Category Archives: Transformative travel

Just sent the girls off to England (with different flights) so I’ve visited our nearby airport twice during the last days. It’s interesting how that part of the world suddenly has become like a second home to them (well, to all of us). Being used to traveling around, the UK feels really close, in more than one sense.

”Homes” along the road in Mumbai, India - traveling gives you perspective

”Homes” along the road in Mumbai, India - traveling gives you perspective

Anyway, I picked up a new magazine for that local airport – Take Off- and found some interesting articles. One, “Journey of life”, which I found especially exciting was written by the airport priest, Mattias Bähr (didn’t even know they had one there). He talks about all those internal and external journeys you can experience at a place like that. People on their way somewhere, both physically as well as mentally. We ourselves love to talk about traveling, and especially long term travel, as a life transforming event, so I totally agree with him there.

I also like the way he uses the airport as a metaphor for life and want to quote him on that:

Sometimes people stop me on my journey. An airport security inspector or someone else who wishes me well, would inquire if I really need all the “life luggage” that I am carrying around. “Luggage” that diminishes me; like prestige, never ending anger, discouragement and envy, would be a relief to just leave behind. Perhaps the journey, the vacation, meeting new people and places will give me the opportunity to reflect over my luggage and get my life into perspective.

And here again, I couldn’t agree more. This is also our own experience and something I want to emphasize, traveling really makes you get perspective on your life and helps you to become a better person! Imaging if we just could look at our everyday lives as if we’re on a constant round the world trip, with minds open to the “new” (to everything that is, because do we really know everybody and everything as well as we think?). We would get innumerable opportunities to reflect on who we really are, what we are doing and what we really would want to do, not take everything for granted and be more open to looking at things in a different way.

For me, it’s an interesting thought, a bit zen like I guess, and it does require quite some practice. And in the meantime, we can always rehearse this way of looking at the world by traveling around in it and bring the new perspectives back home, can’t we?

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Thousands, maybe even millions, of people dream about being a world traveler. Often though, it just stays as a dream. Could it be so that it requires something to overcome fears and take us out of our comfort zone and take the leap and really do it?

When you try get out of your comfort zone your roadblocks may seem overwhelmingly big, but remember,there are always ways to pass them

When you try to get out of your comfort zone your roadblocks may seem overwhelmingly big, but remember,there are always ways to pass them

Have we been totally comfortable every time when we’ve been on our way to leave for a trip? Definitely not! There’s this first stage of excitement and anticipation, when we’re happily planning our next adventure and use all our time to get things into places. Then, the closer the departure, the more excited we get, but also the more “the buts” turn up. What we’ve also noticed, every time, is that just before we leave we start to appreciate our home a lot: “Aren’t things good as they are? Why don’t we just forget about this and stay home this time?”, “should we really leave everything for such a long time and now when we also have kittens” or ”when the apple trees are blooming?” or “shouldn’t we really stay here and renovate the kitchen instead?” (and these may seem like small buts, but I can assure you, they have been accompanied by loads of much bigger ones).

There’s this Swedish couple who write and publish travel guide books called “Willma” (like a Swedish version of Lonely Planet). They travel the world regularly for their business and pleasure and they say that every single time they’re on their way to leave on some new adventure, they ask themselves –why- and try to persuade themselves to stay at home this time. And every single time, as soon as they have turned the key in their front door, there’s no more hesitation. Now they’re on their way, they’re travelers, and they almost forget they even have a home in Sweden.

To me, this is a great picture of taking yourself out of the comfort zone. When you’re on the verge of doing it, you try as hard as you can to talk yourself out of it. How great your old way of doing things or of being really is! When you then resist the urge to stay in the old and take the leap, everything changes. You usually don’t even remember why you stuck to your old way and realize that it wasn’t so difficult to take a new step at all, you just did it!

And have we regretted overcoming fears and taking our leaps and leaving things to go out into the world? Not one single time! Rather the opposite. We ask ourselves, again and again, why was this so difficult? How could we even think it would be better staying at home? And very often, almost every single time, we’re so happy traveling and being somewhere else, we don’t even want to go back.

