Travelling is a state of mind

Sometimes you don’t even need to leave home to travel. The imagination is a wonderful thing. It can transport you to places and take you to worlds where you can create new realities.

Living in the UK, depending where you go or who you speak to it can often seem like you are in a foreign country. Especially with the weather, (in part, courtesy of global warming) being unpredictable every day – some days you feel like you could be watching a tropical Caribbean rainstorm, other days it feels like the baking city heat of New York or [fill in the blank]… I’m sure you get my drift.

One of my passions is working with people to help them realise that once they put their vision on paper and know what it is they want – they can find the skills, knowledge, tools and help to make it happen. Doing visionalisation exercises with hundreds of people I have been transported to far-away lands where I can smell and taste new lands and the sweet smell of new beginnings without even leaving my front room. The only downside is that you can’t collect air-miles on imaginary travel!

Today I’m going to watch some basketball at London Prepare event at 2012 Olympic Park and later speak to some young people (Leader’s of Tomorrow) about my journey from where they are now at 15-18 to where I am in my 30’s. I’m looking forward to listening and hearing about their hopes and visions for their future.

When meeting visionaries or seasoned travelers they always have something in common which is to create opportunities to explore and understand things outside of their immediate personal experience. If you have been reading our PH Bloggers over the last 6 months I hope they have helped you to experience a new perspective or think about something in a different way.

I love reading all our bloggers, and I take my hat off to them. Phenomenal Healthstyle would be a blank page without them. However, as this is Travel Thursday I’m going to give a shout out to Michelle (Sabbatical Traveller) and Chris (Our man in Japan). I love reading their blog and seeing the places they explore, but I’m more inspired by the lessons they learn about themselves that comes with the courage of entering new situations.

I went to live abroad for 2.5 years as I wanted to travel and get away from the UK to ‘get my life in order’. Little did I know in my 20’s that disorder was order! I remember an old boss asking me if I was ‘running away’ from something. At the time I took offence. Running away – of course not, I’m running towards a better future. With a few years of hindsight and marathon training under my belt, I realise it’s all semantics.

When I was running the marathon I didn’t think about whether I wanted to be at the beginning, or wanted to get to the end of the race that was motivating me to run, I just knew I wanted to experience something more than standing still. Whether I was running away from the start or running towards the finish as long as I wasn’t running around in a circle that was fine with me!

I grew up in North London and despite the supposed limitations of my ‘demographic’ my mother taught me at a young age that it is best to pay for the things that grow you and “really make and nurture you to become a better person” not the costumes or an accent that (supposedly) make you look or sound like one. Not a fan of all style and no substance – or in the case of individuals of any hue like David Starkey – no style or substance – just a costume, mask and skewed view of the world validated by his ability to read a few books, pass an exam and speak with a certain accent. I digress…

My travel was a fresh start and a new beginning. It was a great opportunity, not to redefine myself but to truly take time to find out who I was, without the backdrop of the familiar or the safe haven of friends and family. I quickly learnt about who I was by the scenarios and opportunities I attracted. For better or worse, I loved the person I discovered I had grown into.

Zena in Bermuda (2002)

Ironically, one of the best new experiences I had on my travels was the power of stillness. Amazing! I traveled thousands of miles to be still? In this stillness I learnt to remember how much I appreciated the little things that contributed to the beauty in life – walking with no where in particular to go; sitting by the water and watching the ripples; the power of the words – please and thank you; the thoughtfulness of a gift of hand-picked fruits; a smile with no expectations from a stranger and the power of breathing when I was afraid or people made offensive comments due to their limited world view or past experiences.

In my stillness I got to be myself and as a result of being myself I got to have lots of wonderful life-enhancing experiences, as I spent more time on doing the things that help me to be a better me rather than doing things to help me to have the things that I hoped would make me a better me. Does that make sense? I have found every time I have done things to help me have the things I hoped would make me a better me, I have just ended up with lots of things, that, by the way are now in a box ready for the charity shop!

I went to Sonia Meggie’s Inspirational You event yesterday. Her events are always fantastic. She had a phenomenal panel who shared their journey and the road they had traveled to get to their current destination. The Q&A was chaired by Desiree Banugo of Chinelo Communications. It was another great opportunity to walk up the road and for £5, travel to a new experience, laugh, listen and learn. It gave me the same type of glow I travel thousands of miles to get. I looked in the mirror this morning and thought to myself, I know it was raining yesterday but I’m sure I’ve got a tan.

