Why We (Should) Wander

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I hit my 1,000th Instagram post in Kauai.

The 1,000th post was fitting…a picture of a young sunrise, piercing through a dark, dense cloud with golden rays outstretched from above and below. Despite the cloud’s attempt to suffocate the horizon in the distance, the waking light that emerged from behind the cloud was too bright to darken.

A beautiful dance of light and clouds emerged on stage in the sky. As the wind blew, the palm trees in the distance frolicked, framing my shot. No camera in the world could ever mimic and capture the glow of this moment no matter how hard I tried. The echos of wind and crashing waves drowned out the sounds of roosters emerging from sleep. Mesmerized by the sounds, I furiously clicked-tap screen-clicked away in fervor to capture the perfect shot.

The clouds eventually succumbed and the sun lit up the rest of the sky. Light always wins over darkness.

It’s mornings like this that remind me why I travel.

Last year, I traveled to find my light again and break out of darkness that was overshadowing the new journey I was meant to discover. Travel fed my soul, taught me a lot about myself, challenged me and brought light back into my life.

This year, I travel for Love.

I don’t mean the romantic, get whisked away by a suitor sort of love (though I certainly don’t mind those encounters either 😉 ). The same light from my travels last year, led me to find love…for myself and for the world.

I travel for…

…Falling in love with yourself kind of love

…empowering other solo travelers to empower themselves kind of love

…showing others parts of the world in hopes they will be inspired kind of love

…making yourself vulnerable and open to possibilities kind of love

…hiking, diving, SUPing, playing & meditating in nature’s playground kind of love

…connecting & marveling in His creation kind of love

…empathizing, understanding and educating oneself about different countries, cultures & socioeconomic situations kind of love

…turning strangers into new friends and learning their life journey kind of love

…loving every joy and challenge in the world so that the world loves you back kind of love.

I travel for the kind of love that grows your heart.

With every trip I take, my heart swells with the idea that possibility is everywhere. And while there are times that I worry that my quest for travel may seem selfish, I try to think of the greater purpose associated with travel.

Whenever I wrap up a trip, I love recounting the people I’ve met and experiences gathered along the way. At the end of each trip, we end up collecting stories. Because tourism is such an important industry to so many places we travel to, it’s important to share our stories with the world so that people will continue to support the local economies of each destination.

It also seems that now more than ever, we have a civic responsibility to do something greater as Wanderlusters. In addition to sharing stories of our destinations traveled, we have the ability to bring greater understanding, tolerance and empathy to the world through our travels. With every story shared, we can choose to bring a more human perspective to light and show others (& ourselves) that as humans, we may be more connected with each other than as strangers.

Whether it’s sharing a story of a war vet who is now a hiking guide in Kauai or a small restaurateur who ended up on an island by way of the Dakotas and Paris, you might be surprised to find that our intrinsic motivations & values may be more in common with each other than how we might appear on the surface. When we travel and connect with others in different places, we start to build a common language of love, understanding and tolerance for each other.

We Wanderlusters have the opportunity to bring great kindness by sharing our travel stories, being upstanding citizens of the nations we represent and helping each other see that travel can inspire love.

I write this now as I lay on a secluded beach with a new friend that I met yesterday on the island. She’s on her first solo trip here and is visiting from Canada. We met on a river (on Paddleboards) on our way to a trail in a jungle to seek a hidden waterfall. This chance encounter has led us to discover that we have more in common than different, despite being raised on opposite sides of the continent.

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Adventuring on a Zodiac along the NaPali Coast!

And in a funny way, we find that perhaps we were meant to meet. As she starts her journey of solo travel and feeding her soul, I feel a sense of duty to cheerlead her, encourage her dreams and help her on her adventures. And I’m so happy that we each have one less stranger in this world to our names.

At the end of the day, I believe LOVE is the greater cause for why we should Travel. We SHOULD Travel and WANDER as this is our greatest opportunity to gather, spread and share compassion for & with others. We SHOULD Travel so that we can help us foster a love for places, for people, for tolerance, for understanding, for adventure, for economy, for society and for self.

With Joy, LOVE & Wanders,

J

NOTE:  Working on some posts on the island of Kauai! If you haven’t yet, add it to your list of travels in the upcoming year!

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