Tag: traveling

10/28/12 “Benefits of Travel”

Good day, team.

After traveling in Europe for three weeks, I have to admit there’s no place like home. Living out of a suitcase and managing travel logistics to seven major cities in 21 days is challenging. As I sit here by the fire this morning with my cup of tea, I am happy to say it was a full trip, but I’m also happy to be home safe and sound.

Whenever I’ve gone on a journey, I always ask myself three questions: What did I learn about the world? What was the greatest gift I received? What did I learn about myself?

This week’s challenge is my attempt to answer these questions. I could apply these questions to my life at anytime. But traveling to foreign places always offers something new to learn, and it’s a great way to broaden your perspective on the world.

So what did I learn about the world? I last traveled to Italy 22 years ago. Back then, the major cities in Italy were most crowded during the spring and summer months. October was a bit more subdued, and the tourists were much smaller in numbers. Not true today! What stood out to me was how many more people there are in the world now. As human beings, no matter what else goes on, we just continue to produce more human beings. I was shocked by the huge numbers of people I encountered — and how challenging it was to navigate in such crowds. I’m pretty polite when it comes to standing in lines and making space for others on the metro. But I had to fight my way into many spaces with people who thought nothing of delivering an elbow jab to my upper arm or abdomen to get where they wanted to go. I realize that in parts of the world, people experience this hustle and bustle on a daily basis, and I shouldn’t take it personally — but geez, a little human kindness would be nice. I have a client who, after attending a weeklong retreat where she tried to meet new people and make some friends, observed, “Well, I realized that I have a great love for humanity, but I don’t like anyone in particular.” Frankly, I began to feel just the opposite. I like a lot of folks in particular, but during my trip, I felt a growing dislike for humanity in general!

What was the greatest gift I received? A wonderful dining experience in Florence with our host Carla. We stayed at this woman’s home, which she’s turned into a bed and breakfast. Part of what she offers her visitors is a six-course, authentic Tuscan dinner. This meal was one of the finest dining experiences I’ve ever had. The food was beyond great, prepared to perfection. The wines matched with it were superb. And the company at the table was just the right blend of people — a mixture of Americans and Italians who shared similar values and who wanted to connect. We shared our travel experiences and what we loved most about Florence and Italy. Another great gift during the trip was being able to get our wash done in Rome. After 2½ weeks of doing laundry by hand, this was a total luxury!

What did I learn about myself? I’ve gotten older. I’m more opinionated. I am less patient about my creature comforts. I often feel more at home in parts of Europe than I do in parts of the U.S. I am one small speck in an extremely large universe. Mark Twain wrote, “Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry and narrow-mindedness.” I had many opportunities for my opinions to be challenged and my narrow thinking to expand.

Your challenge this week is to ponder these questions. You don’t have to go on a journey to ask yourself what you’ve learned about the world lately. Or what the greatest gift you received this week was. Have you learned anything new about yourself lately? Traveling forces us to be more nimble and less set in our ways — to adapt. But each of us can do this each week by examining our thinking and attitudes. Don’t be afraid to ask yourself these questions to observe what in your life is teaching you something new or offering you a gift that might give you joy.

St. Augustine wrote, “The world is a book, and those who do not travel read only one page.”

After three weeks of traveling, I’ve read a few more chapters and hope to take what I’ve learned back into my daily life and routine.

Have a good week!


© Copyright 2012 Pathfinders Coaching, Scout Search Inc., all rights reserved.


Good day, team,

This week’s challenge is about the benefits of shaking up our normal patterns. I just spent two weeks immersed in French culture and cuisine, and the greatest gift of this vacation was the opportunity to do everyday things very differently.

Try speaking a foreign language for two weeks: That alone will help you see yourself and your world from a different perspective (three years of high school French was not much help). Take two hours for lunch each day dining on some of the finest cuisine in the world or walk everywhere you want to go in a large city. Find yourself in a toilette without any toilet or ordering a steak medium rare and having it served raw. Become totally lost and be forced to ask a complete stranger for help without speaking their language (in our case, this always lead to a positive experience as the French are always so willing to help and have a wonderful joie de vivre!).

Each of these experiences gave me the chance to be more awake, to be out of my comfort zone and struggle to make something work or to be understood. Although it’s irritating, it always forced me to pay attention and provided the opportunity to notice aspects of my surroundings I never would have seen if I were in my normal daily routine, like the way light falls through a hotel window in the afternoon after a luxurious nap or what a carpet of ferns looks like in the early morning on a search for mushrooms in a French forest.

Every time I travel, I experience a wonder and innocence that get lost in my regular life of work, chores and responsibilities. I know this doesn’t have to be the case, and I’ve tried many times to jolt myself out of the low hum of work life, but the more familiar my life, the more asleep I seem to be. Fortunately, I find myself in a business where my clients tend to awaken me with their comments, stories and observations. Being present to them is my most important job, and it never ceases to amaze me how much I am inspired by their sincerity and hard work.

This week, try changing how you do things just enough to wake yourself up. You don’t have to travel halfway around the world to be more aware of your surroundings. Knowing how easy it is to take our lives for granted, try spending some time doing the dance a little differently so you can remember how much you enjoy it.

Here’s a lovely quote from Gresley that speaks to my point:

“Our object in traveling should be not to gratify curiosity and seek mere temporary amusement, but to learn, and to venerate, to improve the understanding and the heart.”

And another from Mark Twain:

“I have traveled more than anyone else, and I have noticed that even the angels speak English with an accent.”

Think about what you can do to shake things up a bit and notice what otherwise gets lost in your day. Or, better yet, start planning your next vacation and do some research about where you’d like to go and what you’d like to see.

Standing in front of Notre Dame in Paris last week, I noticed that the entire front of the cathedral has now been completely cleaned and restored. When I visited two years ago, much of the front was covered in scaffolding. There in front of me, the late morning light shone on the beautiful faces and figures carved out of off-white, pink-hued stone. The entire structure is such a thing of beauty that it took my breath away. In that moment, I realized how fortunate I was to be there. Now my challenge is to bring that appreciation to the more mundane moments in my life.

Have a good week!


Kathleen Doyle-White

Pathfinders Coaching

(503) 296-9249

© Copyright 2010 Pathfinders Coaching, Scout Search, Inc., all rights reserved.