My Nordic Venture-An Outer Reflection Of Inner Experiences

When I traveled through Scandinavian Countries, my focus shifted from my familiar life to unimagined potentials. A bit out of my comfort zone and into the zone where magic happened. I was more open to universe and less attached to the world. I was taught the most valuable lessons —that we are insignificant, that we are at the mercy of Mother Nature, and that life will go on long after we’re dead.

Creation of authentic trip begins its expression from within. And in a context of soul therapy, a trip is an outer reflection of the inner experience. My trip to Nordic was serendipitous, pushing my soul to go and experience liberty, it was as strong a push that I let go off all the anxiety of a solo traveler before leaving for an unknown freezing natural wonder of the world.

DWyvFIqX0AA45EXQuite often we tend to focus on the exterior events that take place around us while we participate in adventure of travel. But what actually forms our perception of our journey is how we feel while we are experiencing a new city, country or an adventure through an amazing landscape. We can create an authentic trip by opening ourselves to be fully present to our inner experience. Allowing ourselves to be present by accepting ourselves as wholly as possible creates healing travel experience. It implies freedom itself — freedom from limiting beliefs and perceptions that cause unhappiness and resistance, and rob us of development into a full potential of our life’s expression.

 

As many of you know the spiritual side of me ensuring my yoga and Kriyas (Meditation) travel with me, on this trip I lived meditation and spiritualism everyday through my travel experiences. There were many instances that made me relish in the beauty of each moment and help me understand deeper, what it feels like to be free. These were my Aha moments! I was traveling by myself, intentionally, and was on a mission to practice self-discovery.

IMG_7390Cold winds rushed through the little gaps of my 5 layered clothes when I put my foot on the snowy land in Norway. In a country where temperatures can plummet to -40 degrees Fahrenheit in the winter and daylight sometimes never appears, I knew I had to find innovative ways to amuse myself during my days, but I thought to myself, it doesn’t mean staying indoors. For a moment I felt I was the only human on this planet as it took me good ten minutes of walk on this white snowy sheet of land to figure out another human being. As much as I was feeling lonely being a solo traveler, something truly magical happened as I let myself walk silent, and be in silence. I could hear the voice within guiding me, consoling me, and informing me of the truths of this existence. When I let myself just be in a space of external quiet, a strong yet gentle stillness became ME. Throughout my week long stay, this stillness became more readily accessible, even as the external world at times got louder. These are the moments that re-ignited my fire for life and adventure that had been dimmed from too many days in obligation to others.

DSC08016Over my eleven years of predominantly solo travel, including backpacking Europe, cruising through the Aegean sea,  Cycling along river Danube in eastern Europe, trekking across glaciers in Iceland and driving through the jungles in Africa, I’ve learned a few things about traveling alone. It’s an art, and one that doesn’t come naturally to everyone. It takes a strong will, vulnerability, and absolute trust to really get it right. I also realize that solo traveling is kind of a step closer to spiritualism. One foundational idea that is present in many spiritual traditions is that we must not become too attached to things, especially material possessions. We are told to live in the moment, and just touch each moment lightly, as one passes to the next. Solo travel helps foster this teaching because as we are on the move, going from one place to the next, nothing is permanent. Travel offers to teach us to “live lightly” and relish experiences and relationships more than material things and every being we meet on our travels become part of the stories that are cherished long after the trips are over and they live in our memories for rest of our life.

IMG_0224My neighbor, Pauli,  gasped and started clicking away on her camera. “Whoah”, said one of them. I gasped too because the sight I’d waited a lifetime and 11 cold midnights out in Northern Nordic was infront of me – the elusive northern lights had unveiled themselves. I have known disappointments in my life but nothing had disappointed me as much as returning every night without seeing the northern lights. To improve on the -13C cold, I had to wear 5-6 layers through out the night. “It’s not fun” I said to myself “but it’s got to be done “. It wasn’t that I expected the all-singing, all dancing Northern lights as soon as I landed in the Arctic Circle. I knew as everyone who’s planned a northern lights trip knows, that the Aurora Borealis is skittish and elusive. And yet here I was who had traveled across seven time zones to see the northern lights. “Turn around” barked my host, Mikolas from Slovakia, brandishing his camera. I didn’t want photos, but he didn’t care and positioned me wherever I could fit in. There I was, standing on the edge of the fjord with a plume of green waving in the background above my head. An emerald wind was dancing across the Arctic sky. The stars were winking at me from behind the curtain of lights. I was still, not wanting to breathe, for fear of frightening the lights away. I have experienced nothing as spiritual as gazing Aurora Borealis standing breathless that night. There is no more uplifting natural phenomenon than this in the world.

