Poetry Series #9: For the Traveler, by John O’Donohue


For the Traveler

by John O’Donohue

Every time you leave home,
Another road takes you
Into a world you were never in.

New strangers on other paths await.
New places that have never seen you
Will startle a little at your entry.
Old places that know you well
Will pretend nothing
Changed since your last visit.

When you travel, you find yourself
Alone in a different way,
More attentive now
To the self you bring along,
Your more subtle eye watching
You abroad; and how what meets you
Touches that part of the heart
That lies low at home:

How you unexpectedly attune
To the timbre in some voice,
Opening in conversation
You want to take in
To where your longing
Has pressed hard enough
Inward, on some unsaid dark,
To create a crystal of insight
You could not have known
You needed
To illuminate
Your way.

When you travel,
A new silence
Goes with you,
And if you listen,
You will hear
What your heart would
Love to say.

A journey can become a sacred thing:
Make sure, before you go,
To take the time
To bless your going forth,
To free your heart of ballast
So that the compass of your soul
Might direct you toward
The territories of spirit
Where you will discover
More of your hidden life,
And the urgencies
That deserve to claim you.

May you travel in an awakened way,
Gathered wisely into your inner ground;
That you may not waste the invitations
Which wait along the way to transform you.

May you travel safely, arrive refreshed,
And live your time away to its fullest;
Return home more enriched, and free
To balance the gift of days which call you.

travel goals

Some Day, Maybe Travel Goals

travel goals

As we go through our lives, we all have those flashes of inspiration and dreams that come to mind about things we should do or adventures we’d like to take. And I think for many of us, we let those moments pass us by and never think seriously or take action or seriously on these dreams. So instead of just thinking about them and letting them pass me by, I thought I’d take some time to start compiling a list of those goals and at least start the planning process. They may be big, audacious, and unrealistic at this time, but if you have a dream, the passion to achieve your dreams, and the determination to follow through with them, the sky’s the limit and the only one stopping us is ourselves. As I think and dream about the future, I’m reminded of this quote by Theodore Roosevelt

“Far better it is to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered by failure, than to take rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy nor suffer much, because they live in the gray twilight that knows neither victory nor defeat.”

As I started this process of writing down my goals, I’ve split them into a variety of categories, including life skills, travel, personal achievements, personal, and professional, and tried to attach a timeline as to when I would like to accomplish it by, or in the case of the travel goals, if there is a specific time when it takes place. Thinking of this a a work-in-progress list of things I’d like to do (or have done), I’d like to share with you what’s on my list of travel goals for the future. And if you have any interesting ideas you’d like to share, leave your suugestions in the comments!

  1. Attend (participate in?!) the Running of the Bulls
  2. Visit Macchu Piccu
  3. Explore Easter Island
  4. Visit Christ Redeemer Statue
  5. Snowboard Whistler / Rockies
  6. Attend / Participate in La Tomatina
  7. Ride an ostrich (seriously!)
  8. Stay in an underwater hotel
  9. Dogsled in the ArcticVictoria Falls
  10. Attend Oktoberfest in Germany
  11. Stay a night in a Japanese capsule hotel
  12. Pushkar Camel Fest
  13. Drive route 66
  14. Go skydiving
  15. Climb Mt Fuji
  16. Scuba Diva in the Great Barrier Reef
  17. Attend a Super Bowl
  18. Attend Mardi Gras
  19. Scuba Dive to a ship-wreck
  20. Go Surfing in Hawaii
  21. Horseback Riding/Ride a camel across a sandy desert (completed Feb 2008)
  22. Go white water rafting (completed summer 2004 and fall 2007)
  23. Attend Carnival Ride in a hot air balloon
  24. Drive down the Autobahn
  25. Go Hiking in the Grand Canyon
  26. Fenway Park ballgame vs. Yankees >
  27. Run a marathon in foreign city (Big Five Marathon perhaps?!)
  28. Trek in the Amazon rainforest
  29. Bare all on nude beach (maybe….)
  30. Galapagos Islands
  31. Egyptian Pyramids
  32. New Zealand hiking
  33. Ride through the Venitian Canals
  34. Travel and explore Scandanavia
  35. Go on at least a week long sailing trip
  36. Week long camping/canoe trip
  37. Participate in an orienteering race
  38. Attend Burning Man FestivalRide the Trans-Siberian Train


A Long Overdue Homecoming!

homecomingGreetings everyone from Toronto!

I am happy to say that me (and all my luggage) are now safe and sound back home in Toronto! After a month of traveling in India and another month and a half after that in Europe, it’s good to be home. And while it’s almost impossible to sum up all my experiences and adventures in a single email, I’ll highlight a few of my favourite moments from the various places that I went to.

