Finding our true self by travelling to new worlds should be the bottom line of our life and financial plans. Transformative travel will bring about greater personal integrity and leave us feeling more comfortable in our own skins. Alain de Botton writes in his book The Art of Travel that ‘the domestic setting keeps us tethered to the person we are in ordinary life, who may not be who we essentially are’.
New beginnings from new worlds
Because we will achieve greater personal integrity we should see less stress in our lives, or rather stress in a different form. Much of the stress we suffer today is the stress that arises from not being true to ourselves, for living an ordinary life rather than an essential life. As we take steps to develop and grow this stress will grow and be replaced by the stress of challenging ourselves to take those transformative journeys. Every time we move into a new world we will challenge ourselves, almost as if we were going through a new initiation ceremony. In her book A Short History of Myth, Karen Armstrong describes how initiation ceremonies in traditional tribal societies subject initiates to intense stress as they are taken from the secure domestic environment in which the initiate dies to his old (childhood) self and is reborn as a man. Facing up to the trauma helps him to understand that death is a new beginning. It is ‘a rite of passage to a new form of existence’.
Importantly, Armstrong emphasises that this happens every time we leave the comfort and security of our home and go through the trauma and stress of a transformative journey. Each time, we die to our old self and are reborn to a new self. The more we do this, the more we are able to see death as simply ‘the last and final initiation into another, totally unknown mode of being’.
Over the edge
Unsurprisingly, ski-ing actually hits the spot here. One is forced to do the exact opposite of what one would do instinctively, such as leaning out of the slope and not leaning back, pointing downhill, putting your weight on the downhill ski; above all, realising the best way to get down safely and in control is to be aggressive about it, not holding back. Surely this is all about getting out of the comfort zone and learning lessons for when we get back home.
This is the third part of a four part post considering the importance of travel in our plans. I have consistently argued that the main purpose of financial life planning is not to become financially wealthy. Rather it is to become wealthy in mind, body and spirit (which some would call happiness). Travel, as I argue in subsequent posts and elsewhere (particularly in Chapter 8 of Right Money, Right Place, Right Time), is fundamental to personal growth. And so when we come to the ‘Utilisation of Resources’ phase of the financial life planning process it is important to find the resources, both time and money, to make this happen.
In previous posts I considered how travel in general and the preparation for a journey deliver personal integrity, transformation and your essential self. In the final post I consider the importance of the return in finalising this transformation