The Medicine of Movement

Solvitur Ambulando. “It is solved by walking.” -St. Augustine

A certain alchemy occurs when our bodies careen through the web of space-time. Through movement, it becomes easy to allow ourselves the simplest of gifts, which in our normal lives, we are usually deprived of. It is perhaps the easiest thing we could give ourselves, but also one that so easily escapes us.

It’s the gift of presence- the gift of letting ourselves dissolve into the infinitely changing landscapes out beyond the window. It’s the gift of detachment, of wonder, and contemplation. Through movement, we can actually sink into a deep space of inspiration, integration, and even healing.

Believe me when I say, there is medicine in movement.

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13 Inspiring Travelers to Watch in 2016

Howard Thurman famously said, “Don’t ask yourself what the world needs. Ask yourself what makes you come alive, and go do that, because what the world needs is people who have come alive.”

I set out to compile a list of “inspiring travel writers,” peers who shared some vague similarity with my own work and lifestyle. What I found, and what you see before you, is really a list of amazing individuals who have come alive.

This isn’t just an assortment of random people I’ve found off the internet. Each one of these people is doing something totally unique, daring, and miraculous. Everyone profiled here is doing something that I believe in, is working to uplift something greater than themselves, and is worth talking about.

Nomads, entrepreneurs, artists, scientists, superheroes, healers, storytellers, activists, and Badass Jedi Warriors- that’s really who we are, or who we aspire to be. But for now, here are 13 “Inspiring Travelers” to watch in 2016.

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Ohana Amani: The Heart of Community in Southern Tanzania

Tucked away in the rolling hills of Tanzania’s Southern Highlands, lies a refuge for all travelers on the path of awakening.

I’ve arrived at Ohana Amani, a permaculture farm and holistic retreat center- an oasis of conscious community and alternative culture, carving out a vibrant existence in rural Tanzania.

The warm hearth of home slowly evaporates the stress I have accumulated from life on the African road. Upon entering this conscious refuge, I feel immediately welcomed, relaxed, and at home. I breathe a sigh of relief.

Ohana Amani not only walks the talk, they live the life.

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Ruaha National Park: Tanzania’s Last Refuge

Despite having wandered my fair share across the African continent, I had never been on a Safari before.

Enter Ruaha National Park- the largest national park in Tanzania, and the second-largest in all of Africa. Unlike other Tanzanian national parks, its name is neither plastered on Tanzanian beer bottles, nor is it the largest unbroken crater in the world. But it is famous for is all the reasons a national park should be: an abundance of wildlife, intense natural beauty, and a minimal amount of people.

Ruaha is said to have the highest concentration of elephants in all of East Africa. While this is clearly a blessing for tourists wishing to experience these majestic creatures firsthand, this impressive statistic casts a shadow that extends far beyond the boundaries of this expansive park.

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Why Travel Makes Us Happy

The crowded bus rocketed down the Tanzanian highway, careening over potholes and dead debris. I watch the endless expanse out my tiny window, punctuated by acacia trees, giraffes, and wildebeests. A smattering of black and white blurs across my field of vision.

I turn to watch a herd of Zebras as they run through the savanna, unchained, free. Their wildness seems almost out of place from my vantage point on the bus, surrounded by cheap Tanzanian hip-hop and flat screen TV’s. As I watch them buck and run together, a flood of emotions fills me that confounds and cuts me to the core.

It suddenly dawns on me, that yes, I am in Africa, and I am lucky to be alive.

Feeling the warm breeze on my face, I smile as the golden sunlight bathes me in its radiance. My body softens, I exhale, and for the first time in recent memory, I feel deeply at peace.

Travel can provides us with deeply meaningful experiences that can shape who we are, and inform our whole lives. By dissolving boundaries within our hearts and minds, travel can be the fertilizer for the growth of our true selves. Through travel we have a unique opportunity to transform into the person we wish to be.

This is why travel makes us happy.

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The Shaman’s Alley: Magic, Medicine & Mystery in Belen Market – Iquitos, Peru

The floating slum and street market of Belen is the dangerous, putrid, beating heart of Iquitos- largest city in the Peruvian Amazon.

Infamous for its street dogs, thieves, and utterly hectic atmosphere, Belen is about authentically Amazonian as you can get.

Belen is not just a market in the jungle- selling jungle foods, jungle wears, and jungle crafts. No no- Belen is a market of the jungle- a seething, chaotic mass that shrinks and swells uniquely each day, constantly shifting, eating itself, and reforming anew.

Think you knew where a certain stall or vendor was located? Think again. In this place, nothing stays the same, just like in la selva– the forest, which extends for miles beyond the boundaries of this isolated settlement.

At the heart of this repelling miasma is the Merkato del Brujo, or Shaman’s Alley, a place where all the magic, mystery, and medicine of Amazonia is on offer, for good or ill.

It’s a one-of-a-kind market that defines Iquitos, and the Amazon herself, and will stay with any traveler forever- just make sure you know how to haggle, and don’t get robbed.

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Can’t Afford to Travel? This Tip Might Change Your Mind

Money and budget constraints are some of the most common reasons why people don’t choose to travel.

But here’s the truth: You don’t need a lot of money to travel.

All you need is to slightly shift your perspective and values, and to retool your idea of what an international trip might look like.

I’m far from the first travel blogger to write about this (Rolf Potts, Chris Guillebeau, and Nomadic Matt were influential in convincing me,) but its still the #1 reason why people don’t take that first step.

There are many things you can do to maximize your budget, but this particular travel tip has enabled me to travel for longer, cheaper, and better than almost any other travel hack I know.

Here’s the tip: Be open to alternative living situations, and find ways to exchange for accommodation, rather than pay cash.

You just might finishing reading this and realize that there is already a perfect trip waiting for you across the world…

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Why the Crazy Choice Makes Sense

Logic is overrated. Sometimes the craziest choices are the ones that yield the best results. Throughout history, think how many times the crazy choice gave birth to something fantastic?

Our timid, ape-like ancestors who first descended from the trees in Africa. Generations of pioneers and explorers setting off to discover untold lands in rickety wooden ships. The Wright Brothers and the miracle of human flight. All crazy.

Fortune may favor the bold, but it loves crazy.

Safe choices are appealing. They’re predictable, and relatively easy to swallow by family and friends. They may even provide you with a life that almost feels authentic.

But here’s the cold, hard truth: there is no such thing as a “safe choice.”

Even if you strive to live as safe and uncrazy as possible, you really don’t have that much control over anything.

This is why making the crazy choice makes the most sense.

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Why It’s Never the Right Time to Travel

The urge to travel is real.

Some call it the travel bug. But really, there is a deep part in all of us that craves transformation. We know that somewhere, something awaits us that might just hold the keys to our most crucial growth.

I know the feeling well. I hear it echoed by my friends, by people I meet, and by an entire generation disillusioned with the status quo, looking for something greater in life.

Yet so often, what comes next sounds something like: “I’d love to travel, but right now I (insert excuse here.)” So often, it comes down to feeling like its not the “right time” for such a life-affirming journey.

Ok. But take it from me, as someone who once tried to convince themselves otherwise:

It will never be the right time to travel.

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