“People who stay in ‘comfort zone’ do so sometimes more because of fear than comfort.”
- Thomas Leonard

So, we may call this whatever we want, fear of the unknown, fear of change or “you know what you have but not what you’ll get”, but it can be good to remember, when you find yourself wondering if you are losing your sanity taking your whole family around the world or whatever leap you’re planning, that there’s a part of you that will do whatever it can to keep you “safe” and in the familiar and well known. And you can be sure that that part, that little voice, will let you know it’s there. And then, it can be good to bear this in mind and to follow the advice I got myself the other day regarding doing something outside of my own comfort zone: “you may do it trembling – but do it!”

I want to finish here with some wise words from Wade, an experienced world traveler who we interviewed a while ago – you can read the whole interview here. When we asked him if he had any advice to people who dream about going out into the world but experience resistace and hesitation, he said:

“Everything always works out. The great thing about leaving is that you can usually return to the same place where you are standing right now. Have faith that you will figure everything out when you need to, and rest your mind about planning. Nothing ever works out according to plan anyway, so why waste the mental energy bothering with it. The adverse consequences of traveling that you may foresee are merely illusions. You are not nearly wise enough to foresee the future, so stop trying — go forth and see what happens.

It is my impression that the human capacity for planning for the future is a very rudimentary development that usually only serves to provoke fear and to hamstring any desire that we may have for change. If anyone thinks about their future they get scared — “what if this happens, what if that happens.” You know what? “what ifs” rarely ever really happen. Humans tend to be intelligent enough to make the most of their situations when they are in the moment, and often have the ability to sidestep any “what if’s” when they need to be sidestepped. You will be alright.

Fear is an emotion that is reserved for the potential occurrence of future adversity. When in a moment of adversity, fear is rarely ever felt. I know that I have often felt fear about future possibilities — about being robbed, about getting lost, being cold etc . . — but every time I have been in such a circumstance, fear is the last thing that I felt, as I was much too busy focusing on how to get out of the bad situation to be scared. Fear is a survival instinct only in the fact that it keeps you sitting where you are, it keeps you way out of danger. When in a bad circumstance you automatically figure it out, and usually leave the moment saying, “Wow, that was not that bad after all.”

When given free range, fear will keep you sitting right where you are forever and ever and ever. It is amazing that many people would rather be comfortable, hemmed in by fears of future occurrences, than to really find out what the future may hold. There are no “what if’s” in a moment of adversity, so why leave yourself hampered with “what if’s” when the horizon is clear and the sun is shining?”

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You probably know by now that we’re firm believers that traveling is good for you. That taking some time to travel can be the best investment you’ve ever made. Well, now I found an article which really supports this idea. Just listen to this for example: “A proper vacation can light up higher order brain function that a year of pernicious stress has dimmed and debilitated”!

Don Joseph Goeway suggest you take time to travel

Don Joseph Goeway suggest you take time to travel

The article is called “Want your brain to make you brilliant? Give it a vacation” and is written by Don Joseph Goewey, someone I have been following for a while. He’s a man who has been working with people in stressful situations, and I mean really stressful situations. Like people faced with serious illnesses, parents who have lost children, life sentencened prisoners and war refugees. Most recently though, he has been focusing on people overwhelmed by the demands of work and family, a situation I guess many of you are familiar with.

According to the Harris Poll, people (Americans that is but I’m sure they’re not the only ones) are working harder than ever, putting in 100 – 200 more hours per year than their parents. Quoting Don Joseph Goewey:

“Those are averages; you might be working more than that. These extra hours are time away from our kids, friends, spouses, and even our bed. The Bureau of Labor Statistics says we sleep less than our parents did; one to two hours less. Vacation is a time to recoup that lost time and revitalize our minds and hearts.”

Yep, couldn’t agree more!

The downsides of our overworking lifestyle can also be seen very clearly in the morbidity and mortality statistics. The #1 killer is not the same as it was a hundred years ago, when most people dyed from bacterial and viral infections as well as childbirth for women. The #1 killer today is stress related diseases. He continues:

“ If we go about it correctly, a vacation can break the negative cycle and renew us in ways that can make the upcoming year less stressful.”

