Should one decide to leave ones current and comfortable life, in pursuit of something unknown, and specifically (in this case) in foreign lands for variable amounts of time — it should be warned than any of the following may result, and that such effects are the full responsibility of the person, and that the world (nor solbeam or her affiliates) may not be held liable for these consequences.
1. New taste for the simplicity of food. Physically seeing (maybe for the first time) where food comes from and watching (or partaking) in the harvesting of it may give you new respect for the beauty of that process. You may become suddenly disturbed by the idea of eating anything that is plastic-wrapped, “instant,” or chemically manufactured. Instead, you might be more inclined to chose those items you can pick off trees and out of the ground — those foods that you can see whole and were naturally made perfect for nourishment. Also, travelling through countries where people who have so little food, and witnessing their heartfelt appreciation of what they do have — may inspire admiration, if not a change in your own relationship with something you may have been previously taken for granted.
2.Conscious Living. As a direct result of placing yourself in completely foreign and unknown environments, you may find yourself with heightened awareness of your senses and life. Because everything (sights, smells, touches, tastes) in a different place IS different, you will actually notice and appreciate those differences. You might actually even feel as if you are “awake” for the very first time. This new heightened awareness, or conscious living, might even be carried back with you when you revisit those places you thought yourself familiar with. Things may not have changed, but your perception of them might and though your physical travels may discontinue, your new appreciation of life may tread onward.
3. Disinterest in materialism. After travelling, you may find yourself holding a pair of nylons or a tie in your hand, staring at it quizzically and asking, “why?” Material possessions may lose their logic…and therefore their luster. Excess of money may be seen only as “binding” to responsibilities you no longer desire. Cars and houses and other such items may become commitments you no longer want to agree to. On the road you may even acquire a renewed interest in bartering. You may begin to take greater joy in the personal exchange of services for services and find new respect for the beauty of putting “love” into something you make, and receiving in return, something that was made with “love.”
4. Heightened sense of intuition. As your prior concepts of everything “that the world is” are suddenly confronted with conflicting realities, you may begin to lose faith in the world your senses have created thus far. As you realize that not all things are as they appear, you may increasingly rely on how you “feel” in response to things – seeking direction within your intuition. And if this “feeling” proves itself trustworthy, you may become increasing dependent on IT to find Truth in everything.
5. Increased concern for the environment. As you begin to experience the innumerable pleasures of this Earth, and perhaps for the first time witness the devastating effects of the human race’s misuse of those resources, you may become seriously concerned about the future of the environment. When, for instance, you walk out of jungle trek, and see acres of it being ripped from its roots; or when you see a whale shark, and then learn that their population has decreased by 90% due to water pollution; or when you witness the crippling diseases of an entire community of people because of air pollution — not only may you begin to question the endurance of this earth, but also your personal responsibility to care for and maintain it.
6. Respect for the intelligence of nature. Being subject to both the beauty and power of nature may change your personal relationship with it. Finding yourself at its mercy at some point in your travels is entirely likely. And this confrontation may justify a new overwhelming respect for life. In the midst of jungles, mountains, oceans and deserts, witnessing the ecosystem at work first hand may bring to mind a list of unanswerable questions in regards to who or what is really orchestrating this melody of intelligence. You may be subject to a renewed interest in the cosmos, and the questions behind it. You may no longer need Ansel Adams in your living room, for after witnessing such glimpses of beauty regularly, you may recognize his gallery as petty…at least in comparison to the living one in your mind.
|“Stop”- A sign in Morocco|
8. Self-Dependency. Traveling takes courage, passion, endurance, independence and an immense amount of self-dependency. Although these qualities within may not be initially recognized, it takes all of them JUST to get on the plane. And then, through continual and rigorous on-the-road application – these traits begin to strengthen and solidify. You might suddenly find yourself feeling strong, solid, complete and capable of anything. You might even find yourself adverse to old ideas of finding someone else to “complete yourself” and instead find a new passionate relationship with life that fills an emptiness that may have once misidentified. Self-recognition as a complete and whole person, independent of names, relations, and histories that you may have previously identified yourself with, could bring unlimited personal freedom.
