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Wherever I Go, There I Am

Wherever I go, there I am

There was a time when my itch to travel was overwhelming. By the time I was 28, I had travelled to over 35 countries. Within me was a deep restlessness that ached to be on the move. It was an addiction that no amount of tropical waterfalls, ancient temples and rickshaw rides could satiate.

As I prepare for my upcoming 6 weeks to Bali, numerous people have asked with great enthusiasm, “Are you SO excited? Are you counting down the days until you leave?” It’s interesting for me to witness myself respond, for my excitement takes on a different flavor than it once did.

Yes, I am looking forward to my trip…time away to reflect, smelling the fragipanis on the way to morning practice, leading 2 retreats at a stunning location… but no, I’m not counting down the days before I leave (except when I remember my taxes need to be done before departure). I continue to be present to what is in front of me, moment to moment, in the days before I go. Anything other than takes me away from the present moment and sets up unrealistic expectation for something I can’t possibly predict.

What I’ve come to realize, is that there are delights and challenges to every experience. When travelling, there will be moments of glory where my mind cannot compute the beauty that is in front of me.  There will be times when things that won’t go my way and I’ll be triggered. Though the outer landscape my change, my inner landscape generally remains the same…I’m still responsible for my feelings and experience.

Wherever I go, there I am.

Being away from our daily norm can be a catalyst for igniting parts of ourselves that we don’t normally experience because it’s clouded by daily routine. However, it’s a trap to think that going on vacation is what brings us joy because how we feel is always an inner experience. This situational joy is only the surface of what is possible. Everlasting joy is the wellspring from within that doesn’t require external circumstances to be a certain way.

The ultimate trip is to feel alive and at home, wherever you’re at.

When we feel at home in our own skin, then every adventure can be welcomed in a clean way, with a wide open and curious heart. It’s from this place that I welcome Bali wholeheartedly, for all the adventures she offers.

With Warmth,

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Alice Hong

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