Cherrapunjee, India:
This is a place that I will forever be talking about because of so many great experiences that I had here. Advertised as an eco-tourism destination, we had a chance to see several incredible living root bridges and go caving in the wettest place on Earth (the city holds 2 Guinness World Records).

Barcelona, Spain:
This city was full of amazing sights and cool people. From the Picasso museum to the architectural wonders of Gaudi, I had a really good time in the city, and the nightlife was a blast too!

Interlaken, Switzerland:
Did you know that the world’s longest sled run is in Switzerland and is 15km long?! And though we didn’t go down the longest one because that would’ve involved a 2.5 hours hike up to the starting point after you get off from the top of the chairlift, we did go down another really, really, long one that was super fun and a real adrenaline rush!

Vienna, Austria:
2 operas in 3 nights, including a 5 hour Wagner opera with standing room tickets! A little crazy….yes, feet a little sore at the end of the night…you bet, but worth the experience…definitely!

Berlin, German:
Besides seeing the remains of the Berlin wall and some cool museums, Berlin offered us a unique and exquisite culinary experience at a restaurant called Unsicht-Bar. After ordering your food from a poetic sounding menu, you’re led into a pitch black room where you are seated, are served, and enjoy your food without being able to see a thing! And as the food comes and goes, your taste buds are stretched as you try to identify exactly what it is you are eating. And yes, you do get to see the “answer card” to know what it was you were putting in your mouth over the past hour or so of dining. And yes, you can get some surprises, like bull’s tongue in my sister’s “surprise” menu.


The Great Month-Long Trip Through India


As many of you have asked me about my trip through India, I thought I’d give you a rundown of all the places that I went to in India as well as brief description for those of you who are thinking of traveling there in the future.

Delhi ==> Jaisalmer (state of Rajasthan)

We took an overnight, almost 18 hour train ride from Delhi to Jaisalmer. This was the longest train ride of our entire trip, but worth it as we started a 3 day, 2 night desert camel safari from here.

Jaisalmer ==> Jodhpur

I really liked Rajasthan from my first trip here in December and so decided to take some more time to see more cities here. Unfortunately, we had to skip Udaipur as train connections were pretty slim in and out of the city. Jodhpur is similar to most Rajasthani cities with a fort on top of the hill, a market and a museum.

Jodhpur ==> Jaipur

There were 2 reason for going to Jaipur. The first is that I think it has the best shopping in Rajasthan for crafts – though you must bargain like crazy. The second reason is that train connections are much better for getting into Madhya Pradesh (our next destination)
Jaipur is part of the “golden triangle” which includes Delhi and Agra and this is one of the most common trips that foreign tourist take while in India

Jaipur ==> Gwalior (state of Madhya Pradesh)

This city in MP boasts a huge hilltop fort, cool statues carved into the side of the rock on the climb up, and is NOT a touristy city. As a result, the restaurants, food, and hotels were disappointing, but the fort and sights there were worth the trip

Gwalior ==> Orchha via Jhansi

We took a bus to Jhansi, then auto rickshaw to Orchha and I would highly recommend Orchha as a place to go while in MP or while in India. It is called the “hidden temple” as there is a huge fort and ruins of a fort and temples growing out the jungle. This is apparantly also the setting for Rudyard Kipling’s Jungle Book (according to LP)

Jhansi ==> Khajuraho

We splurged and hired a taxi to take us to Khajuraho to see tha Kama Sutra temples. Despite being a super touristy city, the temples were beautiful, grand, and magnificent, and worth the trip.

Khajuraho ==> Varanasi via Satna (state of Uttar Pradesh)

We took a taxi again to Satna, then caught a train to Varanasi. This train was extremely late and delayed by around 6 hours, but we made it without any other problems

Varanasi ==> Darjeeling (state of West Bengal)

we had to take a train to NJP (New Jaipalguri) then a taxi up to the hill station of Darjeeling. Unfortunately we missed the tea plucking season, but took a 2 day hike up to the border of Nepal and stayed in a nice resort which made the trip worthwhile.

Darjeeling ==> Cherrapunjee via NJP and Guwahati (state of Meghalaya in NE India)

Cherrapunjee is a MUST SEE if you go and visit the NE states. I could write so much about it including the living root bridges, caving, being the wettest place in the world, and having a great place to stay, but you really must go there to experience it for yourself

Cherrapunjee ==> Khazaranga (state of Assam)

Here we went on a Rhino safari, but besides the park, there really isn’t too much else to do here.

Khazaranga ==> Delhi via. Guwahati

For the last leg of our journey, we flew back to Delhi from Guwahati and ended our cross country journey from on the of farthest West places in India to one of the farthest East places in India and from the Pakistan border to the Bangladesh border and back to Delhi.

When I get some more time, I will try and post some pictures from each of these places as well as the approximate location within India to give you some perspective on where each place is.