From Alison: apart from the obvious – the excitement, joy, and stimulation that comes from discovering new cultures, environments, and ways of doing life, and meeting new people, hiking new trails and seeing new sights, Don had this to say:
The fundamental questions we keep asking ourselves have been “Why are we travelling all the time?” and “Why have we become nomads at this time in our lives?” The answer that seems to make the most sense is because the constant travelling provides the most powerful opportunities to learn the lessons we need to learn about staying present, about not being attached to what happens in any given moment, about the fact that home is an internal experience not an external location, and that the essential self, who we really are in our essence, never changes and never goes anywhere. We are also provided with multiple daily opportunities to practice gratitude, openheartedness, and generosity.
Whenever we forget who we really are, and begin listening to and believing the stories the mind makes up, we suffer in one way or another. The longer we travel the greater the tendency for the mind to try to create dissatisfaction with feelings of homesickness, craving for familiar foods, and longing for a home in the physical sense. There are times when we don’t feel well physically, and the mind immediately creates worries and fears about having contracted some dreaded tropical disease. So the more we travel the greater the need to practice self-awareness and mindfulness on a moment-by-moment basis. This has been the great teaching and the great learning of our journey so far. We’ve no idea how much longer we’ll be doing this for, but that doesn’t matter either.
What all of our travels have revealed to us is that it really doesn’t matter where we go in the world or even what wonders we see. What really matters are the opportunities provided us by The Mystery to be grateful for whatever we receive, and to become more compassionate, more openhearted, and more generous human beings while we are still in our physical bodies. How are we doing so far? We’re definitely more mindful and more openhearted than we were when we began our travels. We still fall into the trap of believing the stories the mind makes up, but we climb back out more quickly than we did when we started. It’s a very good thing that we have each other on this journey, because if we didn’t we would get lost both physically and emotionally much more often, and for a longer time, than we do.
From Alison: We’ve been given a gift: to find out what’s really real when you have little in the way of possessions, or structure, or plans for the future to create the appearance of stability. I suspect we’ll keep on moving until we really fully embody the truth that we never actually go anywhere; only the scenery changes.
Photo of the day: Orchid farm, Thonburi, Bangkok
All words and images by Alison Louise Armstrong unless otherwise noted.
© Alison Louise Armstrong and Adventures in Wonderland – a pilgrimage of the heart, 2010-2015.