cross-referenced common items and bookmarked ingenious packing hacks (an empty lipstick tube is a good place to hide valuables). I packed my bags and I was good to go. At least, I thought I was.
During my first week in Europe, I felt so utterly underprepared. I was confused. Then it dawned on me, I neglected the most important thing.
Forget the bottled shampoo. Below are five travel essentials only you can bring for a mentally, emotionally and spiritually richer experience.
1. Your permission
Your permission is powerful. When you let the travel experience to infuse you with the unfamiliar sensations, you make room for transformation. It also lessons anxious thoughts of potential what ifs and protects your well-being. Your permission is not a blanket yes; it enables you to say no as well. It takes care of you.
2. Your pluck
To make room for transformation, you need courage. Travel puts people outside their comfort zones. I always talked big about travelling until it was time for me to put my dream into action. That is a bold decision. Your pluck gets you to take the first step, then the next, and then the next. Without my pluck, I would not have left my home country and followed my feet around the streets of Europe.
3. Your patience
A little patience goes a long way. I’m not just talking about the long queues for tickets to that show, or the crying baby in the cafe. I’m talking about being patient with your self. It is easy to cram too many visits to tourist destinations in one trip. Remember the old adage of quality over quantity. My patience avoided the inevitable rush to hotspots for bragging rights. When you are patient you open yourself to an authentic travel experience that is one of depth, not superficiality.
4. Your presence
Travel requires you without distractions. Drop the electronics and get that cyber-foot out of your homeland and onto the foreign land you stand on. Being mindful of your surroundings provide opportunities to enrich and be enriched. Look up and you will see the street performer and a child dancing in Covent Garden. A deep sniff will lead you to the best coffee and cake combination you ever had in Berlin. Be silent and you will hear the distant roar of the past spectators at the Colosseum. Travel is a master class in being in the moment.
5. Your place
During the first few days of Europe, I was terrifyingly homesick. I even looked up flights to home on my first day in London. Understandably so, I had emerged out of the familiars of my home. Being mobile meant I had to rethink my concept of my place. My place was not the four walls that make a house. My place resided with me in my purpose. Understanding this, I was rejuvenated. We may feel hopeless and lost. Yet, being lost can help you clarify your place in the world. You can only do so by stepping into the unknown.
Travel is a good place to start.
– Image: Steven Lewis