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The Solo Traveler Blog

“For the Traveler” – the Sunday travel poem is by John O’Donohue

John O’Donohue

Aren’t poetry and travel simply two different modes of exploring the world? Of learning who we are, what we believe and how it all fits together?

When you travel, you find yourself
Alone in a different way,
More attentive now
To the self you bring along,

How could I resist today’s poem. It so casually points to one of the most amazing things about solo travel. You “discover yourself as you discover the world” – a tag line I use at times.

and how what meets you
Touches that part of the heart
That lies low at home

I have written about this before; the idea recurs because it is so true and so important. When we are surrounded by family and friends, we are subject to their expectations of us. Our behaviour, even our thoughts, are circumscribed by a desire for acceptance. Traveling solo you have time to discover who you are (what’s really in your heart) when no one is looking.

John O’Donohue, today’s poet, was born in 1956 and died in 2008. An Irish scholar, philosopher, priest and poet, his first published work was “Anam Cara” which holds a wonderful quote for solo travelers:

“When you cease to fear your solitude, a new creativity awakens in you. Your forgotten or neglected wealth begins to reveal itself. You come home to yourself and learn to rest within. Thoughts are our inner senses. Infused with silence and solitude, they bring out the mystery of inner landscape.”

I hope you enjoy today’s Sunday Travel Poem:

For the Traveler

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 ~

Related posts:

About Janice Waugh and Tracey Nesbitt

Screen Shot 2014-07-30 at 8.52.44 PMI'm an author, blogger, speaker and traveler. I became a widow and empty-nester at about the same time. And then, I became Solo Traveler... Here's the full story. >>
Tracey NesbittI’m a writer, editor, food and wine fanatic, and traveler. On my very first trip abroad I learned that solo travel was for me. Here's the full story. >>

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The content of Solo Traveler and any resources published by Solo Traveler are meant for entertainment and inspiration only. Every person and every travel situation is different. Your safety, satisfaction and fun traveling solo are your responsibility alone and not that of Solo Traveler, its publisher, editor and/or writers.
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