Yesterday was the full moon. As someone who is intimately connected to the cycles of nature, I understand and experience the value in observing the phases of the moon and practicing personal growth habits that correspond to its symbolic flow. These practices create space to reflect on habits, choices, and behaviors, and to organize thoughts into objectives.
The December full moon is symbolic of completion. My understanding of completion is that it signals the end of one phase, and gives a pause before time expands into the hum of fresh possibility. It is a moment to take note of accomplishments and to envision what has yet to blossom from a dream.
Over the months of a pandemic which has obviously shifted travelling behaviors, I have thought a lot about how to write a travel blog that is intentional, inspiring, and relevant. Granted, I don’t promote it or conduct literally any marketing so my readership is low; regardless, I want to provide meaningful insights that address the necessary evolution of how, why, and to where people travel.
From my pause of completion, I envision a movement toward travel as a healing journey which creates space for the traveler to connect with nature and themselves. In 2021, I began to explore constructs of eco-travel in both theory and practice, and discovered that a growth-oriented mindset is missing from the paradigm. This intuitive knowledge inspired the theme of my second recently-completed thesis for an MA in Counseling, “The Growth Centered Journey: Developing a Practice of Personal Expedition to Enhance Self Transformation and Planetary Social Consciousness.” What might counselor-facilitated eco-travel look like, and how might it inspire growth along someone’s healing journey? That is my question looking ahead at 2022, and I see opportunities to explore answers shimmering on the other side of this pause.
2021 presented opportunities for me to explore territory in the eastern United States, which has unique and clean eco-systems such as caves, old growth forests, natural mineral springs, waterfalls, and a coastline. In May, 2021, I traveled through Kentucky’s Red River Gorge, across the Smoky Mountains, into Georgia’s Blue Ridge Mountains and the Okefenokee Swamp, into Florida’s pine scrub forest and mineral springs, on a ferry to Cumberland Island, and ventured as far south as Key Largo. In September, 2021, I took a second camping road trip into the Shawnee National Forest of western Kentucky and eastern Illinois. As 2022 approaches, I am envisioning the adventures I will fit into my life between my full time job and completing my dissertation, and my intention is to use those experiences to develop a sort of formula to facilitate eco-healing alongside others who feel the value of pausing in nature. The barefoot journey continues!