When you travel

I took a break from working this morning to check out a few of my favorite blogs.  Chris Guillebeau had a poem on his most recent post that was perfect for me as I prepare to head out for a week’s travels.  It’s beautiful, and sums up my feelings about getting out of my comfort zone and seeing the world.  Granted a week on a beach in Cancun is not my typical seeing-the-world vacation, but the spirit of this poem resonates with me nevertheless…



Every time you leave home,
Another road takes you
Into a world you were never in.

New strangers on other paths await.
New places that have never seen you
Will startle a little at your entry.
Old places that know you well
Will pretend nothing
Changed since your last visit.

When you travel, you find yourself
Alone in a different way,
More attentive now
To the self you bring along,
Your more subtle eye watching
You abroad; and how what meets you
Touches that part of the heart
That lies low at home:

How you unexpectedly attune
To the timbre in some voice,
Opening in conversation
You want to take in
To where your longing
Has pressed hard enough
Inward, on some unsaid dark,
To create a crystal of insight
You could not have known
You needed
To illuminate
Your way.

When you travel,
A new silence
Goes with you,
And if you listen,
You will hear
What your heart would
Love to say.

A journey can become a sacred thing:
Make sure, before you go,
To take the time
To bless your going forth,
To free your heart of ballast
So that the compass of your soul
Might direct you toward
The territories of spirit
Where you will discover
More of your hidden life,
And the urgencies
That deserve to claim you.

May you travel in an awakened way,
Gathered wisely into your inner ground;
That you may not waste the invitations
Which wait along the way to transform you.

May you travel safely, arrive refreshed,
And live your time away to its fullest;
Return home more enriched, and free
To balance the gift of days which call you.

-John O’Donohue

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One Comment to “When you travel”

  1. I love this poem and want to read it again and again. These words especially speak to me

    “Make sure, before you go,
    To take the time
    To bless your going forth,
    To free your heart of ballast
    So that the compass of your soul
    Might direct you toward
    The territories of spirit”

    Everyday when I set off on my journey to work I will bless my going forth and free my heart of ballast.

    Thank you for sharing this.

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