 

IMG_3229When I traveled through Scandinavian Countries, my focus shifted from my familiar life to unimagined potentials and this did not happen only when I was in a sacred site but a site that touched me deep within, mesmerizing views of Fjords, uplifting unveiling of Aurora Borealis, climbing Snow-laden Peaks, experiencing the strongest tidal currant of the world in Saltstraumen, braving -14 degree celsius temperatures outdoor that felt -25 degrees with winds blowing, were all unimagined for me. I was a bit out of my comfort zone and into the zone where magic happened. I was more open to universe and less attached to the world. I was taught the most valuable lessons —that we are insignificant, that we are at the mercy of Mother Nature, and that life will go on long after we’re dead.
Gone are my own worst impulses. I spent a good half an hour sitting on a rock watching puffin play in the snow. This was the definition of photographer’s gold, and I didn’t take a single shot. I am grateful that I spent my time here enjoying these moments, rather than chasing down the elusive perfect photo that was unlikely to materialize anyway.

 

Iceland-Roadtrip-1920-28Long walks by the sea in Danish Riviera in Denmark, hikes in the geothermal area and Walking the glaciers in Iceland, gazing at the razor-sharp Fjords and relaxing in the Hot Pots right in nature in Norway, hiking up a volcano that could erupt any time and go for a day-long ride into the wilderness where no cars or people come on the typical Iceland horses. All these experiences made me much more spiritual and synced me more with my inner world while I was out exploring the outer world. I like the new version of me that Nordic made. A quieter version of myself. A more inquisitive version of myself. More of an athlete, more of a scientist, far less self-conscious, far less egoistic. A traveler who let go of her expectations, only took what she was freely given, and was profoundly changed as a result.

Have you experienced spirituality on your travels?

18 thoughts on “My Nordic Venture-An Outer Reflection Of Inner Experiences”

  1. Excellent travelogue as always! Your writing literally puts one into your shoes and tempts one to visit the destination.

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  2. I’m completely moved by your profound post. I agree travel connects us to our inner world as much as it does to the outer world. Chasing Northern Lights is my life long dream and I hope that magical day comes soon in my life. I haven’t travelled solo yet however, I can still relate to the inner change that travel brings in us. I feel that change in me after every trip. Norway is on my bucket list. Your heart-touching post and super amazing photographs have motivated me to plan my trip to Norway soon. 🙂

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    1. Hey Shaily I hope you get to catch the northern lights soon. Traveling solo connects us faster with our inner world as you take total control of the situation when need arises and it makes you discover the true you.

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  3. I really enjoyed reading this because I’ve felt some moments like this on my travels. It’s been more of a healing and moving on than spiritual, but the way you described it reminds me of my time! Your photos are incredible, and I can only imagine what it was like watching the Aurora Borealis in front of you.

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  4. Very well written… was great to read! “…Into the zone where magic happened” – That is exactly also my approach while travelling. Of course you cannot always expect the big magic, but often its the small things where magic happens. I love your impressions, they make me want to go immediately back to Scandinavia to feel and see the magic of the north. Especially the Northern lights are something i still did not experience and would love to see.

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  5. I won’t lie – I’m not a very spiritual person so that doesn’t play into my travels, but I love solo travel as well and have found it’s one of the best ways to really find yourself and learn to love yourself/love spending time with yourself. Because if you can’t even do that, how can you expect others to, right? Looks like you had a wonderful time in the Nordics, which I’m thrilled to see as the Nordics are probably my favorite region in the world. I’m going back to Iceland for my third time tonight and have been to Scandinavia more times than I’ve been anywhere else in the world! Hope you didn’t freeze too much watching the northern lights! Your photos are absolutely gorgeous.

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    1. Thanks Diana. Hope you enjoyed your third trip to Iceland. Yearning for solo travel to connect to your self signifies a spiritual approach to life. Loving yourself so that you are able to love the world better is also being spiritual. Enjoy your journey and keep loving yourself

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  6. I am not sure if I have experienced spirituality on my travels. What I often feel on my travels, especially when in the midst of nature, is a feeling of peace and humility. Nature is so stunning and powerful and we are so insignificant compared to it.

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    1. Feeling peace and humility is part of spiritualism. The thought that nature is powerful also reveals the spiritual side of experiencing the world the way it is

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  7. I am so jealous that you got to see the northern lights! It’s something I would love to see one day too, well done for braving the cold and getting out there to enjoy them! Norway looks like a beautiful place to visit. Your reflections on your inner spirituality show a lot of insight as well. Great that you got to reflect like that whilst you were there.

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  8. Wow, you have no idea how timely this post is since I’m stepping out of my comfort zone to travel alone in another country next month. Thank you for the totally reassuring perspective. I love the Scandinavian countries and although I didn’t see the Northern Lights there, I did see them in Churchill, Manitoba this year. So beautiful.

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    1. Its awesome. I am sending you all the love and inspiration that you will require and do share your experience . Northern lights anywhere is bonus, isn’t it?

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  9. Sounds like you had quite the experience! I’m not much of a spiritual traveler myself, but I’m glad you got the chance to explore that part of you. Hard to imagine a better place than winter in Scandinavia! So many beautiful, remote places–I’m sure that the silence was incredible, being alone out in the snow.

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