"The miracle is not to walk on water. The miracle is to walk on the green earth, dwelling deeply in the present moment and feeling truly alive" - Thich Nat Hahn
Having just returned from a beautiful trip to Venice, I realised how true the saying is that travel 'broadens the mind'.
As someone who is deeply interested in consciousness and the mind, I found it fascinating how a new place can not only take us somewhere physically, but somewhere mentally as well.
One of the things I liked best about the trip was not planning anything in particular, just 'going with the flow' and taking up opportunities when it felt right or easy to do so, such as eating in a particular restaurant or visiting a particular tourist attraction.
This meant that I was in a kind of 'flow' state, a consciousness that allowed me to be open to all possibilities yet not fixed to any. My partner has taught me the value of no expectation - going into experiences without a particular attachment as to how they have to turn out, and to experience things in this way is not only beneficial for travelling, but for life in general.
One of my favourite memories was sitting on St Marks Square as sunset began to fall, and seeing the hoards of tourists taking photos of themselves just about everywhere I looked. It was so interesting to see how people of different cultures experienced such a historic place (most with selfie sticks!).
It's so easy to become ingrained into a particular culture when you live somewhere, and get used to certain ways of doing things. It doesn't necessarily mean that these things are particularly healthy for the mind, body or soul, and to reflect upon other cultures is to gaze upon humanity as a whole and decide who you are and how you would like to behave as a result. It's certainly made me experience life in a new way, and realise that there is no need to follow what others do, just to live in your own way.
Travel also forces you to become totally attuned to the present moment, to the sights, sounds, smells, and atmosphere around you. I think its a fantastic opportunity to try bringing yourself into peace with the present moment, and to test out how your state of consciousness can have an impact on your travel experience, as well as the other way around.
Travel can certainly change you...if you let it.