Photo: Flickr/Creative Commons, W. Tipton.

I don’t adapt easily to travel because I enjoy the comfort of my home and daily routines. Travel takes me out of my comfort zone into a world filled with unexpected experiences.

That being said, I decided to accept an invitation to spend two weeks in Hawai’i on the islands of Oahu and Maui. I believe that this experience came to me for a reason because I trust that the universe sends us opportunities for spiritual growth. In fact, my intuitive voice was saying, “Trust the process.” So I did and my travel experience soon turned into a spiritual journey I will never forget.

Going out of your comfort zone leads to adventure and spiritual growth. Photo: Flickr/Creative Commons, Ricardo Hurtubia.

While in Hawai’i. I learned how to snorkel and saw some stunning underwater sights – brightly coloured coral reefs with multicoloured fish and other marine life swimming through them. Everything was going well and I felt confident and happy. I loved the sport so much that I searched for other snorkelling locations. One of the locations I found in the Maui guidebook was “the fishbowl,” located in a huge natural outdoor park. Its description looked interesting and I decided to go find it.

Although the trail to the fishbowl was described in detail, it was difficult to find the narrow pathway leading to it. I quickly began to understand why few tourists sought out this location. The path was difficult to follow as it twisted over sharp lava rocks. While some landmarks were visible, others were hard to find. Sometimes the path veered upwards and required a hike over those treacherous rocks. At other times it sloped and I was afraid I would slide down and fall.

After losing my balance several times and becoming uncertain about which direction to follow, I asked myself why I should continue on this strenuous journey. My fears, worries and doubts surfaced and I considered giving up and going back. However, instead of attaching to them and giving them power, I decided to listen to my intuitive voice and see where it leads me.

I’ve learned to trust my inner voice when it speaks to me – to accept what is in the present moment and surrender to my higher power which always has my back. Instead of retreating, I made the conscious decision to continue along the path, face my fears, adapt to the situation and believe in the process.

I faced my fear of falling by taking things slowly, while focusing on the spectacular sights along the way. I was fully immersed in the present moment paying attention to the sights, sounds and smells around me. My senses were on high alert and I took it all in. In some places the lava rock was smooth and glistened in the sun. There was hardly any vegetation and it was evident that even the plants were struggling to survive in this harsh environment.

Well, it certainly was the road less travelled. However, it soon became evident why I undertook this 40-minute hike. As I came to the end of the trail, I held my breath in awesome delight as my eyes opened wide to take in the magnificent scene.

Travel can lead to unexpected places. Photo: Flickr/Creative Commons, Marcos ojeda.

Before me lay a black sand beach made up of minute lava particles. The fishbowl was a quiet bay of deep blue water surrounded by black lava rocks. Everything in this mystical place was peaceful and calm. I felt a sense of oneness with everything around me. I quickly put on my snorkelling equipment and found myself immersed in a magnificent display of fish swimming in and out of the coral.

On my journey back, I reflected on the significance of this difficult, yet mystical experience and here’s what I came up with: This journey was a metaphor for living life. This trek provided time for contemplation and reflection as I turned inward and gained greater awareness of my connection to our Divine Universe.

There are times when we experience challenges that knock us to our knees. They rock the foundation of who we are as we struggle to regain our composure and balance. Sometimes it seems that the journey is too difficult and we will never get through it. We sink into the void, experiencing the dark night of the soul.

Sometimes we can come out of it on our own by becoming aware of the lessons this experience teaches us. At other times, we may need support. Reaching out to others for help can make a difference. This can take the form of a telephone call to a friend and/or family member,  scheduling an appointment with a professional counsellor or joining a support group.

Eventually things change and our coping mechanisms kick in. We face our fears and take charge of each situation that arises. Our confidence increases as we empower ourselves with our own capability and successes. We  begin to feel hopeful that we can find our way through it. And when we do, we experience ourselves differently in the world – more peaceful, content and happy.

I learned that travelling to new places can be a vehicle for our soul’s growth. It helps us experience the world in different ways, makes us stronger in those areas we need to evolve and teaches important lessons.

“Life can be like standing at the base of Mount Everest. You can face the challenge and choose to climb it or you can walk around it. Those who climb it see sights that few others ever see and earn an achievement that few ever know.” –Charles Garcia, author, A Message from Garcia

Myra Giberovitch is an educator, consultant, author and professional speaker. She is adjunct professor, McGill University School of Social Work, specializing in gerontology and author of Recovering from Genocidal Trauma. Watch her speak at TedxMontreal – Genocide Survivors: Contributors Not Victims.

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