But you all know this already don’t you? That you feel so much better when you take some time off from the everyday stresses. Knowing is one thing though, doing is something completely different

And here’s where the But’s set in. “But I don’t have enough money” or “I don’t have the time” for example. At a first glance, this might be true but if you take a deeper look at your situation, there’s usually something you can do to change things around to create the money and the time. Often it’s about seeing what’s important in your life and start prioritizing, like your health, your family, your future…

But being in a stressful mode can make it more difficult to see clearly. Here’s Don Joseph Goewey again:

“Stress hormones also hyper-activate the brain’s fear center producing Type-A behavior and locking our brain into “threat mode.” This neurotoxic brain state tends to interpret any uncertainty as a threat to our survival. When you think I can’t afford to take time off, it’s usually the brain’s fear center thinking for you. It’s the brain using you, instead of you using the brain. You need to reset the brain to peace, which is the neuroplastic state that rebuilds and restores higher brain function. Vacation is a good way to reset the brain to peace”

Give your brain some time off

Give your brain some time off

So listen to this wise man (and to yourself) and let your brain go on vacation for a while, and as we believe, the longer the better. Taking the time to travel, preferably long term, is not only good for you as you can see, it can literally save your life!

To read this whole interesting article click here

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There are times in our lives when we change directions. When we go from following one path and start pursuing another and go from the familiar to the more unfamiliar. Sometimes these changes are “big”, other times they are not so significant (at least not on the outer plane). Such a time of transition can be when you graduate from something, or when you get married or become a parent, or when your kids move out. It can be when you or someone close to you get an illness, or recover from one. Maybe you get laid off, or retire, or like in these days especially, you may lose a whole lot of money and are facing a totally new situation. Or why not, you might even win or inherit money, which can take you to a totally new place in your life.

In times of transition, going away and travel long term can help you see things with new eyes

In times of transition, going away and travel long term can help you see things with new eyes

Anyway, these times of big (or small) changes in our lives, these transitions from one level to another, are perfect for traveling long term. When you’re in transition you’re leaving the well known to take on something new, something you may not really know what it will be and what it will look like. And when you’re at this stage, it’s oftentimes easier to let go of the familiar, take the plunge and leave everything for a while.

The advantages with traveling at these times are many, like for example:

You totally break with the old and well known to just be and start (or continue to) find out who you are and what you want

You get perspective on things since you’re not totally stuck in well known routines you’re more open to new things, you can get ideas from everything and everyone which gives you input to how you’ll want to continue your life

You get an opportunity to break old habits that doesn’t serve you any more and which can be more difficult to change when you’re in your familiar circumstances

It can also be a great thing to travel together with other people during these times, like with your kids before they’ll move away or with your new love to really connect and get to know each others (think about honey moon).

A person we know, for example, got a “death sentence” from the doctor, that she had just a few months left to live (talk about transition time) and she decided she wanted to spend her last time traveling around. She got rid of her house and everything, bought a campervan and left for her last big trip. As you might imagine, it didn’t become her last trip. Many things happened along the way, some that even helped her recover from her disease and heal again. She not just got her life back, she also decided to start all over again and do totally new things and is now working with helping people creating an independent lifestyle.

We’ve made an interview with her so you’ll be able to learn more about her experience of how to travel long term in the near future.

There are of course a whole lot of other reasons why travel long term can be great during transition times and if you have your own ideas or your own experiences from this, you are more than welcome to share it with us here!

We’re here to encourage you to travel more. But not necessarily on that weekend to Disneyland or on that short vacation to Paris… but to travel long term. Not that there’s anything wrong with shorter trips or going to those places, it’s just not the kind of journeys we’re mostly interested in here. What we want you to do is to go away for at least 3 months, preferable much longer. And we’re not saying you have to travel around the whole world and visit every thinkable country either… Actually, you don’t even have to go such a great distance, just far enough to be able to feel that you’re away, that you are on a real journey.

When you travel long term, you never can tell where the road will take you. Who will you be when you get back home, (if you choose to go back :-))?

