I promise this is about travel. Stick with me. Sophomore year at Bethune-Cookman, I was sitting in Dr. Davina Jones’ Intimate and Marital Communications class, thinking about my then-relationship issues when Dr. Jones threw out a P. Diddy quote. Of course I’m paraphrasing, “I knew I was successful the first time I traveled with no luggage.” Of course Diddy was speaking about his actual multi-thousand dollar luggage set he no longer traveled with, but we applied it to intimate relationships, agreeing that when we are able to leave one relationship and enter another with no negative emotional baggage, we achieve the success we seek. I carried that quote with me since and have successfully moved from relationship to relationship, surely looking like a monster to the exes who wish I held on a bit longer.
Growing up in the projects, I believe in re-purposing and I’ll do so with this quote. As a self-professed world explorer and mental health advocate, I want the quote to mean we’re successful when we’re able to travel (as travelers, not tourists) without pain and hoping for a geographical cure to the thing attempting to eat our brain, but hoping for a deeper look into ourselves using the tools we pick up when we arrive. We must go empty handed, and come back full.
When we’re empty, we should also be open. Not necessarily to everything, but to those things that might water us, even if the watering is done through cracks. Go empty and remain open to those people, places, and things that make you question everything, then question them! Be open to watching your long-held beliefs flake and fall apart like a good baklava. Sometimes those beliefs are things that should have been burned with the luggage you threw into the fire.
Often, I speak about the difference between travelers and tourists and what I’m about to say may not be 100% accurate, but in my heart, where it matters, it is. Folk who travel to take their mind off stressful situations are tourists. They’re out there to look at pretty things, see how many cups of tequila it takes to drown their anxieties, and find some beautiful sand colored (black sand, white sand, brown sand) lover to help with the loneliness for just a few nights. When then tourists are packing to return home, all those things they put off for a later date come running into the room, jumping into the suitcase to not be left behind. The traveler goes with the open soul, ready to release what needs to be released and ready to receive what needs to be planted, but leaving no room in their carry-on for regret or negativity.
I’m a traveler. The world and the things it holds have filled me with unfathomable wealth and happiness. Each time I go out there these days, I do the necessary work to ensure I’m prepared for whatever is to come.
When getting rid of the entirety of the luggage seems impossible, consider downsizing. Take what’s absolutely necessary. If it was tangible, it’d be small enough to fit under the seat in front of you and still leave room for your feet. Congratulate yourself for getting the bag down to such a size. Celebrate that achievement. Once you arrive to your destination and get into the groove of living, you’ll look at those things and realize they, too, were unnecessary and promise yourself you’ll do better next time. And you will.
A Few Easy Things:
1. When you go, do not forget these four things:
2. Set a healthy intention:
A. I’m traveling because I was to learn more about ________.
B. I’m leaving my soul open to receive whatever tools I need to help me ________.
C. I want to be more present.
3. Journal. Write these experiences. You’ll look back and realize how far you’ve come and see how you navigated everything during that very difficult or wonderful time.
4. Meditate. I love it. You don’t have to, but I think you should. Stop believing meditation is about clearing your mind completely and understand you can meditate and let your thoughts run wild as they sometimes do. I use the Insight Timer App (friend me if you get it).
5. Hold tight to every lesson learned and apply everything that needs applying.
Find a way to burn the unnecessary and walk away from the explosion like you’re in a Michael Bay film. Then go to your flight.