The Journey Begins With Yes


"Journeys are the midwives of thought. Few places are more conducive to the internal conversations than moving planes, ships or trains." ~ Alain deBotton

On The Wind is a blog by a psychotherapist who specializes in mindfulness and mediation and is journeying on a wellness, mediation and yoga travel retreat to Vietnam.

Vietnam’s first civilizations arose in the Red River Valley some 5,000 years ago. Today, this breathtaking country is at once exotic and fast developing, where the sheer number of motorbikes alongside the unprompted kindness of the people will bring a smile to your face. (Pravassa) Vietnam is a country with 92.7 million people, with at least 2/3 of them born after 1975.  While there is an ancient and rich history, there is also a young population brimming with energy and focus on a vibrant future, technology, and all things Western!

Journeying through travel is quite a thing. First, you say yes, to the trip and all it may mean.  Then comes the outward preparation. The decision to go, typically followed by the months of having it on the calendar while real life continues. The slow turn toward the trip begins, winding down work projects, finishing commitments, clearing the schedule, planning, shopping, and packing. And if you’re like I am, wanting to clean the house and leave everything in order as I prepare to go.

The morning of departure is a great time for a workout (Pravassa’s Travel Tip: break a sweat before a long flight), calling Uber--and you’re off!  These concrete, logistical plans made to prepare for a trip are one layer of the experience.

The transcontinental flight, moving through time zones, days, landscapes, and cultures is, in and of itself, the bridge of the journey. Sixteen hours from Atlanta, Georgia to Seoul, Korea, followed by four hours from Seoul to Hanoi, Vietnam is an undisputed journey in time and worlds. The flight itself gently releases my grip of schedule and routine, slowly turning it towards languages, worlds, currencies, and times that are truly, to this woman, beyond the imagination. The zoneless, nationless space in the flight creates the fertile ground for leaving one place and set ways of being, and begins to open places and doors inside for new worlds, unknown and unimaginable. Thus begins the shift of mindset and experience. Travel involves an inner journey as well. Whether it is rest and relaxation with a family week at the beach or immersing yourself a new place and culture, the opportunity to come back changed is available.

Vietnam offers many layers of spiritual journeying.  A culture and people as I have never experienced.  Food so foreign to my Southern palate. Smells, sights, and sounds to stimulate my senses and awaken new curiosities.  Adding meditation and yoga on this wellness trip enhances openness and awareness to these new experiences, places, and people. More than just seeing and tasting, but feeling and experiencing. Taking it all into my very being, embodying the experience, weaving it into who I am and what I have experienced. Truly, with heart and presence, harnessing the moments to be #changedbytravel.  Having arrived at midnight, dark and eager,  I will see what arrives in the morning as I awake in Hanoi and begin this adventure!

Alyce Wellons