It’s not Someone / It’s Somewhere / Switching Inner Axes
We live in times where faster is better and control is power. Where performance trumps process and risk is mathematically calculated. Therefore, in our overcomplicated lives there’s a temptation to simplify our existential complexities - we rarely have time or patience for an open-ended reflection. And this is the point where caring for our most important - SELF - begins.
by SIMONA LAICONAITE
cover illustration AUSTE DZIKARAITE
Once every couple of years I deliberately switch my inner axes: the way I live, what I work and whom I spend the most time with; but it requires a high level of consciousness. Three years ago I chose Portugal as a destination to recalibrate my compass. It sounded like a great self-care plan, so I put an auto-reply on, polished up my convertible, stacked plenty of food, took my dog and hit the road.
It took me seven days to get there and, I promise, someday I will definitely share what happened in between but it was worth it - the absolute soulful freedom of eight weeks travelling all the way down from the North to the South of Portugal along the Atlantic coast. A total of more than ten thousand kilometers. Considering this month’s topic, I will use an opportunity not to go into detail about how and why I traveled alone that time, but rather how travel is my way to take a good care of self and why you should have it as a method as well.
Why do you travel? How do you choose a destination? Why do you pick certain activities? All of those aren’t just some random adventure-bingo, those are the first conscious moves that we not always consciously make. Self-care begins with listening to oneself but we must make room for silence first. And that is how the ocean happened to appear in my pause of life: I made a room for an unlimited trip to Portugal and now I know that it was the best decision I could ever make as it gave birth to the most important directions of creativity and personal perception.
Everything happens in Nothing
Travelling (the world and yourself) requires distance and separateness. In other words, journey thrives in the space between the self and the destination. In order to commune with self, we must be able to tolerate this void and its path of uncertainties. And in that void, distance and separateness I found my inner Atlantic: tides and currents, waves and temperatures, noise and wind.
There were times when I trusted my limited knowledge on the high tides: the way back home from distant shores had gone underwater, leaving me carrying my Jack Russel Terrier and all of the things tied up around my body to come back safe and dry that night. At other times, I had to look for higher paths and they were found. I learnt to trust water, plan better and leave compromises at my own risk.
There were days when I couldn’t hear my voice - whatever I did, the wind and waves were louder. I knew I had to learn to talk and listen to myself, and to greet those waves coming towards me, accept the thoughts and threats they carried, be it ideas, memories or revelations.
My deepest personal learning came with the ocean currents.
Something so incredibly powerful even under the flattest surface. But those are only good if you know where they’re going. Sense and cognition of direction is what shows your self to you.
There was this power in water, the absolute control of stillness and life that I knew I had to explore more - outside as much as within. It kickstarted my mental retreat, I had enough space for all my silences, muted daily noise of others in me, and I could fill those silences with anything I wanted. Like, really wanted, not just “wanted”. Thus, I decided to fill it with myself: the creative whispers that were too quiet to be heard elsewhere at other times.
I have been working as a business consultant for many years and this trip fostered my courage to take up new things that I was thinking about a lot. After coming back from a date with the ocean, I started my own fashion brand, also a storytelling event series on business failures and I was finally open enough to let love come in – a man of my dreams appeared in life just a couple months after and we are together ever after.
Thus, for the past couple of years I have been living with that ocean inside me: the incredible depth, power of currents, questions unsolved, beautiful yet terrifying noise when aiming high and coming back, both - control and lack of it, layers of temperatures, colors, pressure and knowing that, no matter what, I will bring myself to shores. Even if to unexpected.
As for now, I had another self-care travel to Iceland that pulled the switch and now I kind of am above and moving - most probably it’s the wind. The kind of air that is never experienced still. The element of action and direction. And vitality. What I know for sure is that it also came only when I made enough space for silence so that my new piece of self was able to join in.
My wind in everyday life comes with daring ideas, bold decisions about who I surround myself with and instant action in I know there is something I can achieve but yet haven’t. I can see myself moving faster, mastering my own agility in public and intimate, business and personal self.
And the best part here is - it doesn’t have to be nature to make a travel all about the well-being of your inner self. I normally am a city traveler and that’s what it’s all about: you have to look for yourself not in others, but in you in unfamiliar contexts.
And taking care of yourself in travel is pretty easy as when all and everything is new, the habit of automation just does not exist any longer, it has no substance and no chance to fit in when surrounded by unexperienced.
So, when you start feeling uncomfortable, antsy or need someone to talk about your Self, remember - it actually might not be that special someone, but special somewhere you need.