Is My Heart Open? How travel has allowed me to shed the things that weigh me down

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Heart Opening Dancer’s Pose at Lake Atitlan, Guatemala March 2018

Guatemala:  March 2018

Is My Heart Open?

I booked my trip to Guatemala 2 months after my heart was broken.

A year and a half relationship was ripped apart with little foreshadowing.  In one quick phone call, my hopes of forever-love were torn down.  19 months of “together” dissolved in less than 19 minutes.

I had no say in the matter.  I was simply told that it was over.

Still trying to grapple with the new reality of my uncommitted life, I felt a bit directionless.  For the past 19 months, every trip I had planned had been planned as an “us”.  Everything was tailored to my companion’s work schedule – it decided where and when we traveled.  Now I was back to “just me”…and I was struggling to find where I wanted to go.

My yoga instructor reminded me of her week-long retreat to Lake Atitlan, Guatemala…”It’s beautiful, the food is amazing, you can go swim in the lake.  You should come”

“But I don’t know anyone”… “You should come”

“But it’s expensive.  I don’t know if I can take all that time off work”…”You should come”

“Yoga 3 hours a day?  I practice 1 hour a week!”…”Come”

One of the most important lessons travel has taught me:  Let go of Fear.

So I booked my spot, bought a plane ticket, and three months later found myself sitting a circle with strangers, try to answer this question:

Is My Heart Open?

Is My Heart Open? Acadia Mountain, Maine. August 2018

 

Travel has always pushed me to open my heart.

Since my first trip abroad to Ghana in 2002, finding myself in the uncomfortable situations of travel and finding humanity amongst strangers have pushed to reconsider my internal limits.  Opening my heart means so much more than being open to the intimate love of another human being.  It has meant shedding the social norms expected of me as a white, straight, American woman.  It has meant dropping the heavy burden of trying to change my body.  It has meant letting go of fears that can paralyze.  It has meant losing connection to material things to cherish the value of a shared meal and a burning sunrise.

Traveling has always been a part of my story.  It is as vital to me as water.  I hope in sharing my own experiences, you may dare to explore your own heart-opening stories.

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