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Travel can change your life, it changed ours.

Updated: Nov 4, 2022

Why do you travel? What do you hope to gain from your next vacation trip? Do you travel to escape? Or is your travel more related to family or work obligations? When you travel are you seeking a sensory experience to help you forget about what you left behind, or are you seeking more? In planning an upcoming travel experience our priorities are often based on the sensory experiences we hope to take away. The beautiful sunsets over deep blue lagoons, the vistas from a mountain trek, the thrill of a zip line, the rush of adrenaline we get on the triple black diamond ski trail. These are not bad reasons to travel, but travel can provide so much more than a means to temporarily numb life’s struggles.

Travel and exploration offer a unique opportunity to stimulate powerful transformations. We can heal relationships, form new friendships, discover our own spiritual meaning, and uncover new responses to life’s challenges through the energy delivered though travel. Travel can provide a pathway to self-actualization. To experience these rewards, however, we must be intentional with how we use our travel experiences.

What, then, is the secret that turns a vacation trip into a life-changing experience? What is the element of travel that moves us in a profound and meaningful way? It is connection. Genuine and authentic human connection. It comes in the form of sharing our lives with others. We so often prepare for travel with the goal of what we will take away from the experience. How will we fill our senses in such a way that we will, for at least a moment, forget about the stresses in our life? The tourist industry counts on this approach to travel. What if we prepared for our next trip by thinking about what we will give away? What can we share with those we meet at our destination that can change their lives? I am not talking about a trip where we volunteer our talents and give away our treasure as a means of extending goodwill. What I am suggesting is that we go to novel places with a goal in mind to connect in a genuine way with those that we meet. We get to know them. Really know them. And they get to know us. And this can only happen if we are ready and willing to be open in such a way that we share our authentic story.

This weekend Sylvie and I took a short trip to the Beaujolais Region of France. This region is populated by small villages each with a link to the winemaking industry. In France, this area is known for its centuries old historic buildings constructed of warm, gold toned limestone. They call it “Golden Stones Country.” As you drive into these villages on the famously narrow French roads you are immediately embraced by the soft, warm, golden hue radiating from the gold stone buildings. Further defining this experience is the fact that it is this time of year that grape leaves exchange their deep summer green for a brilliant fall gold creating a delightful contrast to the green grassy hills they reside on. I stood on a knoll overlooking this magnificent landscape. I felt the cool evening air on my cheeks, but this soft landscape tapestry crafted of gold and green flannel seemed to keep me warm. As the sun slipped over the horizon, the peace of the universe surrounded me in the quiet beauty of this setting.

We stayed at a bed and breakfast in the center of one of the many vineyards in this area. Shortly after arriving it became evident that we were guests in the home of the Inn owners, not simply customers renting a room for the night. It quickly became clear that the couple who owned this Inn were in the “business” of making connections more than renting rooms. Their passion to serve people and make new friends was obvious. We felt their mission to make their guest’s lives better for the brief time they shared their home. That evening we joined this couple for dinner in their dining room and enjoyed a meal with them that they had prepared for us. A couple from the Netherlands was also there for the night as a stop on their way to Spain. They joined us for dinner. Over the next two ½ hours, we got to know each of these people through their stories. They were each lovely people that have lived amazing lives. And this experience was made possible by the generosity of these wonderful innkeepers.

We gained so much more than a one-night’s stay in a lovely place in the heart of a French vineyard. We gained new friends. We learned of their cultures. We heard of their struggles and their successes. This beautiful moment urged us to reflect on our own lives from a new perspective. We learned that people from various parts of the world are more like us than they are different from us. We learned from their perspectives on their life’s challenges. We will cherish the connection we made with these people for the rest of our lives. Opportunities for these kinds of experiences are rarely found when staying at a large brand hotel. We will go back to this Inn. We will go back to visit our friends.

The following morning, we shared breakfast and another wonderful conversation with the innkeeper. She shared with us the story of how they found their inn and the process they went through to make their dream a reality. It was an amazing story that included more than a little struggle. Despite the challenges they faced, and maybe because of these challenges, they landed in a place where they could live out their dream.

Later that day we visited a local winery recommended to us by our new innkeeper friends. Here, we were treated to an incredible story of the history of this vineyard as explained to us by the current owner/manager and her 93-year-old father. Turns out this winery has been in the family for generations and has been in continuous operation since the 1600’s. We exchanged a bit about our life stories and how Sylvie and I came together. The current owner of the vineyard shared her story of how she has managed the vineyard during periods of incredible personal hardship. About how her children may not be interested in carrying on the family business. She too, just like us, is seeking happiness in life. She is following her dream while struggling through life’s inescapable challenges.

We didn’t plan these amazing encounters. We set out on a quick weekend of exploration. The people we met, the friends we made, and the impact this trip has made on our lives are all unanticipated gifts. We received so much more than the beautiful sensory experience of autumn in French winemaking Country. We made new connections. Real, authentic human connections. Our lives have been changed forever because of this experience.

During this short weekend we further learned the value of living in the moment and that the blessings in life are found by being present in the now. Most importantly, our faith in humanity has been reenergized. The realities of life in this world are not found on CNN. Certainly, joyfulness is not available there. Abundance in life is found out there, where people are living each day. Joining people where they live provides a crossroads where life giving energy can be generously exchanged. It’s an open market where joy is offered and costs only your willingness to give of yourself.

This is the kind of experience we seek to offer our clients through our offerings at Perennial Sage. As coaches, we want to build upon the authenticity this kind of experience provides. We know that these vulnerable moments with otherwise perfect strangers opens the door for our own transformation, healing, and personal growth. It is the authenticity of genuine connection with people that creates a life-changing experience. The willingness to give of ourselves is the component that transforms travel into a journey towards enlightenment. Connection to others by sharing our stories creates lasting results. The impact from the connections we make with beautiful people, people just like us, will outlast the short-term effects we gain from tropical breezes and sandy shores, or the magenta alpine glow on Rocky Mountain peaks. It is the people that we allow into our lives that move us closer to a life of abundance.

The innkeepers at our bed and breakfast gave us so much more than a nice, clean place to lay our head for the night. They nourished a new relationship with us. A genuine and authentic relationship. They shared their story with us. The experience they so willingly gave us refreshed our hope in humanity and in ourselves. They provided the moment that reframed our understanding of the importance of human connection and the meaning connection brings to our life. We are forever grateful.


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