My 12-year-old son and I have been traveling non-stop for close to two years. To the ordinary person, this statement may sound stressful, but I assure you, it’s quite the contrary experience. Living the life of a ‘slow traveler,’ is how I actually found my inner peace.
Let me back up to 2008.
The California economy tanked and the business I owned and operated for the previous 8 years was struggling, even with my self imposed 60-hour workweek. I was stressed. I was nearly broke. And my state of constant worry wasn’t doing any favors for my child, whom I was solely responsible for.
My son Miro was 9 at the time and had witnessed my perpetual stress and often said, “Mom, you work too much, you never have anytime for me, anymore.” On top of all the other pressures I was experiencing, my heart shattered into a million tiny pieces.
Inner peace? It was in there, I was sure of that. But it hadn’t made an appearance in my life for quite some time, at that point.
And then, one evening near the middle of 2008 I had an inspiration, as if a voice deep inside had been struggling to be heard.
“Follow the path of least resistance,” it said, and without a single doubt, I knew that was a clear message to ‘LET GO.‘
“Let go of the business. Let go of the home. Let go of the lifestyle you have built. Let go of the ideas you have about what life should be. Let go and be open to seeing what’s next.”
For several months, the words “let go” became my mantra and soon, the words “let be” replaced the original words.
From the mind’s perspective, I wasn’t sure what that meant, but watched myself begin the process of detaching from the things in my life, both physically and emotionally. At first, I started to give away my possessions, a little at a time. It felt so good, had a cleansing effect, and I wanted to get rid of more.
And then, one evening near the end of the year, Miro and I were sitting in the office together after my staff had left for the evening. I let out a sigh of exhaustion and looked over at my very patient and loving son. Then, as if I was listening to someone else speak, I heard my own voice say “I don’t want to do this anymore … let’s get rid of all this stuff and go see the world. Let’s go have an adventure and get back to what really matters. Enjoying life and enjoying each other.”
Miro looked and me and smiled and said “I’m in!’.. .and that was all it took.
We did end up giving away all of our possessions in order hit the road for a permanent adventure. We began our adventure in the middle of 2009, starting in Mexico, traveling south through Central America to South America, where we currently find ourselves. Miro and I have committed to spend 8 years slowly circumnavigating the globe together, allowing inspiration to be our guide. Our only possessions are what we can carry with us, but we always seem to have exactly what we need.
We have been traveling for nearly two years now and find meaning through discovering new cultures, contributing by being in service. The amazing volunteer opportunities that always seem to come into our lives at the perfect moment, allow us to connect to humanity as ‘global citizens.’ We have found our rhythm in our new lifestyle as natural as taking a breath.
But, what about Inner Peace?
Before we embarked on our current lifestyle, I had a very different impression of ‘travel.’ My former relationship to travel was that of stress, over planning, high expectations and an unreasonable budget. Thankfully, these things do not reflect our current experience of ‘slow traveling.’
We have discovered that slow traveling keeps us sane, and our stress levels close to ‘zero.’
Our lives have slowed down. Our lives have slowed way, way down. We live like visiting locals, instead of tourists. Our expenses are low and our interactions with culture, rich. My son and I have volunteered in almost all of the 10 countries we’ve visited, so far, which gives our adventure some meaning.
Our lives have shifted in so many ways, but none more profound than this discovery:
Travel is like life, only better.
Our experience has been: travel invites the traveler to always be in a state of presence to whatever the experience may be. Travel invites the traveler to be flexible. Travel invites the traveler to live without expectations. Travel invites the traveler to be accepting of the things you cannot change. Travel invites the traveler to step outside of your comfort zone. Travel invites the traveler to see the trees for the trees and the forest for the forest for the first time, each time. Travel invites the traveler to be in a state of gratitude to what the day may offer. Travel invites the traveler to live from inspiration.
By accepting these invitations, we found our inner peace.
Travel invited us, the travelers, to live our inner peace, each and every day.
And we do.
And this gift of living our inner peace is something we can take with us no matter where our lives may lead.
Lainie Liberti is a recovering branding expert, whose 18-year career once focused on creating campaigns for green – eco business, non-profits and conscious business. As the owner of a leading Los Angeles brand boutique, Lainie lent her artistic talents to businesses that matter often receiving recognition through international awards and accolades.
In 2008, after the economy took a turn, Lainie decided to be the change (instead of a victim) and began the process of “lifestyle redesign,” a joint decision between both her and her then 9-year-old son, Miro.
Lainie and Miro are living a location independent lifestyle, slow traveling around the globe, living in the present, staying inspired, and participating in the world without fear.” Both write and podcast their experiences slow traveling, volunteering, un-schooling and being a global citizen at Raising Miro on the Road of Life Travel Blog & Podcast- www.raisingmiro.com