How Travel Improves Body-Mind-Spirit
These Bolivian citizens are patiently waiting their turn to hopefully buy a few gallons of gas where we are visiting right now. Many times, these increasingly frightfully gas-scarce days in this country overflowing with natural beauty and exotic surprise at every bend in the road, there is NO gasoline in the rural town of Mezque (a few hours drive from urban Cochabamba) to be found this day in November, 2023.
Not because of the final days of petroleum availability, that’s yet to come as we scramble to replace it with other forms of energy to run cars and other engines reliant on fossil fuels.
The shortage in some parts of Bolivia at this time is entirely the result of a political blockade put in place by one internal faction which disagrees with another social faction. Who’s right and who’s wrong depends on which side of the political spectrum one happens to be.
The same thing that’s happening in the political divide back home in the USA . Exactly the same, only so far we Americans, unlike the more emotional Latin Americans, have not resorted to a nation-wide blockade that denies many supplies such as gasoline and food, seriously affecting every single person, from country-dwelling subsistence farmers to city-dwelling sophisticates.
The only way through this uncomfortable situation is to have patience and acceptance as the political oppponents work through their problems. The last blockade in Bolivia, earlier this past spring we are told, lasted 21 days. So far this particular anti-government protest organized by secular factions and using crude methods to block roads such as thick tree trunks and witchy-looking branches instead of steel and armored barricades, is already three weeks long.
Visiting other countries – whether for short guided tours or a lengthy self-planned journey – always brings challenges. Every traveler knows ahead of time, if they’ve been Somewhere Else besides “home” that they’ll see, hear, taste, feel and generally sense such an array of different things that to many, can often be disorienting. Taking comfort with an organized, pre-planned guide alleviates a lot, placing the responsibility of where, when, and how in others’ hands. The tourist industry thrives on helping others experience the new and strange, and deals with every situation with few mistakes. Many wonderful people make their living being guides, and in some countries, such as Bolivia, Tourism is even a field that offers a university degree.
But for my love Carter and myself, we prefer to discover a place using our own instincts, knowledge, and resourcefulness. Thus, we are challenged in more immediate ways, being forced to use our own judgment and discernment, rather than paying others to create itineraries for us, find places of interest, and choose a good place to sleep and eat. All these things bring with them, at often numerous times each day, many opportunities to exercise our free will.
Of course traveling in a country where another language is spoken brings additional challenges. Besides language barriers, the customs and norms of a place can present anything from a pleasant surprise to harrowing shocks, and not knowing what is going on, or what is expected of oneself can bring additional pressures to any unusual situation.
Being in a strange place, with new and unknown inhabitants, circumnavigating a social scene that takes its usual citizens often a lifetime to become accomplished in – all these and much more make traveling in foreign places one of the best ways to acquire traits like patience, acceptance, and most of all – joy.
Without all three of these characteristics, travel is difficult. Let’s look at some obvious reasons why.
Without patience, a person resorts to either frustration or judgment, sometimes both, instead of realizing that another way of being, demonstrated by people living elsewhere than what has grown customary to YOU, might enlighten your understanding of life’s possibilities.
Developing an attitude of openness and acceptance of another way of being is a sure recipe for expanding your level of awareness. And guess what? The more aware and awake you are, in your perceptions, your consciousness – the more JOY you become capable of.
Life’s surprising reward, when one cultivates patience and acceptance, is the bliss of inner joy. It happens when one lets-go of needing things to be the way you want them to be, and realize instead that each moment of existence, yours and anybody else’s, is a precious gift. Exactly the way it is.
This attitude of seeing joy everywhere one turns, even in so-called “bad” or “uncomfortable” situations, is an example of a healthy balance of a person’ s physical (the body), mental (the mind, including emotions), and the spiritual (that part of us that is eternal and connected to All – our awakened, ever-expanding consciousness).
I’d love to hear what you think about this. Leave a comment, please and be sure to visit me on YouTube, where I offer MindStillers, short guided trips to – you got it! – patience, acceptance, and joy.
In Spirit, teZa