How To Be An Enlightened Traveler: Bringing Back More Than Just A Souvenir

Your history, your culture, your belief systems, and the physical place you live all impact the way you think.

Even the climate you’re in, the government around you, and the religions in your area are factors that color your life experiences.

You may not see your every day life being affected, but it is.

The world around you seeps into your mind and changes how you understand life. And your experiences continue the process of shaping who you are.

Do you believe in love, family, money, power, magic, dreams, friendship, chi, science? The list is endless.

And every option offers a new way of thinking, which in turn offers a new way of living.

Personal & spiritual development are internal processes, but they’re also highly impacted by what happens in the world around you.

If you only see one piece of the world, you are basing everything off of that one piece. You are closing yourself off from outside knowledge…

But if you travel outside of your sphere, you open your mind up to millions of new opportunities and ways of thinking!

Why limit your knowledge of higher concepts and the expression of your highest potential to only what you’re able to experience in one place?

Why stop yourself from seeing the world as others might see it?

As J.R.R. Tolkien put it, “It’s a dangerous business, Frodo, going outside your door…You step into the Road, and if you don’t keep your feet, there’s no knowing where you might be swept off to.”

Learning about other cultures is dangerous to a closed mind. It will shatter your perception that your way of life is the only way.

But isn’t that the whole point?

You Can Hang On, Or You Can Let Go

Whenever you travel, you’re greeted with two options:

  1. You can try to make wherever you’re traveling as similar to your home as possible. You can only eat the food you understand, try the activities you’re already familiar with, and ignore aspects of the culture you don’t immediately connect with.

Or…

  1. You can let anything and everything affect you. You can try new foods and take new journeys. You can absorb as much of another culture as possible, hold it against your life, and see what’s different. You can embrace ideas you’ve never thought of before, and grow into an evolved version of yourself.

In the first scenario, you’ll have a good time, and then life will return to normal when you get home.

But in the second scenario, you open yourself up to be “swept off” and impacted by whatever you saw, experienced, and learned. You give yourself the chance to absorb other ideas.

Then you can look at everything new from your perspective and choose to absorb what you feel fuels the development of your path towards self mastery and spiritual enlightenment.

People Think Differently In Different Places

Although there are many similarities in the way humanity views life, different people in different places tend to see things uniquely.

This gets more extreme as you move further from your home base. Going to a new country offers more dramatic changes than traveling to a new place in the country you already call home.

As you extend further from home, you’ll start to notice how foreign and unique people’s beliefs, cultures, and traditions become.

An important aspect of spiritual enlightenment is seeking truth and understanding of a greater reality.

Learning about other cultures and belief systems is a great way to expand on that!

When you listen to what other people believe, especially people who come from a different way of life than you, you are opening your mind to a broader reality.

When you travel, you are seeking insights from other religions, cultures, and people, and trying to understand a greater reality than you know today. That is spiritual enlightenment at its best!

It’s Not Just People, But Places And Events Too

People today aren’t the only source to learn from!

Events that took place thousands of years ago hold just as many new belief systems and interesting stories as things happening today.

Maybe a war took place over how people felt others should be treated. Or a spiritual site for ritualistic worship is still around. Maybe old political events took place in a historic building that changed the way people lived day-to-day life.

Although these events are long gone, their effects still ripple out over time. Look at how their history might be affecting you today. Or how they thought differently, or similarly, to the people living in that region now.

Just as you are affected by your surroundings, so is everyone else. These events that have long since passed, played a role in how life unfolded.

Absorb this information and let it affect you. Sometimes something that happened thousands of years ago will inspire a thought that will lead you to great discoveries.

Often, spiritual concepts were seen as much more real and tangible long ago. This might give you a completely new perspective on spirituality that you never saw coming.

Delving into history will allow your mind to expand for a greater understanding of people and events, as well as spiritual understandings and core truths.

Natural Wonders Are Just As Important

Learning about people, cultures, events, history, and beliefs are all fantastic venues for spiritual and personal growth.

But we can never forget the raw power of nature.

Nothing inspires awe quite like nature. It’s powerful and vast, strong and unwavering, adaptive and stunning.

And everywhere you go offers different aspects of it.

One of the most inspiring parts of travel can be the natural wonders you see.

And although it won’t speak to you verbally, the feelings and images nature transmits are every bit as powerful and enlightening.

When you see a grand natural wonder, you can’t help but be moved by it. And that feeling carries its own ability to enhance your way of living.

You can’t forget the magnificence of that mountain, or that sunset, or that ocean. It moves you too deeply.

So you carry its beauty and grandness with you, and it fuels you when you return to daily life.

Seek out nature’s lessons, because that incredible vista can affect you just as much as an incredible talk with someone.

You might even be able to hear yourself better in nature.

Often the powerful serenity calms down your mind and allows you to hear yourself in a better way. You might just have that “ah-ha” moment you’ve been looking for.

Find time to notice everything nature has to offer, because every place is unique and exquisite.

Traveling Can Help You Understand Yourself

Although a lot of new information and ideas come flooding through from other people and places when you travel, you also get to learn more about yourself.

By having new experiences, you give yourself opportunities to discover new things about yourself!

Part of personal development is understanding yourself in relation to new ideas and experiences.

Traveling offers many opportunities for exciting occurrences and difficult troubles. Both help you grow!

The risk of reaching out and traveling is bound to teach you about yourself and test you on what you already know.

As you’re learning about other people and cultures, you’ll also be learning about yourself.

Evolve, Don’t Mimic

If you chose to go and absorb the full experience of other cultures as you travel, you will absolutely change and grow.

And although growth is a major goal, you want to be sure you don’t get transformed into what someone else believes at the expense of being true to yourself.

As you learn more about the vast world around you, it is easy to get caught up in what other people think is true…

But if you only believe it because they are so sure, you’re not growing, you’re just switching one belief for another based on other people’s opinions and passions.

But when you know yourself, you are able to add to your understanding of life and enhance it, not exchange it.

When you remain true to your internal compass, you evolve your belief into something that honestly fits you. You don’t end up mimicking someone else’s beliefs.

And so you become a more enlightened and vibrant version of yourself.

Our Journey To China

We went to China!

And have lots of intriguing info on yin/yang energy, the elements, and qigong in general.

You can read about those hidden gems here.

We’re so excited to share how this traveling experience has helped us uncover more about ourselves, the greater reality, and different cultures and ways of life.

One of the major things we’ve been most interested in learning about for a long time is the Chinese view of medicine, energy, and internal power. We were fortunate enough to go with a renowned Grandmaster of qigong and visit Wudang Mountain, the birthplace of Taoism.

It’s one of the main reasons we wanted to travel to China!

So we will  It’s going to be fascinating!

And of course, since we love natural beauty intensely, we will share lots of pictures of nature’s magic! A trip isn’t complete for us without taking time to bask in nature’s beauty.

By | 2018-05-28T17:03:24+00:00 November 4th, 2015|Culture, Life Advice, Travel|0 Comments

About the Author:

Our big dream is to help transform the world we live in, into the something more we all know it can be, by helping people live a more spiritual and fulfilled life. At Modern Monks, we do our best to share helpful and actionable tips, strategies, advice, and practices that comes from looking at that greater truth inside all of us.

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