So I guess, this long overindulgent blog (you can tell it’s been a while since I’ve written) was just a chance for some reflection. Traveling to new lands is great but sometimes the best destination can be closer than you think. Sit still for 3 minutes today and see what new opportunities you discover on the island of ‘ME’.

Have a Phenomenal Day. Don’t forget to join Chris ‘bi-weekly’ on Travel Thursday. He is back next week with his tales from Japan

Big Love


P.S. I found this extract from one of my first ‘Fraggle Rock’ away from home emails to friends when I arrived in Bermuda. it made me chuckle. I wish I had a blog back then…

“…I tell you I don’t think I’ve prayed openly so much in all my life. I guess coming from the Caribbean the church is in my blood! This week’s prayers were to help me to type faster. I promised God that I would practice typing everyday for 20 mins in the evening and morning if he could help me to learn to touch type at 70 wpm by the time anyone at the firm asked me to type any 50 page documents. Well, so far so good…I’ve also got a secluded desk, which helps as well.

Getting the bus to work in the morning has been a trip! Bwoy, I tell you I say a few prayers before I get on that baby! Everyday there is some drama – who needs television when I got a front row seat to the Jerry Springer show every day. Yesterday, I think the driver was practicing for the Grand Prix. He was playing the Isley Brothers at full blast and singing along with more facial expressions than Whitney!

Well, at every corner it felt like the bus was on 2 wheels. Some of the corners we turned, I saw the sea and cliff at an angle that was most unsettling.

Almost everyone was holding on to the seat in front of them. Every one on the bus who was reading a book that was not the Bible had to put it down, to free their hands, so they could put them together in prayer.

The man was driving so crazy that he got stopped by a policeman on a motorbike and given a speeding ticket. I assume that a lot of the older locals must be use to it. I guess at a certain age, you are grateful for any excitement you can get, that doesn’t result in having to go to Church to repent, as they were the first to cuss the policeman out, protesting about the driver getting a speeding ticket.

If I wasn’t new to the island I would be standing up and telling the bus driver about himself, and asking him if he had purchased his driving license from Tesco’s at the same time as his mother bought his best clothes. But as I’m new, the best way I knew to protest was to not say thank you to him when I got of the bus. That’ll show him!

Needless to say, as soon as we were out of the sight of the policeman, the bus took up speed again and I resumed my role as an extra on a runaway bus – playing the role of frightened commuter No.1.

I think I’m going to start catching the ferry to work instead, the bus is too much excitement for a morning.”



7 Responses to “Travelling is a state of mind”

  1. that was a great read. lol, the bus journey. Enjoy the basketball.

    • Glad you like Sloetry! I remember the bus drive like it was yesterday! Basketball was good fun. Was a real treat!
      Stadium looked good. I took it all in as, like most Londoners, I don’t have tickets, so I may not see the inside of the Olympic Park until it is all over!

  2. Like Sloetry, it was a great read….keep that fab standard Zena x

  3. Kehinde Olarinmoye August 19, 2011 at 8:22 am

    Hey Zena,
    A really great share indeed. I totally understood your journey…it’s as though you were describing my experience without having travelled to Bermuda. I remember my own long travels (a month at a time) hoping to get some clarity about my fast paced life. Ironically, my stillness, so to speak, came when I was made redundant; it was the best thing that happened to me because I was able to stand still for a moment and see with my own eyes what I had and who I truly am. This also reminds me of a book I read called ‘The Alchemist’. If you haven’t read it, you should… gives you good insight of someone trying to find something without realising that it’s been there all along.

    Peace out. 😀

  4. Ahem, editor’s day off I see 😉
    Well good, that was a nice little transportation to Planet Z.
    I totally get the mind travelling, whenever I’ve got a deadline at work my mind travels and, before I know it, I’ve uncosciously arrived at Google to look up something random – usually flight deals for my next trip! Lovely to hear from you Zena (aka Frightened Commuter No1 – jokes!).


    • LOL…yes even the PH editor needs a rest sometimes. Glad you liked and yes, I’ll be interested to see which far flung lands your next daydream takes you to! : ) Zx

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