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Different inside, same outside

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We talk a lot about traveling to some place, planning a journey, going on an adventure and experiencing something new – but, we don’t spend a lot of time on the re-entry. Sure, we all mention it as the jet-lag from a cross-country journey or the ‘back to work’ exhaustion after a fabulous trip, but re-entry is something altogether different. Somehow, after a life-changing experience, you return to the place you live, the job you have, the friends you’ve made and the day to day thoughts and activities of old, but something is very different. You think others have changed. Actions seem different and something, you don’t quite know what, is amiss. Eventually, you figure out, the different is you. You’re still the same person on the outside, but you are inherently changed.

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Sometimes, we have this same experience without leaving the post code, state or country. Whether by force or by choice, many venture on a journey of discovery that involves more the use of an internal passport than a tangible one. A girlfriend takes up running and it becomes a force in her life that completely changes her thought patterns. Dad takes up cycling and has a crew to ride with regularly. You take a class that changes your thinking or read a book on philosophy and meditation that sends you on a journey searching for new amidst the old.

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A friend of mine (who happens to be a therapist) believes in the ‘coke machine’ theory. When our actions and reactions become different, those close to us don’t know why. Perhaps our newfound perspective develops over time. Perhaps we don’t even have the reasons for it yet or fully understand the changes involved. Perhaps our world view becomes bigger, we’re finding more balance, learning new things and changing our attitudes. When those on the outside can visually see the changes, it’s one story. New puppy, new family, new house, a move, a shift, a crisis – those milestones and moments are visible to the others in our lives. But what happens when you can’t outwardly see the changes? It’s almost as if that travel re-entry is taking place at home. Same person, different outlook. Now what? Does your old tribe still fit? Can you find a way to meld the new you with your old?

“Life is only as good as your mindset” – unknown

Your journey takes you in different directions, introduces you to new people, various mindsets, divergent viewpoints and other ways of life. That re-entry happens daily as you find ways to work your old tribe into the new, figure out the twists and turns of this new path and cultivate the new your without losing the parts of the old you’d like to keep. Somehow, the experience that takes you out of your comfort zone feels awful and exhilarating at the same time. This organic growth process changes your brain, frustrates you and livens your spirit simultaneously.

“No matter where you are in your journey, you are exactly where you need to be” -Oprah Winfrey

For some of us the adventure continues over months, years and even decades. For others, who follow more of the ‘rip off the bandaid’ method, it’s quick. No matter whether the road you’re on takes you across oceans and continents or you remain within your same four walls, you’re taking a trip and the re-entry process is real. Whether you’re diving into yoga, taking up robotics, learning to paint, becoming more active, trying acupuncture, taking on a new sport, writing poetry or have decided to quit your job and travel the world – you’re on your way, you’re changing, you’re growing and somewhere, along the way, you’re bound to figure out what’s important to the you of today, what makes your spirit soar and how this present version of you chooses to see the world. The journey isn’t easy – but it’s definitely worth it!

“It always seems impossible until it’s done” – Nelson Mandela

Where has your journey taken you? I’d love to hear your story.

Oh the Places You’ll Go! – by Dr. Seuss

Congratulations!
Today is your day.
You’re off to Great Places!
You’re off and away!

You have brains in your head.
You have feet in your shoes.
You can steer yourself
any direction you choose.
You’re on your own. And you know what you know.
And YOU are the guy who’ll decide where to go.

You’ll look up and down streets. Look ’em over with care.
About some you will say, “I don’t choose to go there.”
With your head full of brains and your shoes full of feet,
you’re too smart to go down any not-so-good street.

And you may not find any
you’ll want to go down.
In that case, of course,
you’ll head straight out of town.

It’s opener there
in the wide open air.

Out there things can happen
and frequently do
to people as brainy
and footsy as you.

And then things start to happen,
don’t worry. Don’t stew.
Just go right along.
You’ll start happening too.

OH!
THE PLACES YOU’LL GO!

You’ll be on y our way up!
You’ll be seeing great sights!
You’ll join the high fliers
who soar to high heights.

You won’t lag behind, because you’ll have the speed.
You’ll pass the whole gang and you’ll soon take the lead.
Wherever you fly, you’ll be best of the best.
Wherever you go, you will top all the rest.

Except when you don’t.
Because, sometimes, you won’t.

I’m sorry to say so
but, sadly, it’s true
that Bang-ups
and Hang-ups
can happen to you.

You can get all hung up
in a prickle-ly perch.
And your gang will fly on.
You’ll be left in a Lurch.

You’ll come down from the Lurch
with an unpleasant bump.
And the chances are, then,
that you’ll be in a Slump.

And when you’re in a Slump,
you’re not in for much fun.
Un-slumping yourself
is not easily done.

