The cliche of traveling to find yourself is something that has always fascinated me. Like most cliches and stereotypes, it had to have come from somewhere, and I was intrigued to explore its origin and discover for myself whether it was something that was true. In my mind the misunderstanding lies in the definition of what finding yourself actually means. We all have very different understandings of words and phrases so it is important to define what this means to me first.
Often when we speak of finding ourselves we seem to imply that it is an end in itself, that you will simply find all your answers and then that’s it, the journey is over. This then manifests as the common cliche;” I went traveling and I found myself”. To me, this is a misconception, and an inaccurate representation of reality. Whilst finding yourself infers an end, self discovery is an endless journey, one that many realize the true value of and therefore embark on when they begin to travel. We as beings are forever changing and growing and can only know ourselves truthfully in the present moment. Any other idea of who we are simply exists as a story of the past or a possibility in the future. There will always be more to you, more hidden aspects and parts of yourself that will be revealed to you throughout your life. Self discovery, like everything, is a process. It is a path that you continue to walk for rest of your life. Life is forever flowing and evolving and so are you, therefore your priorities wants and desires will change with you. I cannot imagine a point where you will be ultimately found.
As you travel you begin to see the extent of our adaptability. You see how easily we can become different versions of ourselves in accordance with the different situations we find ourselves in. Nothing spurs the illumination of new parts of yourself more new experience. If your mind believes it knows how you “should” act, you are never given the chance to do otherwise. With the awakening of new experience many parts of yourself that you never knew to exist before, come out to shine. This allows you to ultimately understand and know yourself better, away from other people’s, and your own, expectations. By traveling you give yourself the opportunity to be seen in a different light. You can now be seen for who you are in this present moment, most likely someone who has grown far beyond the image that has been held over you. Through seeing these many versions of yourself you not only come to know and see your natural strengths and weaknesses but also to know what version of yourself truly aligns with your full potential and the person that you want to be.
I believe that the illusion of having to traveling to “find yourself” also lies in the fact that in reality it does not matter where you are or who you’re with, you always have the power to delve within, to discover, to heal yourself and to begin to learn to embody your full potential, at any moment. It’s all a choice, the true self you seek is within you right now at the very moment that you read this.
While this is the truth, I also fully acknowledge that it can be very hard to heal yourself in the place you got sick, especially if you have lost sight of being or feeling any other way than you do now. Free from these fears, doubts and expectations that once weighed you down, in a place where no one knows you, you may finally feel as though you can change and embody the incredible being that you always have and always will be. As you begin to travel and experience new aspects of life your perspective widens and your mind begins to expand. As you exchange ideas and beliefs with different people from all walks of life you begin to view yourself and the universe in a very different way. By exchanging our individual truths and experiences with the people we meet we create connections, which in turn bring us closer to a world of complete acceptance, understanding and unconditional love for ALL. A place where everybody’s truth and well-being holds as much significance as the next person. With this widened perspective and understanding of humanity, we allow ourselves to become less affected by the little things in our lives that once bothered us so much and seemed so all consuming. This in turn opens our minds to the truth that everything is only really as significant as you allow or choose it to be. You are now empirically aware of so many different aspects of this world; how beautiful, fragile, essential and precious our environment is and how much destruction horror and tragedy has occurred and is still occurring every single day. Suddenly the problems that you deemed so great back home dissipate before your eyes, as you realize that they were all self-inflicted mind created sufferings that held only as much power over you as you had given them.
We as human beings have become so destructive and negative towards the planet, each other and ourselves, we really have strayed further and further away from all the simple truths that are essential to the survival and progression of the human race and this beautiful universe that we all share. Before traveling or venturing out of our comfort zones the only reality that we know empirically is our little bubble of reality where we are so “content”. A bubble in which you may have been aware of these truths, yet you had never experienced them, you had never felt the indescribable pain or the inexplicable beauty of this world. Such things never truly impact the way you feel, think or act until you experience them for yourself.
Through these words I hope to have illustrated that the true profundity of self realization is so much more than the cliche “finding yourself” does justice to. Travel is just one way of taking ourselves into the unknown and freeing ourselves from all the constraints that we inhibit in our lives.