02/20/2015 10:50 am ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

When You Travel, Leave Your Baggage Behind

Noel Hendrickson via Getty Images

When I was a little boy, I used to spin the globe. And wherever my finger would land, I was destined to someday visit -- and have a best friend there. Of this, I was certain. For I had the DNA of an explorer, and nesting was 'for the birds.'

I have lived my life much in the way I imagined. I am blessed in this regard. From San Francisco to St. Petersburg; Colombia to China; Dubai, Mumbai, and virtually everywhere in between, I have been given the rare opportunity to know humanity through the context of a conversation, the embrace of a smile and sharing in situations, circumstances with others -- many others -- that have all brought me to the moment of now.

Life does that. It has an interesting way of threading together a series of now moments with such perfection in the unveiling of our life as we know it. It may not seem perfect at the time, as life tests our resolve and always will. Yet when we look back upon the journey taken, lessons learned, the mirrored reflections and windowed views, there is a story unfolding, one that graces us with the gift of the current experience for the traveler within.

Travel, in any form, provides us with such opportunity. When we move from the known, the familiar, and into the unknown, we are provided a choice. In life, we are always provided a choice. Perhaps not in what we are to experience, but in how we choose to experience it. A wise man once shared, 'It is not the issue that is at issue, but how we relate to the issue. That is the issue.'

Project our current perspective into the next experience? Or leave the past where it belongs -- in the past -- and get busy creating something new, something better; a grander version of ourselves even? We are always faced with a choice. And it is in the choosing where we get the experience.

And the opportunity.


The next time you travel -- be it down the street, across the country, beyond the borders and into the 'unknown knowns' in whatever form that may take -- remember to leave your baggage behind.

Leave behind your fear of the unknown. For beyond fear lay opportunity.
Leave behind your worries, doubts, uncertainties. For they never quite match the magnitude of the imagination.
Leave behind your judgments - of self and others. For they will weigh you down and keep you there.
Leave behind your crystallizations. For they inevitably will be shattered.

Leave it behind. Leave it all behind. Lighten the load, and enlighten up. For the gifts await. And what is required of us is but a new pair of walking shoes, with spectacles for the spectacular.

And what will we find when we seek for something greater in this life experience?

We will find others - seeking.


In Colombia, there is a smile.
In Italy, an embrace.
In China, there is another way.
In Russia, another time.
Indonesia has a taste awaiting...
San Francisco, a fresh breeze.
Kenya holds a childhood dream...
India, a new reality.

One does not have to visit these places in order to know these pleasures. For all reside within us, and each awaits our calling.

When traveling through life, it is in the simplicity where we find opportunity, a re-membering perhaps of a life once viewed through the eyes of a child - our more intuitive self.

Simply live.
Simply laugh.
Simply love.
Simply learn.
And when it is our time...
Simply leave.

But leave with a smile - and a knowing - that this time we did it right.
We paid due homage to the miracle of each new breath...

With an attitude of gratitude...
For the grace of this place.

David Scott Clegg is the author of the award-winning novel The Longest Distance. He is the Managing Director of The HEAD Foundation, a global education think tank; and Founder of UNITE Education.