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Re-discovering my essential self with “virtual travel”

Beyond self-isolation walls I reimagine past travels, infuse my travels-to-come and satisfy my explorer soul!

Machu-picchu-elizabeth-celi
Virtual travel to inspire our explorer heart and soul.

Moments of stillness reignite my old travels for today’s journey

So far, I really have been making the most out of my covid19, traveller 14-day quarantine. Beyond giving myself permission to simply rest and sleep more than usual – my body thanks me! – I have taken to doing some virtual travel. My travel photo albums and video library spanning 22 years have been getting some loving attention and gratitude.

I have had many moments of powerful stillness, every day, thanks to immersing myself in this virtual travel. The quiet time I’ve enjoyed with every photo and video have become a beautiful way for me to connect with my online community. 

The perspective these travel experiences opened up in me at the time are a kind and firm reality-check that we all have such rich, diverse experiences in life that we can share. Especially while we all stay home “together”. I trust I’ve given my online community a portal to feel uplifted and inspired too. 

It all started when I was 10 years old

I’m a traveller at heart. It’s etched into my soul to explore. I started traveling when I was 10 years old thanks to my parents who took me to their homeland islands, Isole Eolie, above Sicily. We lived there for two months. So, embracing the daily, cultural activities was easy.

I learnt how they made olive oil, tomato sauce, capers, wine and fine liquors from scratch, alla Italiana! While we also made pasta sauce and wine at home in Australia, Isole Eolie immersed me even more. 

Familiar Roma tomatoes from the garden

I made several trips back to the islands with Mum and Dad over the next 10 years. The amount of cultural insights I developed, having the privilege of experiencing Australian life and life in volcanic mountains of southern Italy, gave me amazing perspective as I grew into my adulthood.

I made a promise to myself in 1997

I’d travelled to Italy enough times by this stage that I was very comfortable with travel. My explorer soul was getting itchy feet though! I wanted to immerse in more diverse travels.

I remember the moment vividly when I opened my first personal bank account. It’s primary purpose? To save money for my first independent trip… to Hawai’i! Of course! That Hawai’i tour couldn’t come quick enough. I promised myself then and there that I would travel overseas at least once every two years. A promise I kept to myself until I relocated overseas and made Rome home. 

My kindred spirit and I in full Alo’Ha mode!

The loving perspective checks that my virtual travels have reminded me of:

Edinburgh, Scotland

My most vivid memory of old town Edinburgh is how divine and magical it is to stand at the bus stop in the thick, glistening mist of the nights rain. I hoped the bus would be late because the mist “lit up” the ethereal magic of all the castle architecture I was surrounded by. 

Roslin, Scotland

That I can visit just one sacred place, Roslin Chapel, every day and sit there for hours, reading one of their bookshop books. Roam the same garden each day and discover something new. Sit somewhere different at this high energy place and journal even deeper than the day before. Such a sacred space I happily reimagine.

The history of Roslin Chapel still quickens my blood and lights me up.

Abu, India

That I can actually live with 18 kg less baggage! Physically and metaphorically. My luggage was lost by the airline and it wasn’t recovered until 7 days into my 10-day meditation retreat. If that’s all I learnt from that trip, I’d have been satisfied! Of course, there was way more. The power of meditating at 4am each morning, WITH a community of people also re-discovering themselves through meditation. Above all, the serenity such meditation builds when a community set their intention on it AND practice it. Daily. Together. Having 18 kg less baggage, I felt richer and incredibly fulfilled. Our daily living was so intentional and simplified.

Amazing Nature and subtle energies for my meditation in the heights of Mt. Abu, India

Machu Picchu, Peru

That I am most at peace when I hike in nature and share it with my kindred spirit. He is also an explorer soul so to continue sharing my travels with him opened up another dimension of my traveller. We learnt that our 7-night stay in Agua Calientes, at the base of Machu Picchu, was unusual for the locals. We discovered so many nooks in their town, it’s hard to believe travellers tend to stay only 2 days. Of course, hiking Machu Picchu and to the Sun Gate on New Years Day, helped us embody the incredible alchemy of Peru history. 

Rich and I revitalised from our hike at Machu Picchu – incredible vibe in these mountains.

Last but not least, living in Rome for three years taught me:

That community matters. That cooperation and kindness goes a long way. Personally with neighbours and among businesses that support each other. Sharing in food, a swig of espresso, the social custom of uniting in the Piazza and immersing in a 2000+ year history reminded us each day – we’re multi-layered, multi-dimensional human beings.

What we DO with it, is our amazing gift for our chosen communities.

Saying Hi to our Roman neighbour, the Pantheon. Many moments enjoyed in this Piazza.

As I’ve shared some of these memories with my online community, I’ve felt waves of love and serenity flowing from me. I sincerely hope that those receiving my photos and stories of these travel experiences have been able to connect with some of that love and serenity. 

Virtual travel has helped me delve into another level of stillness I hadn’t considered before covid19 required me to self-isolate and social distance.  I’ve rediscovered so much more of my essential self by immersing in this virtual travel.

My reimagined past has potently infused my future travel plans when this pandemic is over. Supporting my mental health and that of my online community with this fun-loving perspective-check I trust is a helpful “pebble in the pond” for helping us all get through this. 

Dr. Elizabeth Celi, Leadership Coach, Queensland Australia. 

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