Travel as Inspiration

It’s Saturday, but I am working on a post for Tuesday evening. Tomorrow Nathan, Sarah, and I are heading to New York City for a couple of days. We planned this trip around the Dramatic Adventure Theatre Travelogue. I want to share something on that day, so I thought I would write something new and have it post around the same time I would be sharing (if I don’t chicken out).  Here we go:

Whenever anyone asks me about the best part of my experience in Slovakia travelling with Dramatic Adventure Theatre, I find myself talking about our day with the Roma. The extreme disparity between the Slovak attitude toward these people, and the warmth of our reception still intrigues me. The eye-opening experience of walking through the mud and debris of the Roma settlement after seeing the beauty and elegance of other parts of the country will live in my memory for a long time. These thoughts have inspired me as I approach writing my first novel for adults, a novel which (I believe) will explore the perception of difference that connects and divides us all.

The moment in the middle of the drama workshop  where I realized that the power of imagination and theatre works in every culture, reinforced something I have always felt. The moment when I led the workshop and lived up to the challenge made me finally acknowledge, “Hey, I really do know my stuff.” Those moments helped me take steps back toward confidence.

Despite all that, the truth is that the day with the Roma was not the best part of the experience. It is simply the easiest part of the story to share. It is, in some ways, the most obvious point of inspiration. However, for me the best part began simply with the decision to go.

For many people, travel is a form of escape out of their real lives. For others, travel is about experiencing adventure and risking new things. For some it is about meeting new people and learning about other cultures. For me, it is all of those things and none of those things at the same time. I am not really an adventurous traveler. I prefer to walk in company then alone. I like the quieter moments of travel, as opposed to the wild night life or taking risks.

Isa by the fire. I could be found in the same position at another time.

But, while I may not be the most adventurous traveler, each journey I take fills an unexpressed need, because each time I travel in a place unfamiliar to me I also make an inner journey of self-discovery. I learn more about myself and the connections I have with others. I face the opposites inside myself; things I should be proud of and things I strive to change.

When I travel, I come closer to my truths.

What did I learn on this trip?

  • I learned that I have hidden reserves of strength that can help me achieve my goals as long as I move at my own pace.
  • I learned that there is no shame in moving at my own pace and occasionally admitting I need help.
  • I learned that I am a complete idiot when trying to function on a couple of hours of sleep, and you should never trust a tired Lisa with bus money. (So embarrassing!)
  • I learned that, despite the fact that I may not be living the life I expected, others see my life as one full of adventure and success.
  • I learned the value of being sensitive to others when you travel, or you might come off as an aggressive tourist no matter how good your intentions.
  • I learned the joy of creating bonds with fellow travelers who believe in making connections and art, not war.
  • I learned the value of quiet time in front of a fire, with nothing but yourself, your journal, and the crackle of the flames.
  • I learned that I am more than my roles in life.
  • I learned the joy of eating bryzna halusky on a snowy winter’s day.
  • I learned that laughter and silliness connects people as quickly as sharing intimate secrets.

Most of all, I learned that the best and most inspiring part of the journey is the journey itself.

24 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Life in the Boomer Lane
    Feb 28, 2012 @ 06:33:06

    Great insights, Lisa. As our awareness of the world expands, we do go deeper into the awareness of ourselves. I know so little about the Roma. I want more!


  2. bornstoryteller
    Feb 28, 2012 @ 08:53:50

    This trip just sounds like it did so much for you. I hope that in times to come you will look back on these blog entries to not only help you relive your experience but to help you push your boundaries further and accept where you are at that moment as well.


  3. Kathryn McCullough
    Feb 28, 2012 @ 09:21:24

    This is an incredibly powerful post, Lisa! I know how travel can change one, how it can inspire, how it can cultivate growth. You have articulated this brilliantly. Well done, my friend.


  4. orples
    Feb 28, 2012 @ 09:53:26

    Most of all, I learned that the best and most inspiring part of the journey is the journey itself.
    So true. So many people focus on the destination, and forget about the ‘now’ of the trip. 😉


    • Lisa Wields Words
      Feb 29, 2012 @ 17:04:03

      I’m slowly learning to enjoy the NOW.


      • orples
        Feb 29, 2012 @ 17:17:22

        I used to constantly worry about the future and mourn past mistakes. In doing either you are robbing yourself of the only “real” moments that you have… the NOW. I’ll worry about tomorrow,tomorrow, and any yesterday’s I look back, hopefully will be to relive fond memories.


  5. J.P. Lane
    Feb 28, 2012 @ 13:24:17

    Love this post, Lisa. Travel is the best education in the world. I fee deprived if I don’t travel – preferably to places where I can’t understand a word they’re saying.


  6. Arlee Bird
    Feb 28, 2012 @ 20:12:01

    I’m always inspired by travel. You had quite an experience.



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  8. Mony Dojeiji
    Feb 29, 2012 @ 11:00:05

    What a beautiful entry, Lisa. Very touching and heart-warming. You have captured the essence of the journey that I can’t help but feel we are are all walking, whether consciously or unconsciously, trying to get to that place of truth and light that is within us. Travel is a way of doing it because it places you outside of your routine; and, of course, if you go with the intention of wanting to know more about yourself and sharing a part of who you are. It is a marvelous, never-ending path of revelation. Thank you for sharing your journey with us.

    Much love,


  9. Samyak
    Feb 29, 2012 @ 15:34:59

    Thanks Lisa for a great post. I love travelling and that’s what I have been doing for last 12 years! The road is ur classroom, the world ur school, there’s no better way of firsthand learning!



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  11. Terry
    Mar 03, 2012 @ 12:07:11

    Lovely to have met you at the Travelogue event… my long lost cousin (I also have family in Brockton). I appreciated the honesty and inspiration you shared in your travel story.


  12. Jackie Cangro
    Mar 04, 2012 @ 09:50:48

    I loved your personal insights. Lovely life-affirming lessons to keep in mind.
    Great post!


  13. CMSmith
    Mar 04, 2012 @ 10:26:19

    It sounds like the trip was well worth it. I’m so glad it was a great, enriching experience for you.


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