When Tourism Goes Beyond Seeing the Sights,
It Can Transform You and the World
Travel changes you. It isn’t something people can see, but inside you know you’re different. Having a spiritual experience is much the same. It’s an invisible mark on your consciousness.
There was a time I thought going to other places around the world was an ego-based desire—a quest to become worldly and well-traveled in the eyes of my friends and family.
However, when I started traveling, I found it to be a much deeper experience. It called forth from within me the strength to look at myself and my culture with new eyes, introspecting on why I live the way I do.
It called me into that place of compassion and brokenheartedness when I heard the stories and saw the real devastation others deal with on a day-to-day basis, that I brushed off as a passing news story of a hurricane so long ago.
The experience of a spiritual traveler certainly includes being a “tourist,” but goes far beyond. Empathy, expansion, and connection to our human family grows within and nourishes the soul. Travel, in and of itself, can be a spiritual experience if you let it.
So how can you benefit from the experience of spiritual travel?
Travel With Intention
You can use the power of intention to hold in mind what you want your experience to be during your travels, while remaining open to the highest good.
The process of cocreation with Spirit, using the power of positive imagination and affirmations, is a spiritual tool that you can use during your travels (and everyday life as well).
Open to Inner Guidance
I notice that I receive inner nudges while traveling. It might be a little quiet voice that says, “Go explore around that corner,” or “Ask that person a question.”
Perhaps it’s because of the unfamiliar environment that I allow myself to engage with people and situations that are outside of my comfort zone, but invariably that inner guidance leads me to a blessing.
Be Prepared for Synchronicity
Synchronicity is another spiritual blessing that happens during travel. According to Denise Linn, synchronicity is more than just coincidence—it is a sign of much deeper energy connections between us.
Just the other day, I overheard a coworker talking about a city I was going to visit just a few days later. Ends up, she lived there for many years and was able to give me a local’s perspective on the best things to see and do!
Stay Present in the Moment
Brené Brown says, “Joy is one of the most vulnerable emotions,” and most of us attempt to protect ourselves in a twisted way by worrying and waiting for the other shoe to drop.
However, moments of joy and vulnerability are exactly what gives life meaning. Traveling can bring forward so many Wow! moments, shared experiences with others, and lifelong memories. Each travel experience is an opportunity to stay present in the moment.
Leaning into joy and releasing worry is a spiritual practice that brings inner strength, serving you well beyond your travels.
Cultivate an Attitude of Adventure
When I’m traveling, I may know generally what’s happening on the schedule, but I recognize that it’s going to be a day of making memories. I wake up with a feeling of adventure that is rarely present in my day-to-day routine back at home.
Even if something goes wrong or there’s an unexpected turn of events, I remember my favorite quote by John-Roger, “If it’s going to be funny later, it’s funny now!” It’s a process of letting go of any pre-judgments of how things are supposed to be and go with the flow of what is.
During the recent Unity at Sea cruise, we arrived in Puerto Rico for our service day and it started pouring torrential rain. As we huddled like sardines under a nearby tent, we laughed, took pictures, and went on with our projects, which ended up being the absolute highlight of the trip for many of us. “It’s an adventure!”
Join a Group of Like-Minded Travelers
If you surround yourself with like-minded people while traveling, it’s easier to maintain a spiritual focus and your personal intentions. When you have that shared bond with others, deeper conversations naturally unfold, they can support you in cocreating the experience you want, and you’re lifted higher by the group consciousness.
Since 2011, Unity has been offering a travel retreat once a year. Unity friends come together for a land tour or cruise, expanding our minds and hearts as we experience different parts of the world. Local guides offer information on history and culture, and the Unity hosts offer Daily Word® readings and conversations on the spirituality of places we’re visiting.
It’s not required to be affiliated with or follow Unity teachings, as we are open to people of any faith joining our travel retreats. It’s the common intention for a positive, uplifting experience that bonds all of us and supports our travel together.
If you hold an intention for more spiritual travel, these tools will help you find a deeper connection with yourself, allow travel to expand your consciousness, and uplift your soul.