Self-healing through travel is one of the most human things we can do. Experiencing new places, people, and foods feeds our mind, body, and soul. We are meant to travel, and finding ourselves on the trail is part of the process of life. Traveling heals us in many ways. Roaming feeds our inner nomads, heals our deceptions and divisions, makes us grateful for home, teaches us what is important, and gives us experience — which is the root of all wisdom.

Self-Healing Through Travel Experiences

Most articles about self-healing through travel focus on travel experiences and the impact they can have on you. If you are on a journey seeking self-healing through travel, it’s almost a sure thing that you will experience what you seek.

The things you see and do will absolutely change you. If you are wise, you will treat travel as an opportunity to learn and explore all that calls to your heart. The constant novelty of travel provides a shifting backdrop that allows for new insights into the past and where we long to go. Be open to synchronicities and let your journey take unexpected turns.

It isn’t only the pleasant experiences of travel that will help you heal. Traveling isn’t always easy, and sometimes it forces you into a situation that pushes you. The challenges of travel build resilience. Although they don’t usually make the highlight reel on Instagram, self-healing through travel challenges is one of the best reasons to roam.

Self-healing through travel - watercolor painting showing full moon and sun suspended in balance on either side of a highway by Ella Boleynn
“Self-healing through travel” watercolor by Ella Boleynn

Self-Healing Our Inner Nomad Through Travel

Throughout most of history, humans were nomadic. They didn’t roam aimlessly; they moved with the seasons. In the summer months, they moved to colder areas, taking advantage of hunting and foraging grounds that would be inhospitable during the winter. In the winter months, they moved to warmer areas to continue subsisting off of the land without the added burden of extreme winter weather. Even as people began settling in communities and civilizations, it was not uncommon for entire communities to pack up and move for certain portions of the year.

When we travel, we are tapping into this evolutionary nomadic adaptation. We are feeding our very human need to move, to experience, to see. We were not meant to grow stagnant in one place. We were not meant to accumulate the weight of a million possessions. We were meant to migrate with the seasons.

Much of my own travel takes me throughout the Mississippi River Valley and the watershed of Lake Michigan. I was born in the heart of this region. Now, I find myself living in the northern portion. The wildlife and plants are similar even though they move in different cycles.

Bald eagles migrate between my new home and my old home. Like all migratory birds, they move with the seasons. As I have traveled this valley with them, I’ve realized just how human it is to follow the migratory birds. We were made to travel. If you feel restless or stuck, try self-healing through travel.

Self-Healing Our Deceptions and Divisions Through Travel

I hesitate to call myself a conspiracy theorist, but reality is far more nuanced than any of us would like to believe. It is certainly far more nuanced than the media and our elected officials want us to believe. The divisions in our nation are growing wider and wider every day, and I believe it is intentional. I also believe that the best way to become aware of reality is to see it with your own eyes.

Traveling opens our eyes to the world. When we go somewhere new, we become acquainted with the people, the culture, and the policies that impact them. As I have traveled throughout the past three years, I have been struck over and over again by the fact that the narrative on our screens rarely matches what I experience and see happening on the ground. Usually, the stories are twisted just a bit — just enough to make us all a bit hysterical and more susceptible to being controlled.

What has been most interesting to me is that there have been two vastly different COVID / post-COVID experiences depending on where you live in the country. Typically, we hear people breaking these divisions down along party lines, but it is also dictated largely by population density wherever you live. People who live in big cities have been fear-mongered and traumatized far more than those who live in rural areas, and people who don’t travel have no idea that the experience they personally lived is not universal.

Travel forces us to consult the realities of the world and see the reality of the deceptions we’ve believed. It allows us to heal our divisions and connect with people we normally wouldn’t. It isn’t through the news that you learn of what is happening in your country; it is through travel.

Healing Our Homes Through Travel

I love self-healing through travel, but there will always be something about coming home. When we sleep in our own bed, we sleep more soundly. When we shop at our local small businesses, we appreciate them more. Traveling helps us see the similarities and differences between our home community and the ones we visit, which encourages gratitude for home.

We all choose home for different reasons, and traveling allows us to become more conscious about the reasons we choose it. Of course, it’s possible you may find a new home in your travels. If home isn’t the right place for you, travel will help you find where you belong. Setting down roots and nesting are human needs just as much as roaming, and travel will help you decide the best place to call home. Tend to home with devotion and it will welcome you from all your journeys.

Remembering What is Important

Self-healing through travel is hard work, especially in the beginning. Just keeping track of all of your stuff can be a challenge. You learn pretty early on that you have to minimize. First, you start cutting dead weight in your wardrobe, and that feels good. Then, you start cutting dead weight among your other possessions, and that feels even better. And that’s when you start cutting the dead weight in your life. Traveling gently encourages us to recognize what is important and to get rid of the things that aren’t. Cutting dead weight is a big part of the traveler’s life.

Experience Breeds Wisdom

Life is for living. The whole point is to learn, grow, and have experiences. You can spend a lifetime accumulating things, and you will end up with a massive auction. Or you can spend a lifetime accumulating experiences, and you will end up with wisdom. Go out and do things so that you can become the best version of yourself you can.

Traveling is an opportunity to open your horizons to new people, new foods, new places, and new ways of being. Allow travel to change you; allow travel to heal you; allow travel to teach you.

When I first started this blog a decade ago, I knew I wanted to write important things, but the truth is, I just hadn’t lived enough to do so. You can’t get to the deeper parts of life unless you embrace experience. Living the traveler’s life has had a profound impact on my own journey of growth and transformation, and I truly believe that travel is a form of medicine and education that we all need.

In Conclusion:

Self-healing through travel is a literal and metaphorical journey. Healing doesn’t end when you become well; it can just finally focus on actualization rather than disease. No matter where you are on your self-healing journey, travel is an excellent tool to have in your toolkit.

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