When you travel long term, you never can tell where the road will take you. Who will you be when you get back home, (if you choose to go back :-) )?

We’re not involved in any airline businesses, and we don’t have an interest in any travel agencies or hotel chains. What we’re interested in is what improves and transforms people lives. Your life. And to us, long term travel is one of the absolute easiest and quickest ways to do this.

If you have been following us for a while, you probably already know this since we’ve been hassling you about it all the time: “How you get the time to travel”, “How you can travel with your kids”, “Why you should go on that long journey with your spouse”….

We’d like to quote a fellow thinker here: Jeffrey Kottler, psychotherapist, author of more than 20 books, and traveler. In his book “Travel that can change your life” he writes:

“It is sheer arrogance to believe that people in my profession have cornered the market on promoting lasting personal change. Bartenders, hairdressers, taxi drivers, even friends, have been known to help people grow as a result of their interactions. I’ve wondered if real travel agents don’t do the best job of all.

Traveling can bring out in you parts of yourself that can’t be accessed any other way. Always looking for more efficient and effective ways to promote personal changes, I realized that most of the constructive growth I’ve undergone in my own life has not come from books, or the classroom, or even therapy, but from traveling – especially the kind of trip that involves not just the search for new experiences in the world, but also the time and inclination to look within”.

So you see, even the “experts” agree with us!

Now that this year is soon coming to an end, why not take that as an excuse to start fantasizing about where you’d want to travel long term? What would you like this next year to be like for you, travel wise? When do you want to leave on that journey of a life time? What do you want to do when you’re away? How will you arrange for the things at home that need to be taken care of: job, school, home, pets…..? What changes in your life and /or lifestyle do you want this transforming trip to lead to?

It may seem like a lot to deal with and your long journey may feel very far away, but believe us, if you make the decision to go for it, give it some attention and take small steps in the right direction continuously, we’re sure that 2010 will be the year when you’ll experience that dream trip of your life for real!

And continue to follow us, We’ll be here to encourage you on your way. To be able to do this even better, we’re planning some changes of this site. We’re working on simplifying a bit, adding some things and taking out other to make it easier to give you support in different ways so you can become a world traveler too.. So hang on and keep your eyes open for what we can do to help you on your journey to your journey!

I came across this story the other day. It is yet another story of how long term travel can change your life. We’ve told similar stories before and also our own of how long term travel has influenced us. It just confirms, over and over again what a great tool it is for transforming people’s lives.

Brook Silva-Braga

Brook Silva-Braga

This time it‘s a young man, Brook Silva-Braga, who puts his career on hold to go traveling the world for a year. One of the reasons he does this is because he has the belief that he has to do it before he gets married and has kids. As you well know we don’t believe family and kids have to be an objection to extended travel. We rather think it is an excellent reason to really do it. The experience will of course be different. Not better or worse – just different. But it is definitely possible and even more importantly, it is so worth it!

Anyway, as Brook was a TV producer he decided to film his journey and the result is the award winning documentary “A Map For Saturday” .

In the interview below with Brook, a couple of points stand out to us and confirms our experiences:

• There is this older gentleman who despite his health conditions and medication still travels the world and he makes it clear that anyone can travel long term. Aho to that!

• When Brook tells about how people are supported and inspired by his plans but then go on to tell him all these reasons why they can’t do it themselves. We call these reasons the But’s

• When Brook comes, back he is offered a job but turns it down. He doesn’t want to get back into the cubicle now that he has found his freedom. Our experience was the same. Also our friend who got back from 6 month on the road and was offered a promotion. He also turned it down since he didn’t feel the need for money but more the need for time and freedom.

• How no one he met has regretted going on that extended journey. This is definitely our experience too!

We really do recommend you to listen to the advice of people who have actually done long term travel. But please, for your own sake, do avoid listening to those who are just expressing their own fear but have no actual personal experience from doing extended travel themselves.

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Since I wrote the blog post: “Have you ever thought I want to Change my life“ I have suddenly realized how common this is. We have received feedback confirming this idea, which is maybe not so unexpected. But I have also bumped into to it more unexpectedly a number of times.
It is of course the well know phenomenon that, when your attention is focused on something you suddenly start to notice it everywhere. I am sure that people who say that “long term travels change my life”, have been all over the place before as well but I haven’t noticed them.

