The Purpose of My Travels

January 11, 2017

There’s something so royal about going through airport security and not having to take your shoes off or take your laptop out of your bag. It’s funny how quickly we forget that this used to be the norm.

Yes, I’m talking about TSA Pre-Check, and it’s glorious.

As I sit here in the Hawaii sun I think back to my TSA interview to get my pass for pre-check and global entry (which by the way is a great idea). I was filling out a form in the office and after asking what countries I had traveled to in the last 5 years, they asked “what was the purpose of your travel”?

I didn’t know our immigration department asked such deep questions.

I decided to ponder it… what was the purpose of my travel? Why did I take all those trips and visit all those countries?

The first answer that came to me is “how could I not?”

Whether it was the opportunity to live with Tantra master David Cates & friends in Bali, study animal communication with Anna Breytenbach in South Africa or witness my friends Candace & Andrew get married in Italy, I can’t imagine a life where I would pass up opportunities like that.

The second answer that came to mind as I pondered that question had to do with gaining perspective. There’s no better way to get perspective on your life and your environment than to go live somewhere else and then return home.

I’m reminded of this moment living in Bali where I had a moment of waking up from the American Dream.

The first house Paula and I lived at cost 1100 USD/month, which for Bali is a crazy amount of money. Our landlords however, lived in a tiny room within their compound, surrounded by friends and family. It didn’t make sense to me that here we were paying them all this money every month and they weren’t using it to “improve” their living situation. They didn’t care about a bigger house or a newer smart phone.

Instead I would see the husband sleeping on a foam pad in the back of a little store they sold non-perishable goods out of right near our house.

I really got that more doesn’t equal better.

Then I considered that question again, but this time in the future. I’m currently in Hawaii helping to build an eco-village and running a tantra festival. What is the purpose of that travel?

Certainly “how could I not?” can apply here as well. However, there’s more for me this time.

My life is in transition right now. It’s been six months since I broke up with Paula and enjoying being out on my own and away from Encinitas.

I see my travels as a way for me to reduce life down to it’s essential parts. This fall I sold almost everything I’ve owned, moved out of my house and cut out any unnecessary reoccurring expenses from my life. Like Thoreau said, I want to live Spartan-like, to live deliberately, and to front only the essential facts of life.

Even for someone who lives simply, my life was too excessive. I want to reduce life down to it’s essential parts so I can really see it. I want to lay out everything I own in front of me and know that everything has a purpose and there’s no wasted backpack space.

I want to squeeze all the juice out of life. I want to not just acknowledge the beautiful moments, but get lost in them as well. I want to stop chasing empty pleasures and meaningless addictions.

I want all that to be easy too. I don’t want to live this life where I force myself to “enjoy” life, because that’s another form of insanity. I want to find that what I want to do, and what’s good for my long term happiness are one in the same.

In one sense, my purpose of traveling is self-discovery, but even that can get neurotic if we make it a goal. Our goal-obsessed culture can turn anything into something to be achieved.

I just want to fill my life with nice moments, and in my life I’ve found that adventure makes for some nice moments, so I’m off to experience more of that.


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