“One’s destination is never a place, but a new way of seeing things.” – Henry Miller
I love coming across a beautifully ordinary empty seat while travelling in the midst of a bustling city filled to the brim with hastening crowds. There’s something inviting, slightly lonely or poignant about it, like a negative space that’s been waiting for someone to tear her eyes away from the main attraction and say “what have we got here?”.
Take a moment
I’m always grateful to discover empty seats on my travels, which often tend to be mildly frenzied, fueled no doubt by a cocktail of excitement at discovery and fear of missing out.
For me, empty seats are an invitation to breathe. Stop the rush-rushing from one must-do/visit/eat/buy thing to another. Stop the neck-craning and crowd-shoving to get that money shot for my 12 Instagram followers. Stop that anxious desire to devour the city whole in three days without tasting anything.
Just sit and be.
These moments of stillness have become some of the most precious memories I have of the trips I’ve taken. Not all of them happen on empty benches but the effect of that pause is the same. Like the long pause in the middle of a rousing speech, inviting the audience to be still for a moment – make peace with what came before and make room for what will come after.
An analog approach to travel
Travelling for me has always been a source of joy and inspiration, like for many like-minded travelers. I travel because every time I do, I’m filled with the magic of possibility… the words flow freely and the stories run fast.
Over the years, I’ve come to realize that it wasn’t so much what I did or saw in a particular place, but the transformation I allowed inside of myself during the outward journey. That alchemy that happens when I feed my soul. And my soul is happy with the simplest things; sitting in the grass to play with stray birds, contemplating a thing of beauty, paying respect to another soul, writing under a tree, looking up at the sky and of course, those quiet stolen moments on an empty bench.
But those are things I could do anywhere! I don’t have to take 13-hour flight for that! Absolutely true. I guess taking myself out of the routine and familiar helps me to reset, step out of my mental activity and suspend disbelief. Like a heroine who goes from girl to woman, princess to warrior, through an inner blossoming set in motion by or reflected in a physical journey (on a much smaller scale).
Come away with me!
For awhile now, I’ve had this wish to share the soul-nourishing experiences discovered in the course of my travels – from Prague to Bali, Marrakesh to New York and of course, my beloved Paris. I was trying to figure out how to do this and thought maybe a weekly series would be fun! So here’s an open invitation to join me every week for an inner adventure in a new city!
Over to you! What are some of your favourite soul-nourishing experiences while globetrotting? What are some of the cities you’d like to see featured? Please share your stories in the comments below!
Corresponding to Weekly Challenge: Analog