Travel as Experiential Expansion

 

My guest today is Lois Joy Hofmann who, like me, has rejoiced in her decision to step out of her comfort zone and live on board a sailboat as she and her husband ventured to foreign climes. Unlike me, Lois and her husband actually made it all the way around the around the world.

 

Travel as Experiential Expansion

travel -varanasiTravel requires a conscious effort to step outside our comfort zones. Not only do we challenge our physical comfort when we travel; we also challenge our psychological comfort.

My husband and I spent eight years circumnavigating the world on our 43-foot catamaran, Pacific Bliss. We flew back to San Diego between voyages. Our friends would ask: When are you leaving on vacation again?

“You don’t get it,” I’d reply. “Living in our condo for a while is coming back to comfort. This is our break, our holiday. Sailing, touring, and understanding the differing cultures of 62 countries—this is like work.”

Why did we choose to live like that?

Travel to us is not about staying in five-star hotels and enjoying a beach holiday. It’s a way of life. And even though we’ve completed our mission and sold our beloved Pacific Bliss, we’ll continue to travel as long as our health permits. Travel is how we learn and expand our minds. It’s as much a part of our lives as the books we read and the food we eat.

Think about it.

You can repeat the same life experience every day, year after year. Or you can travel for five, ten or twenty years and have perhaps fifty life-changing encounters during each one of those years! The more you travel, the more you expand your life and grow your soul.

What if you’re still working and can’t take off for a big chunk of time?

During the weeks that you can get away, I advise you to put a different emphasis on time. In the business world, everything needs to have happened yesterday, while at the same time, you must prepare for the future lest you fall behind. You’re never in the moment.

You can make travel happen on your time. I call it “slow travel.” As soon as you arrive at your destination, take your foot off that accelerator and slow down to a snail’s pace. Those ruins you wanted to see are not going anywhere soon! Leave those tight schedules and to-do lists back at the office. It’s only when you slow down, engage with your surroundings, and absorb the moment that you truly feel a sense of place. Sit down for a coffee with the locals. Spend time people watching. Sample strange food.

My husband and I implemented the technique of “slow travel” during a three-week trip to India We used Enchanting-India, a travel company specializing in tailor-made travel experiences using local guides. We selected a standard two-week, six-city round-trip tour from Delhi, then expanded it to three weeks to make time for photography and journaling at each destination.

Even so, we made changes to our itinerary on the fly. For example, when our next stop was to be the Raj Ghat Memorial, we could see from the car that the site was basically a black marble platform marking Mahatma Gandhi’s cremation. Long lines extended around block. We decided that getting there was not worth fighting traffic and jet-lag in the heat of the day. This is the advantage of independent travel! The plan is ours to make or break.

On the way to Sarnath to see Buddhist sites in India, we asked our driver to stop and allow us to “walk the village.” While we interacted with the locals, he waited for us on the other side. This link gives you a taste of the village and the people we met.

I urge you to let travel transform your life. Vow today to make a change outside your comfort zone. You won’t regret it!

 

Lois Joy Hofmann - travelLois Joy Hofmann is the author of Maiden Voyage and Sailing the South Pacific, the first and second book in a trilogy called In Search of Adventure and Moments of Bliss. Both books won first place in the Travel category of the San Diego Book Awards (2011 and 2013 respectively).

Her stories have appeared in magazines such as Latitudes and AttitudesCruising World and Living Aboard. Lois has contributed to online magazines and blogs such as: Multihull MagazineYacht BlogsMultihull newsletterTop Dekk and The Log. Lois has been a keynote speaker for various organizations including: yacht clubs, optimist clubs, book stores and libraries. She is currently working on the third book in her trilogy, to be called The Long Way Back.

When she’s not writing, Lois enjoys travel with her husband Günter to those countries they did not visit during their 8-year, 62-country sailing circumnavigation.

You can read about Lois’s travels on her website, Sailor’s Tales.

 

Comments

  1. Mary, you bring the most interesting guests to your blog. Lois, along with daring and delightful, your sailing circumnavigation seems both sensible and sensory. You two have much in common. Thank you, both!

Join the conversation! Leave a comment.

*

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.