One Word – Day 29 of the 30 Days of Indie Travel Project

Prompt #29: ONE WORD

What does travel mean to you in one word?  

Tools and inspiration:  Read about what some of our favorite travelers said when we asked why they love travel

30 Days of Indie Travel Project: How to Participate

We’re inviting bloggers from around the world (that means you, too!) to join us in a daily blogging effort designed to reflect on how our travel experiences over the last year – or whenever – have shaped us and our view of the world. Bloggers can follow the prompts as strictly or loosely as they like, interpreting them in various ways and responding via text, photos or video posted on their own blogs.

We’ll share some of our favorites via Twitter and Facebook throughout November, as well as a round-up article at the end of the month, so if you’re playing along make sure to let us know – use the #indie30 hashtag on Twitter, and link to30 Days of Indie Travel Project in your post so we’ll be able to find it.

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Find out all of the 30 Days of Indie Travel blogging prompts so far – it’s never too late to join in the fun!

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  • Erin Stoy said at 2011-12-01T15:57:24+0000: If I had to pick one word that encapsulated what travel means to me I would have to pick Presence. When I travel I've found the most memorable, most lasting impressions of a place or my experience were in moments of complete presence. Like the unexpected late summer rain storm in Paris one October day. I had just left the Louvre and felt fuzzy headed and a bit overwhelmed by hours of wandering through centuries of art and history. I was eating my packed lunch on the lawn when a dark, ominous cloud quickly moved overhead. I jumped up, threw my rain jacket and my pack cover on and watched as the rain started in large drops and then progressed to sheets of piercing, cold rain. Not far from where I stood a scattering of people with umbrellas stood under a cluster of large trees. I hurried there and huddled under the shelter, watching the rain pour down. After a few minutes people began to leave the shelter until I and one man remained. We struck up a conversation where he shared with me, briefly, his story of moving from Lebanon during the war and his life in Paris. We parted after a few moments when the sun was just beginning to peek out of the clouds and I felt refreshed by the rain and the conversation. That moment, more than any museum or piece of art or landmark, has remained crystal clear in my mind. In that small moment I felt a powerful connection with place and life, and what that Lebonese man gave me in simple conversation and kindness will never be forgotten.These times of presence, when there is attention to the details of the moment, when concern for the past or the future is forgotten and the mind is quiet - this is what travel means to me. Travel, with the constant change and newness, can easily become about doing rather than being. I get caught up in the internal pressure of "needing" to see everything. But even in those moments where I fall exhausted into bed after running around from one museum to the next, being the ambitious toursit, I'm brought back to presence. And while traveling, even the lack of presence, is a lesson. While staying in Barcelona for an overnight visit I decided to visit Montserrat Monastery, about an hour from the city. The night before I made my plans, calculated the train times and when I would need to be back in order to make my departure time and was generally well organized for the following day. The next day everything ran smoothly with a few minor blips and I found myself at the top of Montserrat on a cloudy, foggy and cool November day. Whether it was from my sense of urgency around ensuring I would get back in time or something else entirely, I found myself rushing around the mountain like a dog chasing after every fleeting scent. In the few hours I was there I had the sense that I was seeing everything but nothing. I couldn't relax. I couldn't enjoy and even had the thought, "I just wish I could be present". Which is comical as all I had to do was stop moving, stop chasing after every little thing and be in the moment.Not long after my experience in Montserrat I found myself in a small seaside village in Sicily. I stepped inside the Duomo and sat for a time without any sense of urgency. In that moment of stillness I felt the presence I had been longing for in Montserrat. It was a reminder to toss out the agenda from time to time, to listen to that inner voice and simply be.