Travel as Radical Self-Love

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Written by  August 5, 2018

Travel is getting to know ourselves in ways that just aren't possible otherwise.

When we talk about travel, we often talk about discovery—not just of places, but of self. Without pushing into fresh spaces and opening up to new experiences, identities, concepts, radical self-love can be hard to achieve.

Travel means leaning into curiosity. It's synonymous with radical self-love. At least, for me it is. I took a journey into unearthing the deepest, most intimate parts of myself. Without travelling, I never would have recognized who I am or who I am meant to be. Travel is the wheel that took me there. Most of the time, I'm experimenting, struggling to figure it all out. But trusting and loving myself enough to go into the journey instead of running away from it means I value the process and my life.

The highlight is acknowledging travel as an act of self-love. Setting the wheel into motion is the most radical part of the journey—a wheel that I hope spins and spins into infinity.

Routes 

The route to happiness is not an easy one to find. It demands asking serious questions about what we want out of life. It requires taking routes less travelled, even carving out a new route if necessary. Getting there can feel overwhelming. But the first rule is to put yourself on the road and seek that which feels like your truest self. To promote self-love is not selfish. It’s experiencing life based on your criteria for happiness, not definitions assigned by previous generations.

Despite several attempts, I had to face the fact that my happiness would always exist in exploring one route after the next. Perhaps these routes lead nowhere. I’m fine with that. But I’m willing to embark upon each route for specific reasons. As I step upon each route, I realize I’m not just conquering fear-based notions about happiness, but I’m also ready to defend a life built on moving rather than staying put.

Maps 

The unknown has kept us curious for eons. We are programmed to delve into uncharted lands and reach beyond the tribe. We have been doing it since the beginning of time. In stepping out into new territory, we learn more about the world around us: culture, tradition and language. This gives us a chance to reflect upon ourselves—something our culture of busy rarely lets us do.

Each time I travel, I realize how little I know about the world. Maps are not just guides from here to there, they are ways of maneuvering, ways of seeing, ways of finding direction. I am honoured to be able to unfold my own maps, to navigate this world on my own terms.

Baggage 

The way in which we travel says a lot about our emotional baggage. It says a lot about how we manage our entire lives. Carrying around stuff says we’re not ready to let go. It says we’re attached and afraid. It says we are what we own. Once upon a time, the amount of things we owed was minimal; the clothing on our backs and what could fit into our pockets, if we had them. Then we started to collect things instead of experiences.

Once upon a time, the amount of things we owed was minimal. Then we started to collect things instead of experiences.

 

When we remove baggage from our lives, everything shifts. Not only is life lighter, but travelling becomes more about the trip, rather than the stuff we bring to it or the stuff we carry away from it.

I once moved countries, travelling across several in order to get there. I had two suitcases and looking back, I wish I had carried only one. I realized that I was attached to things which made my journey much heavier than it needed to be. Even today, I’m still learning to let go. The goal is to minimize the baggage and maximize the experience.

Check-in 

A culture of busy has become our generation’s motto. Rarely do we check-in with ourselves. We keep it moving, we don’t have time to slow down, and we even ghost out of situations because we can’t be bothered to face feelings. However, travelling offers space to reflect. Not only about our decision to travel, but all decision leading up to the travel itself.

Each time I travel, I cherish the both the planning and the travel time. Witnessing the world pass by in the double reflection of a train window or below the clouds hanging tightly to the plane’s wings? These are blessings. In those moments, I search for myself. I ask myself who I’m ready to become at the end of it all. While most of the questions are rhetorical, I know that the act of asking means I’m examining my idea self-love.

One-way Tickets 

Never retuning can becomes our reality. Making a new home elsewhere is a possibility for those full of wanderlust. Or those willing to take a risk and devote a lifetime to radical self-love. Accepting that home might be temporary and transient is also a part of the journey.

When I bought a one-way ticket to South America to teach, I thought I would return home. I thought home was the place where I was born. Then I realized home is wherever I feel loved—not just by others or the world around me, but self-loved. Nothing beats that feeling when I can look around me—regardless of location, accomplishments, the amount of money in my pocket, or the clothes on my back—and say, with an honest heart, I love myself for who I am, was, and am willing to become. And it’s a one-way ticket that brought me to that space of where I am today.

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Jacklyn Janeksela

Jacklyn Janeksela started her life abroad in South America and currently lives between Prague, Czech Republic and Paris, France.

Website: jacklynjaneksela.com/

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