“I gotta find peace of mind, I gotta find peace of mind… He says its impossible, but I know its possible. To finally be in love and know the real meaning of… Oh you inspire me, to be the higher me…” Peace of Mind, Lauryn Hill
While Lauryn sings about the love of a man in this song, I found the lyrics to have a different meaning. What gives me piece of mind?
T R A V E L.
I’m not talking about the all-inclusive-resort-be-lazy-on-the-beach-travel (not that there’s anything wrong with that as I’ve indulged in these type of vacations while on the beaches of Puerto Rico, The Dominican Republic, Aruba, The Bahamas, and Jamaica (the first time I visited the country), I’m talking the type of traveling that changes your life.
Have you ever gone on a trip that changed your life? The trip that changed my life was Jamaica (JA) earlier this year. This was my second visit to the country and I set out to enjoy a completely non-touristy experience (unlike my first trip there several years ago in which I flew into Montego Bay (Mo Bay), stayed at an all-inclusive resort, and visited several tourist attractions – Dunn’s River Falls in Ocho Rios –> http://www.dunnsriverfallsja.com/, Margaritaville in Mo Bay (I won a “who can simulate the most sexual positions in under one minute contest here. The prize, free liqs!) –>http://www.margaritavillecaribbean.com/welcome_montegobay.html, and Rick’s Café in Negril (yes I jumped off the 30 foot cliff into the ocean)--> http://www.rickscafejamaica.com/). I flew into Kingston and stayed in the St. Elizabeth Parish of Jamaica, WI at a close friend’s house (Rock Star Villa – a large Bed & Breakfast). To read more about that experience click here –> https://unicorninbrooklyn.com/2014/03/10/uib-travels-jamaica-part-i/ and here –> https://unicorninbrooklyn.com/2014/04/09/uib-travels-jamaica-part-ii/).
During my travels I experienced a multitude of breathtaking events, but THE most serene and clarifying moments for me were when I received a massage from a dread up in Bath Fountain (in St. Thomas, JA) and had a spiritual awakening & when I walked along Bamboo Avenue en route to the Appleton Rum Estates. The clarity and appreciation for simplicity was overwhelming and soul shaking. There was a stillness in the air that I cannot explain. It was as if I’d heard my thoughts for the first time.
Let me tell you something – I prayed to God on many a night (for years) asking him to reveal my purpose to me, but felt that my prayers were often lost in transmission. I felt defeated – as lost as a feather blowing in the wind. I loathed that feeling because I wanted to live the same purpose-filled life that so many around me were living. I recall praying to God a few days before my trip and asking him again to reveal my purpose because I yearned for it. Little did I know that it would be revealed to me soon within the next few days.
I journaled on a daily basis and found myself often teary-eyed. With each sentence I became more and more emotional. I was overwhelmed with gratitude, I felt incredibly abundant, and immensely blessed to experience such an amazing trip. During my journaling I realized something – I was moving myself to tears & random moments of laughter with my words and it was effortless. Was I onto something here? Was God revealing something to me, something that I knew all along, but just couldn’t see it? Did I need this moment of clarity and peace to help me see it?
All my life I knew that I enjoyed writing and knew that I was good at it (as I was often encouraged by teachers, professors, family, and friends to write), but I never took it seriously. I didn’t think that I could actually do it and be successful at it. JA changed that for me. It was there that I realized my purpose clear as day and embraced it and found my “peace of mind”.
I believe that my purpose is to create. While this is ambiguous to some, it is specific to me. I am a creative being that is supposed to create. I create vivid pictures with my words as a writer so that I can both entertain and inspire my readers. I have been at peace since I had that revelation and I must say I love it! I no longer feel bombarded or weighed down. I feel weightless and excited about the possibilities of what my talents will bring me.
With this new found peace and purpose I have decided to shake things up and again travel off the beaten path. My love for travel is leading me to the Middle East (Dubai) and Southeast Asia (Thailand & Cambodia) on a solo adventure later this year for two reasons: (1) A solo trip is on my bucket list (Do you have a bucket list? If not I highly advise you create one and post in a highly visible place for daily inspiration. The bucket list doesn’t have to be travel based – you can include all sorts of things that you’ve always wanted to do right in your own proverbial backyard (i.e., plant a tree, volunteer in a soup kitchen, etc.) and (2) This is an inexpensive destination (excluding Dubai). I wanted to go to a place where I could get the most bang for my buck (SE Asia is very inexpensive) and immerse myself in a culture that is completely foreign to me.
To be honest, Thailand wasn’t on my “bucket list”, but Cambodia is (for reasons that I will elaborate on later). Thailand kind of fell across my lap because its close to Cambodia and I have a relative there. While I am looking forward to my visit to Thailand (I look forward to playing with tiger cubs, riding and feeding elephants, and familiarizing myself with the Thai culture – through solo explorations) and I am EXCITED to visit Cambodia. I am anxious to visit the temples of Angkor Wat so I can do my own damn tomb raiding (this, Angkor Wat, is where Angelina Jolie filmed Tomb Raider)!
Purchasing my Ticket
The day that I purchased my plane ticket (it ran me about $1150) with Emirates Airlines (an award winning airline known for their elite treatment and phenomenal customer service) I experienced a spectrum of emotions. “Thai” was lying in the bed next to me on that Saturday morning helping me pick the best itinerary with the longest layover in Dubai. Once we decided on the best option I proceeded to book my ticket. Shortly after that I posted “what I was feeling to Facebook”:
“I had the only butterflies. I smiled with glee. I cried. I just booked my flight to Bangkok, Thailand with a 14-hour layover in Dubai. I leave JFK on a Wednesday, spend all day in Dubai on Thursday, and arrive in Thailand on Friday morning. Best part, this is a solo trip! #BucketList #BucketListBeast #LivingMyLifeLikeItsGolden” – 11:12am
Those feelings were real. I squeezed the shit outta Thai’s hand as I entered the last digit of my credit card into ticket purchasing page. I cried happy tears and could not stop smiling. Thai and I hugged for quite some time because it was a moment of celebration. He knew what I was feeling because he’d been to Asia several times before. He was just as excited for me as I was for myself and I am happy that he was there to share in that experience with me.
Now the fun begins!!! I start my research – figure out which tours I want to go on, where I want to stay (staying at a hostel is on my bucket list – so I want to include a hostel stay during my trip, but I also plan to stay at hotels as well) and what I want to see while abroad. This is real. This is really happening and I cannot wait!
I’ve purchased a journal for my trip and plan to write every single detail so I can capture moments as they happen and share these moments with you.
I look forward to the days leading up to the trip and welcome any tips or advice that you may have for me while abroad.
Until Next Time Friends!
~ Pennie Penz