The Act of Reciprocity + The Responsibility of the Conscious Traveler
We travel to take.
To take in the stimuli that entertain and delight our senses, to receive what we are offered, and to accept the service of others. We take in experiences that reward us with feelings of excitement, novelty, of joy.
And while we may not spend any time meditating on it, our acts of offering are as important as our acts of receiving.
What can the traveler offer?
It may seem clear that two roles are playing out. The role of that who offers (let’s call this part the host) and the role of whom receives (we’ll call this part the guest).
But in fact, there is another layer and shadow reciprocity in the relationship. A layer where the recipient, the guest, is, in turn, presenting an offer for the host to receive. Let’s look more closely at this.
What we, the traveler, will offer can show up as energy, attention, the state of our heart and soul.
To whom and to what are we offering as conscious travelers?
Most obviously, we offer to the people we encounter, those obliging themselves to be of service. But also to the collective; the destination, its culture, heritage, and traditions.
When the traveler engages to offer their open heart and open mind this creates an entirely different offering. It is a greater, more impactful offering than a heart and mind which is obstructed.
If our offering of attention is distracted, it directly impacts our ability to receive.
Let’s look at an example. If we are offering a closed heart and a closed mind, our preconceptions reduce our capacity to consider novel ideas as valid and worthy.
This has several impacts:
It limits our curiosity; the opportunity to go deeper, to ask, and we lose the ability to learn.
It jams the pathway of human connection. We become cut off from the foundations needed to forge bonds when we do not both respect and accept the lived experience of another human.
It can hinder the experience of your travel companions from experiencing the fullness of their opportunity. We are a communal species. Humans are able to feel the energy of the skeptic, and thus may temper their vulnerability for fear of judgment.
The final impact concerns the traveler's future self. Who they could be by allowing this experience to unfold to its full potential. A closed mind means nothing changes — no growth or connection occurs.
By depriving ourselves of the opportunity to see others in the fullness of their humanity, we lose sight of our own humanity. Thus, when we do see another in their fullness, we allow room to see ourselves with grace, kindness, and love.
Travel is an opportunity to embrace your own humanity while, and by, honoring the humanity of others.
Shouldn’t travelers always show up with the highest offering?
Well, yes! But travel tends to be a time when an alter-ego appears in many of us. Even with our language of “taking a holiday”, an “escape”, a “break”, we associate travel with a departure from our everyday selves. And rightfully so in some ways, we are leaving behind the duties of home, of daily chores, or work (we hope!). But this can morph into a holiday from our values, our ways of being.
Under the veil of our consciousness, it's possible we are behaving away differently than we would at home. There are grotesque examples of abusive behavior exhibited by those in far-off destinations. Even well-meaning people can exhibit habits while away that their at-home self would deem as out-of-step with their values.
In fact, legislation has passed in popular tourist destinations. These laws are a code of conduct to ensure that visitors behave respectfully.
Conscious Travelers pack their values.
To be in integrity with ourselves is to carry our values with us in all places we exist. To be true to your fully-aligned self is to acknowledge traveling does not mean an escape from our values. To commit to a new awareness of your responsibility.
The aligned traveler understands their responsibility as both the one who receives and offers. The conscious traveler gives full consideration to their host who is generously sharing their home, their culture, and their lived experience.
As a result, what the conscious traveler and willing host receive is a gift far more valuable than any material thing.
The author of this blog is the Founder of Conscious Travel Collective, Tara Busch.
You can find out more about Tara on our team page