Marcus Eldh

Marcus Eldh

So the other day Maria and I were attending a presentation about how our local town could become more attractive for tourists. The man doing the presentation was himself active in the tourist business running Moose Safaris and Wolf Howling Tours and having the time of his life. He was very passionate about what he was doing but it had not always been that way. He started by telling the story about how he had spent too many years in schools and at university studying subjects that didn’t ignite his spirit. But when he finally got his diploma he gave it to his mom to hang it on her wall and took off on a 6 month journey to South East Asia. And it was during that time he discovered his true passion.

So this was truly a man who’s life changed by long term travel!

Jo Nesbø -

Jo Nesbø -

Another example was when I read about Jo Nesbø, a Norwegian author of crime novels. He’s quite famous, at least here in Scandinavia but also in many other countries, since his books have been translated into more than 20 languages.

He has not always been an author though. Prior to writing his first novel he was successful in the stockbroker business and also active playing music in a band. But that life was so stressful and was wearing him down so he just had to take 6 month off. He left for Australia, as far away from Norway he could get. Already during the flight the first novel came to him. He spent the 6 month finishing the novel and when he returned to Norway he went to his boss and explained that he didn’t have time to work for him any more. He was not going to wait like his father, who had died two years earlier, just after he retired and before he finally would start writing the book he had within him.

So you see, another person’s life changed by long term travel.

We are sure there are many, many more stories like that out there. We will be sharing them with you now and then since we find them very inspiring ourselves. And if you know of any or if you have a story of your own, let us know through the contact form here and we may tell the story here or maybe even let you do it yourself.

Photo of Moose: Roine Magnusson –

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I was talking the other day to a friend who’s having problems with her son. The boy, who is 15 is sick of school and just doesn’t want to go there anymore. The mother is looking for and trying different solutions and was asking for my point of view and ideas which I was trying to offer the best I could. And then, it just dawned on me: “Maybe it is time to change your life…”
I am tired
Here I am blogging about the wonders of long term travel and almost forgetting to tell my friend what a wonderful tool it is if you ever feel stuck in your life.

I mean, to me it’s quite obvious that this single mother and her only son are so stuck in their routines and habits that it’s almost impossible to make a change by still remaining in that same situation.

As Albert Einstein says:
“We can’t solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.”

I have heard this quote many, many times before but never, before really understood what it means in real life. But now, after this conversation, I do. I can see how much easier it would be for our friend and her son to get out of the situation they’re stuck in by changing their surroundings and circumstances.

And of course to me one of the absolute best ways of doing this is through long term traveling because:

• It takes you out of your deep routed habits

• It puts you in new situations where old routines are of no use

• It forces you to live more in the present and go from there

• The new situations demands you to create new habits and routines

I remember when I myself was the same age as our friends’ boy. I was so sick of school and my grades were so bad that I was forced to do the same school year over again. The general verdict over me was more or less that I had not been able to understand what I was taught and that I needed a second go to really grasp it. But to everyone’s surprise and frustration, my grades the second time were even worse! Even my teachers started to believe, and also to tell me, that I was un-teachable and that I would never “become” anything. The scary thing is that I almost believed them!

But luckily, instead of trying to “fix me within the system that was creating my problem” I was permitted to leave school for a year and instead worked for a year. After that things had changed and I was able and motivated to go back and finish my high school education. Later on I also did 4 years at University.

So yes, I am convinced that our friend and especially the boy do need a change and something that shakes them out of their present block that is in fact slowly killing them.

For this purpose my preferred choice is of course long term traveling. Not only because it is so effective but it is also so fun and creates memories that will last a life time. And how many more chances will our friend have to create such a memorable experience with her son before he takes off on his own life adventure?

Whether or not my suggestion to “change your life” in order to solve the “sick of school” syndrome for the boy is an advice our friend will adopt, remains to be seen. For her, like for most people faced with the idea of extended travel – But’s – were popping up like mushrooms in the fall.

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