I got myself a passport because I was done. I was done knowing everything I already knew, I was done seeing the same familiar things, and I was done surrounding myself with the same people. I wanted to be somewhere, where anyone can become a new.

I picked up this card. From a deck of many cards, life told me to pick this one. I picked this card, that coincidentally was during my first international trip. I decided to travel and ended up on my first island. I have always dreamt of traveling, so I can learn more than what I was accustomed to. At this point in my new chapter of life, this card reminded me that I am not only traveling physically, but that I am on a self-identity travel and I no longer seek a concrete destination. Usually when you plan a trip, the first thing you ask yourself is “Where am I going?” After you have picked the place, you go into planning how you are even going to get there. The interesting thing about when you are traveling within yourself, is that you must be taken through the process not having a plan at all. You must trust yourself to no longer being the expert, but the one willing to listen and learn. It is important for you to be as a child, and be a sponge absorbing all of your circumstances and control your reactions toward them. Circumstances can give you the good and the bad. Circumstances are going to give you the real and will not apologize for how they make you feel. Circumstances will make things messy, while you are cleaning yourself up. Within that, you must discipline yourself to get off the process. Pit stops are acceptable and there may be layovers, but you must get back on to make it towards your ‘there’. You must have faith that everything that is happening is to get yourself to a better version of who you have always been, whoever that may be. It is also important to lose sight on what exactly awaits at the end, and to not leave your foundation that got you to where you are now as you shift. This is essential when you are traveling.

“The journey is the goal, the pilgrimage is the sacred place.”

Getting to your goal is your safety net. It is the space you have told yourself is where your new happiness lies. Now all you have to do is get there. The pilgrimage is the hard part. It is where you will be tested by the old you and new you, while asking the present you if the journey is even achievable. It is where your growing takes place and the lessons are learned. Think of yourself as a flower, my favorite is being a sunflower. Now you have known the soil as your comfort zone. You have gotten all that you need for the most part. As you travel more and more above ground, you will experience things. You learn how to battle weather changes, you learn about people coming into your world and trying to rip you from your core for their personal gain, and you learn about moments where you feel the world has forgotten about you and you sit alone in the cold. These are the things you can not control. You can not prevent these things from happening, no matter how hard you try. But you can’t stop growing, you have already made it this far. The roots that have positioned within the soil won’t let you. Because deep down, you know when you get through this and become one of the fields largest flowers fully bloomed, the next time obstacles come in your path, you will be prepared not to be phased. The pilgrimage is your sacred place because the ultimate discovery of who you are becoming comes from you accidentally digging up the root of certain attributes about yourself you have suppressed for years. You will dig up strengths that have been masked as weaknesses that will drive you towards what already belongs to you.

“Accept and embrace the new, physically or internally.”

Change is hard and change is easy. Change is scary and change is exciting. Change is letting go and change is bringing with. Change is both and necessary for everyone to experience. While traveling, change is your best friend and your worst enemy. The key is to not be willing to lose your ‘You” just to make it to your goal. You will arrive only feeling emptier than when you started and more unsatisfied with what you allowed yourself to become. The opportunity cost is far greater than you would think. Let’s be honest, when you are traveling you have feelings of being lost. Your mind and heart grow tired more than you would like. You have moments where you not sure if traveling was the right thing to do. You thought that this would be a group trip rather than a solo one. No one else is changing around you. No one else is challenging themselves in a way where you can express feeling bewildered on a daily basis and not having to answer the question “What is going on with you?” You will feel yourself drifting away from those you thought would always be there as you shifted. But the reality is, getting to the journey you want and to a place where you need to be, the path has to be taken alone. You have to navigate through the isolation that connects you to something more. You will learn that the others didn’t have to move along with you because that wasn’t their purpose in the first place. Those who are of value to you, are already at the end waiting for you to meet them there.

Accepting and embracing this can be tricky, but as you travel, more things will align with the new you. Little by little you will be presented with opportunities that only you will appreciate, meet new people that only relate to your passions, and you will have new experiences only you will experience. Your senses will be heightened about the what is around you and it will drive you to slowly recognize when you have made it to your “there”. You are on your island and it is the best island for you. I am not done traveling and I do not intend to be. I do not regret getting my passport and allowing myself to be open to all of these new discoveries. Traveling will be the tough moments, but these moments will be the reminders that will fuel you the powerful energy that will inspire you to use your newfound strengths from this much lived and worn space to the untouched and new one. Never limit where you can go next.

Kiara Byrd