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Travel is my Ikigai

According to Japanese belief stepping out of one’s routine and experiencing something new, learning something new, or simply meeting someone new is good for the brain. It keeps the brain active and is what helps individuals achieve longevity. Japan has a reputation for healthy living that incorporates the mind body and soul, which forms part of their recipe for a long life. Part of this involves maintaining Ikigai (some of you may have read the book, for those who haven’t) one aspect of Ikigai is being able to step outside your comfort zone and change your routine. Studies have shown that even a small change in routine does wonders for the brain. Which leads me to my next point, travel creates change in the most fantastic ways, without even noticing it. By connecting with new people and exposing yourself to new cultures, the brain has been exercised and therefore stimulated and revitalised. I understand that for some people, stepping outside the familiarity of one’s own culture can be a little scary, if not frightening, but remember, a little anxiety is ok.

In addition to exercising the brain through travel, I have come to realise it is my Ikigai along with writing. Ikigai is our purpose and motivation in life. We can lose our sense of time and place when performing our Ikigai. I am fortunate enough to know that I discovered my Ikigai long ago in the mountains of Crete in Greece. I lost my sense of time and connection to “the outside world,” while navigating through the mountains. Only once on a bus alone on the back seat listening to Muse, did I come back to my senses and observe my surroundings. In that single moment in time winding through the hills, looking out over the serene ocean with only a mountain goat to share my view, did I realise I would never forget the feeling of complete serenity and peace with the world around me. Still to this day, I struggle to find the words to create that feeling in my reader, but the truth is, until you experience “it” words simply do not describe what was felt in that one moment so many years ago, because we remember feelings, and this one is well and truly etched into my brain. No one else was there to witness me simply sitting on a bus in the mountains, I was not in front of a special monument or grand building, but the feeling was grander than any historical monument.

Many of us look to find satisfaction in our careers, yet land in careers that were chosen for us. Unfortunately, this can distract us from finding our true Ikigai. Again, that is where travel comes in to pull us out of our comfort zone and shakes us out of complacency. The world has become clearer, and we are now ready to reset and restart.

So my question is, what is your Ikigai?


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