I recently read an essay called Why We Travel by Pico Iyer. These lines struck me:
So travel, at heart, is just a quick way to keeping our minds mobile and awake. As Santayana...wrote, “There is wisdom in turning as often as possible from the familiar to the unfamiliar; it keeps the mind nimble; it kills prejudice, and it fosters humor.” Romantic poets inaugurated an era of travel because they were the great apostles of open eyes. Buddhist monks are often vagabonds, in part because they believe in wakefulness. And if travel is like love, it is, in the end, mostly because it’s a heightened state of awareness, in which we are mindful, receptive, undimmed by familiarity and ready to be transformed.
An ongoing value of mine is wakefulness. It troubles me how easy it is to disconnect from immediacy and our own aliveness. How easily we can get caught up in endless discursive thought that disconnects us from being able to appreciate our life.
I'm in the midst of 5 weeks of travel, and admittedly it is not enough to keep me consistently free from petty preoccupation. It helps though and I feel more alert and attuned to the flow of life.