When world traveler, photographer, writer and historian Chandi Wyant set out on a forty-day trek along the Via Francigena – Italy’s historic pilgrimage route – her greatest hope was to reconnect with her spirit in the wake of a divorce and traumatic illness.
She did not anticipate how profoundly spiritual the experience would be. At various moments along the way – from a mass in Siena to a stay with Francisca nuns in Sutri – Chandi was surprised to feel purged of her inner demons (her obsessions over disappointments and their pain); and awed by the experience of pure emotional surrender.
These are chronicled in her new memoir, Return to Glow: A Pilgrimage of Transformation in Italy.
Travel lends itself well to spiritual growth and transformation. Chandi believes that having the right mindset is key to opening oneself up to these experiences. Here’s her advice for fostering that mindset:
Get out of your comfort zone
Dare to travel somewhere that might feel like a push, either due to distance, lack of familiar amenities, foreign languages spoken or challenging natural conditions.
Leave fear behind
There tends to be a culture of fear around travel – particularly overseas. Ignore the noise. Dig down and face the challenges. Chances are they’ll be no more than minor inconveniences, such as getting lost or having to shake off a stranger who’s trying to be too friendly.
Nothing opens the mind and heart to a spiritual experience like solitude. It may not always be easy, and there will undoubtedly be some lonesome, wistful moments, but it is these very moments that allow a spiritual journey to unfold.
Take the time to listen to your heart
Having a schedule is helpful, but taking your time, going with the flow and making unexpected choices from the heart are vital to connecting with the spiritual gifts your journey holds.
No trip or spiritual journey is a panacea for all life’s troubles. But in discovering your own resilience you’ll have given yourself the tools for facing them with greater courage and aplomb.
You can learn more about Chandi and view her travel writing on her site http://paradiseofexiles.com and you can purchase her memoir on Amazon staring April 2, 2017.