Travel, we have learned thanks to the Coronavirus, is not to be taken for granted. As a result, I believe that, once free to go again, people will travel with intent.
With trips cancelled and delayed, most of us will lose at least a year of travel if not more. It is causing me, and others, to consider more carefully the next trip.
Under these conditions, the “why” of a trip becomes more important. It may not be enough to travel somewhere just because it's fun and you have the time and money. Perhaps enough frivolous fun can be found at home and destinations that are more meaningful, about which you've been curious or driven to see for educational reasons, will be priorities for our next trips.
Therein lies the intent. Deciding on your next trip based on why you want to go there and what you want to get out of the trip may be a game changer in travel.
- It may mean traveling less often but longer.
- Top tourist attractions may be toppled off your list or, perhaps, they will become more important.
- It may mean slow travel and staying in one place longer or scrambling to see all of Europe, India, or South America in one go.
For me, to travel with intent will likely mean returning to some destinations rather than always seeking new ones. And I absolutely have a great desire to travel more slowly. This is where the downward dog comes into my thoughts.
Solo is the Downward Dog of Travel
Solo travel is conducive to traveling with intent, moving more slowly, and being truly aware of your environment.
Your environment includes the culture, history, geography, and architecture. The dress, food, and pace of your destination. Traveling solo allows you to travel at your own pace, giving you the time you want to sink in and be aware of your destination so that you can successfully realize the intentions you set for your trip.
It struck me in a yoga class that intention, moving slowly and with awareness are key elements of a yoga practice. And that's how I got to the idea that solo is the downward dog of travel.
Let me enumerate a few ways that solo travel is like a downward dog pose.
Just as the downward dog
- encourages you to take time to sink in and find the proper position, solo travel, without the distraction of others, truly allows you to sink into your new environment.
- stretches and works every aspect of your body, solo travel stretches your travel and social skills as you reach out to connect to locals and other travelers.
- is a meditative pose, solo travel gives you real opportunities to observe and quietly consider the nature of your destination based on what you want out of it.
- is physically demanding the longer the pose is held, solo travel can be more demanding when you travel slowly. Ah, but the rewards in both cases are great.
- becomes a restful pose as your yoga practice becomes more difficult, solo travel offers opportunities to rest from the demands of others and explore your destination with your own intentions.
In addition, the downward dog is a rejuvenating stretch. Traveling solo, free of the expectations of others, rejuvenates the traveler before returning to everyday life.
Finally, yoga is a practice, always pursuing growth of some kind. Likewise, a solo traveler, pursuing travel with their intentions, is always growing.