Going Places Takes us Places! / How Travel Changes Us /

I’m sitting here on a plane. It’s the first time I’ve left Finland since returning from the Camino almost three months ago.

I love airline onflight magazines and the January Edition of Scandinavian Traveler (SAS) has been particularly interesting. First there are Nordic related articles e.g on the up and coming teen tennis player, Casper Rudd (Norway) and nouveau-pop star, Tove Styrke, (Sweden) – but even more interesting (to me) are the in-depth look at current travel trends: going solo, thrill seeking (adventure pursuits) and most interesting of all digitally detoxing

Whether it’s the anxiety of being away from the office or it is social media-driven FOMO (fear of missing out)- we’re more likely than ever to be tied to our smartphones.

Interestingly, being on the Camino last autumn ticked all three of those boxes simultaneously.

Make no mistake, walking the Camino was quite the adventure … the climbs, and some of the descents in particular were very technically challenging, but I loved them the most. Along with the awesome sunrises day after day of course!

I chose to do the Camino solo (rather than with a friend) and that too, while a conscious well-reasoned choice, actually was so much better for me than I dared imagined. I was never lonely – there were days I walked alone (by choice) or evenings I withdrew to be alone, and I always took time out alone to write up my diary, but I also made friends with significant people -fellow pilgrims – and today I’m on my way to meet up with one of them!

I unplugged*for the Camino. I switched off Facebook, I discouraged people (family and friends) from sending me updates on what they were up to, what the weather was like where they were etc, and that gave me incredible space to be present to whatever the Camino offered me!

(*I did send one watsap message each day to my family group, so they knew where -and how – I was, and i usually shared a photo with them as part of the package … and I used my daily handwritten notes and photos from my iPhone to keep a blog (using a mini iPad) … but other than that I ignored social media for the two months, and after the first withdrawal pangs, I felt a real sense of freedom.)

The results of a SAS survey part of their ‘going places takes us places’ campaign also caught my interest!

Key Findings

#1 we bring home perspective

(Exposure to political matters energises is back home)

#2 sometimes we change the world

(think globally, act locally)

#3 sometimes the world changes us

(more open minded)

#4 we find love

(find other travellers inspiring and interesting)

#5 we fall in love with what we left back home

(we consider the important things in life, including loved ones back home)

#6 we bring home joy

(new insights from what we’ve seen and experienced while travelling are sources of joy)

#7 we come back with new priorities

(bring new knowledge and ideas into our culture)

So here I am heading off for another adventure … and wondering how this trip will change me, and if that change impacts others positively or not!

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