School Field Trips. Summer Sleep-Away Camps. Honeymoon. Mission Trips. Pilgrimage. All of these are trips taken with other people for a specific purpose but more often than not, the participants experience greater benefits than they anticipated.
School trips and summer camps take students to museums or teach children a skill like riding a horse – but everyone remembers the friendships they formed.
A honeymoon cements the love and devotion of a newly married couple away from their family and everyday life.
Mission trips are designed to help the needy all over the world, but the volunteers learn the value of giving and empathizing with others. Pilgrimages may be about following the path to Santiago, but the journey truly happens within.
In order to witness true transformation, it is necessary to break with routine. Going away, creating a geographical space between you and your old life is one of the easiest ways to create the necessary conditions for change.
A favorite poem, “Ithaka” by C.P. Cavafy begins:
“As you set out for Ithaka
hope the voyage is a long one,
full of adventure, full of discovery.”
Through Odysseus’s travels, Ithaka was the one place he wanted to be: home. But it took him ten years and numerous battles and setbacks before he was able to complete his journey. It was those encounters that changed him and made his story into a legend.
This new year, invite change and transformation into your life not merely by planning a trip but by taking a journey. Go on a retreat. Meet new people. Try on a new way of being. Even if you can only get away for a few days, hope the journey is a long one.
“If you think adventure is dangerous, try routine: it is lethal.” – Paulo Coelho