You will come to a place where the streets are not marked.
Some windows are lighted. But mostly they’re darked.
A place you could sprain both your elbow and chin!
Do you dare to stay out? Do you dare to go in?
How much can you lose? How much can you win?

And IF you go in, should you turn left or right…
or right-and-three-quarters? Or, maybe, not quite?
Or go around back and sneak in from behind?
Simple it’s not, I’m afraid you will find,
for a mind-maker-upper to make up his mind.

You can get so confused
that you’ll start in to race
down long wiggled roads at a break-necking pace
and grind on for miles cross weirdish wild space,
headed, I fear, toward a most useless place.
The Waiting Place…

…for people just waiting.
Waiting for a train to go
or a bus to come, or a plane to go
or the mail to come, or the rain to go
or the phone to ring, or the snow to snow
or the waiting around for a Yes or No
or waiting for their hair to grow.
Everyone is just waiting.

Waiting for the fish to bite
or waiting for the wind to fly a kite
or waiting around for Friday night
or waiting, perhaps, for their Uncle Jake
or a pot to boil, or a Better Break
or a string of pearls, or a pair of pants
or a wig with curls, or Another Chance.
Everyone is just waiting.

NO!
That’s not for you!

Somehow you’ll escape
all that waiting and staying
You’ll find the bright places
where Boom Bands are playing.

With banner flip-flapping,
once more you’ll ride high!
Ready for anything under the sky.
Ready because you’re that kind of a guy!

Oh, the places you’ll go! There is fun to be done!
There are points to be scored. There are games to be won.
And the magical things you can do with that ball
will make you the winning-est winner of all.
Fame! You’ll be as famous as famous can be,
with the whole wide world watching you win on TV.

Except when they don’t
Because, sometimes they won’t.

I’m afraid that some times
you’ll play lonely games too.
Games you can’t win
’cause you’ll play against you.

All Alone!
Whether you like it or not,
Alone will be something
you’ll be quite a lot.

And when you’re alone, there’s a very good chance
you’ll meet things that scare you right out of your pants.
There are some, down the road between hither and yon,
that can scare you so much you won’t want to go on.

But on you will go
though the weather be foul.
On you will go
though your enemies prowl.
On you will go
though the Hakken-Kraks howl.
Onward up many
a frightening creek,
though your arms may get sore
and your sneakers may leak.

On and on you will hike,
And I know you’ll hike far
and face up to your problems
whatever they are.

You’ll get mixed up, of course,
as you already know.
You’ll get mixed up
with many strange birds as you go.
So be sure when you step.
Step with care and great tact
and remember that Life’s
a Great Balancing Act.
Just never foget to be dexterous and deft.
And never mix up your right foot with your left.

And will you succeed?
Yes! You will, indeed!
(98 and 3/4 percent guaranteed.)

KID, YOU’LL MOVE MOUNTAINS!

So…
be your name Buxbaum or Bixby or Bray
or Mordecai Ali Van Allen O’Shea,
You’re off the Great Places!
Today is your day!
Your mountain is waiting.
So…get on your way!

Returning to bliss

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I’ve been travel dreaming my entire life. At an early age, I didn’t yet know it, but it was definitely there. I adored the family beach holidays and trips to Disney and loved the feeling of full-fledged freedom each brought with them. I guess, at the time, that feeling meant no homework, not having to wake up early to rush to get to school and the possibility of having ice cream three times a day. As the years progressed and I was the one choosing the destination, footing the bill and deciding the length of time and distance of the journey, the feeling of freedom was the same but the meaning, different. It started with something special to look forward to, to do during those educational holidays (while in university or teaching) and has grown into a desire to have that freedom feeling of travel dreaming joy all the time.

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The joy of ‘slowing down’

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Embrace a slower pace

You know those radio advertisements where at the end someone talks a million miles a minute to get in all the horrible side effects or that important stuff in ‘the fine print’? My students used to tell me that I should do that on the side since they couldn’t believe how quickly I spoke. Although I was completely game for the opportunity, I always told them I thought speaking fast kept them engaged since if they daydreamed for a minute they’d miss half the lesson. Although neither travel nor a westward move has removed my ability to string words together at warp speed, I no longer feel the need to do it on a regular basis. It’s weird to even think those words, and then even nuttier to write them to live forever in the digital world. I never thought this New Yorker would find joy in slowing down…but I have. Read the rest of this entry

New year, new opportunities

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We’ve turned the page on the calendar, made it to 2017, managed amidst the food frenzy of December and have gotten to the next rotation of the earth around the sun. How do you feel? Amidst the barrage of sale emails, cleanse products, impending inauguration, weight loss programs, gym freebies and resolution insanity – we’re here. With one foot in front of the other – we’ve made it to January…now what? Read the rest of this entry

