Travel as a Mirror and Map: How Travel Changes and Orients Us with Dorian Mintzer and Kendall Dudley

Travel awakens our senses and makes life vivid! In contrast to our daily lives, where habits and familiarity blunt our awareness, travel heightens our senses and makes us pay attention to new surroundings. If we are willing to look closely, we may see what has been hiding in plain sight: our emerging self!

Our culture softens our edges by offering us comfort and security in trade for experimentation and purposeful risk-taking. Worse, we can believe the time for self-rediscovery or dramatic change is past, belonging only to those younger than us. Intentional travel, whether by armchair, hydrofoil, or caravan, demands active listening to the life around us and our inner response to it. What do you make of the fact that your hotel was overbooked, served only cold food, and was so noisy you couldn't sleep? Did those things impede your learning from the moment, or did they accentuate your appreciation of hospitality under duress, the delicious subtlety of Spanish tortilla, and the resurgence of your interest in meditation?

Travel presents us with unpredictable, offbeat situations for which we need to improvise. In so doing, we are reacquainted with aspects of ourselves forgotten, misremembered, or rarely noticed. If we can look without initial judgment at our responses, we may see the learning inherent in those moments. Such learning can suggest a new synthesis of interests and skills or the stirring of insight into how our lives may be shifting.

Lastly, travel can happen at home by using fresh eyes to see our days, by recording what we experience in journals, and by creating a process of inquiry that leads us to reflect on more life in a manner that extracts from our life story, the materials with which to create a move vivid future.

About Kendall Dudley:

Kendall Dudley has been a career and life design consultant in private practice for over 25 years. He presents at academic and professional settings, including Harvard, Lesley, and Tufts Universities, the National Career Development Association's annual conferences, the Life Planning Network, and Pendle Hill. He's also the recipient of several arts grants for his work on issues of war and peace in the Middle East. He's also traveled to 36 countries and lived in 5 of them.

For over 20 years, he has run two businesses, LIFEWORKS Career & Life Design and Concord Avenue Writing Center. He has also worked as a Peace Corps volunteer, economist, project manager, photographer, staff writer, and teacher.

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