First Steps to Travel Dreams

 

Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.

— Ralph Waldo Emerson

 Some people ask us, “How do you do it? How do you leave for a year?” Some tell us, “You are crazy; I would never do that!” These people usually think of  a vagabond as “a person who wanders from place to place without a home or job” as does the dictionary but I prefer Ralph Potts’ definition from his book Vagabonding it is

‘Vagabonding’ is about taking time off from your normal life — from six weeks, to four months, to two years — to discover and experience the world on your own terms.

george in gobiIn this season of harvest with Sukkot and Halloween upon us, so soon after Yom Kippur, I reflect on the stories in the Torah about our people’s journey from slavery to freedom. These tales belong to other people in another time, but they are also my own travel stories. They are like signposts for all of our travels in both a literal and figurative sense, and they can inspire us.

I ask myself, “What are we personally enslaved to today? And how is it possible with so many time-saving devices, from the microwave to the personal computer, that we have so much less time?” Leaving both our homes and careers can free us to think about our paths and what is it that we want to do with our lives. If you are considering a long vacation or a career break you might wonder, “What can we journey from and what can we journey toward? What will the trip be like? What happens in this ‘wilderness’?”

As the Torah stories tell us, one year out of every seven the fields must lie fallow so that they can continue to be productive. And every seventh day on Shabbat we are offered the opportunity to rest. So a Sabbatical may allow us to step back so we might give more to our lives. The research agrees and was posted in an academic study, “Sabbatical Leave: Who Gains and How much? conducted by researchers from the US, Israel and New Zealand. In August 2010, American Psychological Association in its Journal of Applied Psychology worked to measure the impact of sabbatical on health and attitude. The study states: “Sabbatical leave promotes well-being…the present study confirmed the beneficial effect of a respite on positive well-being.”

Maybe we cannot all take a sabbatical year but at least we may find a sabbatical second or moment to acknowledge our dreams and pull our lives more into focus, and become closer to making our dreams come true.  Support someone else’s idea for a dream of a Gap Year, Mini-retirement, Big Trip or Sabbatical—between stages of life, after college, or after the home nest empties.

All journeys begin with one step, maybe your first one will be on October 18 for Meet Plan Go. The panelists that will speak in 17 cities across the USA have all struggled with these questions. I hope that the discussion of where they traveled to and why and how will help you with your questions from: Is it worth it to leave home? Will I learn anything? Can I come back? Is the journey for a destination? Is there a destination? What is the point of this trip and even of my life?

As Steve Jobs said at his 2005 Stanford University commencement address:

You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. Believing that the dots will connect down the road will give you the confidence to follow your heart, even when it leads you off the well-worn path, and that will make all the difference.

For many of us who have left “the rat race” we realize that the journey is for the sake of the adventure and that we can be transformed by our travels. I hope that you will put one foot in front of the other and show up on October 18 even if you are not currently planning a trip. Meet Plan Go events around America have drawn a wonderful community of  travelers who are engaged in the idea of understanding our world and taking care of our planet and the road less traveled mongoliaeach other. We hope you can carve an evening out of your schedule and not be tied to your Blackberry, carpool, family, office or deadlines, to focus on realizing your dreams, whether they involve

travel, understanding or something else.
For a moment, a year, or a lifetime.

Article first published as First Step to Travel Dreams on Technorati. 

Photo of this article  — as it appeared top of travel page Sunday Oct 16 and Monday Oct 17!

Lisa Ellen Niver

Lisa Ellen Niver, M.A. Education, is a science teacher and an award-winning travel expert who has explored 101 countries and six continents. She sailed the seven seas by cruise ship for seven years and backpacked for three years in Asia. Find her talking travel at KTLA TV and in her We Said Go Travel videos with over one and a quarter million views (1,250,000) on her YouTube channel. She is the founder of We Said Go Travel which is read in 235 countries, named #3 on the top 1000 Travel Blogs and the top female travel blogger 3 times in 2019. She has hosted Facebook Live for USA Today 10best, is verified on Twitter and has over 160,000 followers across social media. Niver is a judge for the Gracies Awards for the Alliance of Women in Media and also ran fifteen travel competitions publishing over 2500 writers and photographers from 75 countries on her own site, We Said Go Travel. From 2017 to 2020 in the Southern California Journalism Awards and National Arts and Entertainment Journalism Awards, she has won three times and been a finalist fourteen times for her broadcast television segments, print and digital articles. Niver won an award for her print magazine article for Hemispheres Magazine for United Airlines in the 2020 Southern California Journalism Awards. She was also a finalist for four other categories including online journalist of the year, digital story for activism journalism with Ms. Magazine, educational reporting for Wharton Magazine and a broadcast lifestyle feature for KTLA TV in Los Angeles.    Niver won a 2019 NAEJ (National Arts and Entertainment Journalism) award for one of her KTLA TV segments and was a finalist for articles published in both Ms. Magazine and Wharton Magazine. In 2018,  she was a finalist for stories in Smithsonian, PopSugar Fitness and the Saturday Evening Post. Niver won a 2017 Southern California Journalism Award for her print story for the Jewish Journal and was a finalist for travel reporting. Niver has written for AARP, American Airways, Delta Sky, En Route (Air Canada), Hemispheres (United Airlines), Jewish Journal, Luxury Magazine, Ms. Magazine, Myanmar Times, National Geographic, POPSUGAR, Robb Report, Saturday Evening Post, Scuba Diver Life, Sierra Club, Ski Utah, Smithsonian, TODAY, Trivago, USA Today 10best, Wharton Magazine and Yahoo. She is writing a book, “Brave Rebel: 50 Scary Challenges Before 50,” about her most recent travels and insights. Look for her underwater SCUBA diving, in her art studio making ceramics or helping people find their next dream trip.  http://lisaniver.com/one-page/

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