Beach cricket, sunshine and change

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I used to hate change! I had counselors at sleep away camp who felt the need to explain the benefits of changing cabins and counselors each camp session. I didn’t want camp to end, university to finish or any holiday I’ve ever been on to come to a close. Change was not my friend. Fast forward a few decades…..change is not only embraced, it’s craved. Life is weird.

the stanceCredit yoga, aging, travel, an unlimited supply of vitamin D…..credit whatever you like…..there’s been a switch and this weekend was a perfect example. With a crazy amount of rain (for southern California standards), beach erosion, school holidays, a long weekend, an unearthed shipwreck and rising temperatures, our usual beach spot became packed. No complaints….only a change of plans. We switched spots. Having no idea how we would feel in a new beach spot after so long, we took a risk (no, no not a huge one – I mean really, it’s a beach, right?) and shifted course to the other side of the island. Greater sand depth, far more people, a further walk and who knows what…and we were in a new spot. Needless to say, the end result was a perfect day. Read the rest of this entry

Being thankful

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Where are you spending this Thanksgiving? Is it just a Thursday where you are? Are you sharing a meal with strangers, friends, family or flying solo? Are you taking part in traditions of years past or making your own new ones? What does this third Thursday in November look like for you?

This is our first year on the west coast. The American contingent of the family is celebrating all spread out across the country. There’s a sister with her husband’s family in Connecticut, a brother with his wife’s in Maryland and the parents with friends in New York. Mat and I have been lucky to spend Thanksgiving a few different ways since we met. We’ve been surrounded by family and tradition, been overseas creating new memories, celebrating while traveling and part of a memorable feast for 2000 in the aftermath of a hurricane. Each one has left an imprint on our hearts. Read the rest of this entry

And so it goes…

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Safari in East Africa - thegiftoftravel.wordpress.com

On safari in Tanzania, Africa

It’s happening again. Yup, the itch is back, but it’s different this time. Southern California living hasn’t deadened the urge, it’s shifted it, revamped it, rejiggered it yet it’s still very much alive. In speaking with those who are mildly enthused by travel, many reply ‘haven’t you gotten it out of your system, yet’? Seriously? Realistically, it only gets worse! The more lands on which I’ve set foot, the more cultural interactions I’ve had, the more spectacular I’ve been honoured to witness…the list keeps growing as the experiences available are unending. No, it’s not out of my system…it’s what makes my system tick! I want to see the world! Read the rest of this entry

Travel and adventure in downtown San Diego

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This weekend was the San Diego Travel and Adventure Show. Attending as press, I was allowed in Saturday morning for a one-hour session filled with a meet and greet, photo sessions, activities and an early look at the travel options available.

at the San Diego Travel and Adventure Show

I could actually walk to a travel show from my apartment-so that was already an exciting start to a lovely Valentine’s Day. Press time here had about fifteen people ready and willing to jump straight into a weekend of travel. We were greeted by the Founder and CEO of Travel and Adventures shows, Jon Golicz. After riding in on a Segway, he hopped off and shared the theory behind these shows that dare travelers to gather and learn about their travel dreams. He told his listeners that in all of their studies, they’ve found that many of today’s travelers ‘like to plan as much as take their trip”. Hopefully, by visiting this travel and adventure show, they’ll not only be able to create that next holiday, but without a doubt, remember it! Read the rest of this entry

Thank you, Summer!

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I Love Summer!

I Love Summer!

For this beach girl, summer is my all time favourite season. I spent one entire year following the sun and given the choice it would be summer, always. On this day, the unofficial ending of the summer season, countless flock to the sand to experience one last hurrah. While those of us who live here know that the season continues well past Labor Day; this weekend we say goodbye to the lifeguards, those bright orange lifeguard stands and my favourite two months of the year. Seasons change and life goes on, but for me, summer is a constant and the joy it brings lasts me through three other seasons. If I can’t find it in New York, most of the time you’ll find me searching for the sunshine on other shores. Thank you, Summer. Thank you for the continual smile on my face and the happy wiggles for my toes. Read the rest of this entry

Interview: Wagoners Abroad

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Travelers always seem to find other travelers one way or another. Sometimes you meet your best friend in the hostel lobby searching for wifi. Other times they find that they’re two travel happy folks living in close proximity to one another and would love to take off on new adventures. The Wagoners met abroad but actually lived close by to one another. They ditched their home towns on the west coast and made a move to North Carolina early in their marriage. Now with two kids in tow, they’ve set off on a new adventure abroad. Immersing their children in the cultures of Spain and now Southeast Asia, they’ve all learned to enjoy being outside of their comfort zone and see the world first-hand. Here they share their story and what they think are the ‘gifts of travel’.

Wagoners Abroad  See, Austria

Austria

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