A moment to pause: on the train, in a café, through a piazza, under a tree. Find vantage points to sense the full rhythm of this new place. Take in the smells, the sounds, the tastes. What does the air feel like on your skin? How does the buzz circulate in your veins?
After a day of travel, sit with the sensations and the images, the exciting feeling of “I’ve never been here before,” of, “This morning I was in my office fulfilling tasks; now I’m on a motorcycle with no destination in mind.” After a day in the sun, feel the remnants of its rays still warming your skin.
Look for the details that give a place its layered character. Peel back the veneer of museum facades and beach dining, to find the symphony of place underneath.
At the train station, don’t merely look for signs and transactions; see what’s happening on the benches, in the bathrooms, and on the street.
Close your eyes and dive in to the wonderment of travel. Here in this new place, what about me feels different? Has my pH changed, or just my disposition? Do I still cling to the pieces of myself that felt so scary and overwhelming back home, or have I unpacked my clutter with the contents of my suitcase? What instruments play here? What accents?
In each moment of awe, toss the analysis aside and feel. Let your eyes open in ways they don’t normally; let your ears listen attentively; let go of your stories to let new ones emerge.
By Shira Atkins