9. Humility as an American. As you learn the sometimes devastating and self-interested role the hand of the American government has played in the destruction and corruption of the countries you travel in, you may feel shame, as well as anger for the Government and Media that has hidden this history from you. You may suddenly become aware of the “Ugly & Ignorant American” stereotype walls that you will have to peacefully break down in interactions with many people of different nationalities. And you may suddenly feel guilt for the wealth of your nation upon the understanding of how that wealth was acquired and the alarming rate of its continued consumption of the world’s resources.
10. The possibility of a major change in career or educational direction. Your former and formal education and/or training may suddenly change in perceived value. As you recognize and appreciate it for its role in bringing you to the place you are now, you might begin to feel that your “learning” has really just begun. While travelling, you may receive your most important lessons from teachers who are not literate or you may make your most startling self-realization in complete silence while watching a sunrise. There is also the possibility of discovering of new passions or missions that could prompt you to disregard or deny *former* life plans in exchange for taking pursuit of something that “speaks to your soul.”
11. Addiction to constant stimuli. At first, new worlds may feel overwhelming. But as you begin to recognize patterns in them and become accustomed to the constant bombardment of new stimuli – you may find yourself becoming “comfortable with being uncomfortable.” You may even become addicted to the high of having your limits pushed and may find yourself craving that constant and ever-upward learning curve. A former lifestyle — and its habits and customs — may suddenly become scrutinized, and parts of it may no longer hold your attention or be deemed deserving of your energy.
12. Questioning Authority. As you begin to witness first hand the international issues of prostitution, poverty, religious prosecution, political corruption, environmental destruction, etc. you may begin to question every “fact” you’ve been told and every “statistic” you’ve heard quoted. You may begin to wonder how this overwhelming reality presenting itself to you right now could ever be contained in one quote or statistic. How the rest of the world could not be immediately concerned, or even aware, of what is happening might become baffling. And more importantly than questioning what you have been told, you may begin to seriously question what you HAVEN’T been told – and who has and hasn’t been telling you those things. In addition to questioning all the “authorities” in your life, you may come to the decision that the only conclusions you can have faith in are those that you know intimately yourself.
13. Feeling “different.” Society and its players may subject you to the titles of “crazy”, “weird”, “irresponsible”, “lost”, “nuts” or “odd.” The fact that you have chosen to pursue something that 99.99% of world doesn’t have either the opportunity or desire to pursue, will forever and irrevocably make you “different.” This feeling, when analyzed while under the influence of the paradigm of a particular society, can lead to feelings of discomfort BUT, on the road, and in the presence of other like soul-seekers, nothing (and I mean nothing) will ever feel so right or so good.
14. Mental freedom. As you begin to really live your life, fear of dying loses its influence on you. You may begin to think, “If I died tomorrow, at least I died living.” The words “I could” and/or “I would” may be replaced in your vocabulary with “I do” and “I am.” A growing history of personal conquests may give you a silent confidence that you will be able to confront, succeed, and learn from all those challenges that life chooses to present before you. Every event, every person, every place – becomes an opportunity for self-discovery. And simply knowing that you tried, and gave it all the chance you could — may lead you to the realization that the “outcome” was — all along — inconsequential. And finally, direct and unrelenting pursuit of your personal potential in this life might result in senses of peace and joy that may completely overwhelm your being.
Editor’s Note: It should be noted that this disclaimer was created only via the perception of one person and her specifically, “travel-oriented” perspective. It is entirely likely that these same effects may be experienced through other different — but entirely equal in value — activities. The boundaries of this earth and all that one can do within it are limitless. Those individuals choosing to pursue their potential in life (and the adventures wherein) will be held entirely responsible and liable for all enlightenments and revelations revealed through those experiments. Those said individuals will also hold the utmost respect and admiration on the part of the author of this disclaimer.
www.solbeam.com: Equipped with only a backpack and blog, “sol” has spent the last four years traversing six continents and over 40 countries in hot pursuit of the Meaning of Life. Says she won’t stop till she understands her place in this Universe. And thus, with an eternal quest, the perpetual pilgrim treads on…