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The Art Of Letting It Go – Learning To Travel By Giving Up Control – A Social Experiment

The Art Of Letting It Go

This is a concept we have developed over the years and do our best to practice it in our daily lives.  Traveling abroad can be daunting, and at times, damn-right scary.  Whether it's getting into a taxi that looks like it might fall apart at any moment or fear of eating street food for the unfortunate after effects that it might produce. The Art Of Letting It Go is necessary to truly enjoy traveling, and in some regards enjoying life. 

Woman's Intuition

We have all heard of women's instinct.  What is it?  Is it a physiological mechanism brought on through eons of evolution?  Possibly, it's just that women simply listen more attentively to subtle cues than their male counterparts.  Intuition is a real thing. We have all had the circumstance where we felt good or bad about something and we were right about how we felt. I suppose there is a 50 -50 chance of one of those feelings being right.  However, we ALL have this ability to listen to our heart, mind, cosmic forces, holy spirit, or whatever your ideological / theological beliefs dictate.  



Two lifelong friends we met through following our intuition.

The Art Of Letting It Go

Intuition While Traveling

So what does this have to do with traveling?  The Art of Letting It Go is the ability to listen and then do what that instinct is telling you by giving up control.  We have been traveling for over 6 years and have learned to "go with the flow".  Whether it was getting into a cracked-out cabbie's taxi or simply following our intuition to meet a Mayan Priest and have a fire ceremony performed, by following our intuition and learning the Art of Letting It Go, we have developed as travelers.  This principle isn't doesn't only apply to travel, it applies to life.  

While traveling in foreign countries, there is a mild to moderate anxiety that brews.  It's not because one place is any more dangerous than the next.  It is generally due to the unknown of what we might encounter, who we might meet, or how we are going to get from one place to the next.   Learning to "Let It Go" reduces this anxiety.  We learn that by stressing over the details, nothing gets accomplished in the end that would not have been accomplished anyway.  We end up exactly where we need to be, when we need to be there.  

Any traveler knows this: That some of the most profound experiences have been by total accident, not planned, not thought of, and not expected.  We find that we have moved through a country bouncing from one experience to the next and in the end have grown from the experience.  Why not apply this lesson to life in our daily routine?

Control vs Letting Go

So why learn the Art of Letting It Go?  Some might say; "I am perfectly fine sticking to my plan" or "I find that strict itineraries and schedules work best for me".   This is fine.  I do not profess that this is a better way to travel, only another way to travel.   I also believe that if you can implement this style of travel into your daily life, you will also gain greater peace and realize that life isn't something you can plan, it's something that has a plan for you.  

It all comes down to control.  How much of what happens to us when we travel or in life do we truly control?  We can't control what others think of us, how they see us, or how others treat us.  We can only control how our own minds perceive what we experience.  This is the "Letting Go" portion of the The Art Of Letting It Go.  Let go of the control we think we have.   This is what the traveler does.  It is one of the reasons travel is so addictive.  Traveling is a different experience always, and in all ways.  We learn more about ourselves then we will ever learn about the cultures, people and places we experience.  

Control Example

Here is an example of  what kind of control we mean;  We ate street food everywhere in India, The nicest restaurant we ate at, made us sick in bed for 3 days.  Can we control this?  Do we perceive that street food is somehow worse for you than restaurant food?  Do we assume that if we don't eat food from the street, we have a better chance of not getting sick?  These are our prejudices and beliefs, not reality.  We can't control what bug is in what food, nor can the people preparing it in most cases.  So enjoy the street food, don't think about it anymore and realize how wonderful it can be. 

Three Social Experiment Challenge

There are three "Social Experiments" we challenge you to try.  They have made a difference in our life and travels and are the basis of The Art Of Letting It Go.

Social Experiment 1:  Maintain Eye Contact

 The eyes are the window to the soul.  You can tell a lot about someone through their eyes.  Do they maintain eye contact with you?  Did they connect?  Do they look away in shame or disgust?  We have found that when you do this, you meet more people which opens you up to new experiences.  In this world of device staring zombies, real eye contact is getting to be a lost art form.  When walking down the street, actually engage others with eye contact, a nod of the head, or a smile.  You would be surprised how people respond back to you, or look at you like some alien from outer-space.  Either way, you learn about others and it opens doors for you.

Social Experiment 2:    FYI - Follow Your Intuition

For one week starting right now, whatever intuition you feel, follow it.   No matter what!  Of course this doesn't mean you have an intuition to rob a bank or divorce your spouse.  We are talking only positive things or completely meaningless things.  If you are driving down the road and something is telling you to turn around, do it.  Maybe, you are in a grocery store and you see someone who you think you should talk to... do it.  Don't debate it, just do it.  Watch how hard this is to "let it go".  Wake up every day for one week practicing the art of following your intuition, no matter how silly or trivial it might seem. This is the ART.

Did you notice any difference in the path of intuition, vs the path of resistance and indecision?

Do our daily volleys of decision making keep us any safer or happier than "letting it go"?

Social Experiment 3:  NO Coincidences

There are no coincidences. Coincidences according to Websters:  "A remarkable concurrence of events or circumstances without apparent causal connection."   We believe something different!   We believe it is actually an apparent connection.  A nagging reminder that this is something to pay attention to.  Don't limit yourself to wondering what it means, just pay attention to it, and then follow your instincts.   You will never know why the "coincidence" is occurring, just be conscious of what it might be.  Pay attention to this for the next week, starting now, and act on those "coincidences"... because they are not.



Floating down the Nam Song River in Laos

The Art of Letting It Go

Change In Perspective

We believe that we learn the most through travel when we "let go" of the control that makes travel and life stressful.  If we "let it go" and allow IT to guide us, it's amazing the opportunities that unfold. There is a metaphor we would like to share;  Traveling is like a river.  If you have ever been swimming in a river, you realize that simply cannot swim upstream.  You will tire and eventually give up.  If you simply float down the river one will realize that the river will take you to wherever it takes you, and you will end up exactly where you need to be.  

We believe some call it "Faith", others "Fate".   Either way, have the trust in yourself that whatever you are doing, you will be ok.   Don't fight it, simply float down that river, go with the flow and watch the amazing lessons you will learn.  

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10 thoughts on “The Art Of Letting It Go – Learning To Travel By Giving Up Control – A Social Experiment

  1. Great blog post! I totally agree with letting things go when travelling. Some of my favorite moments when travelling are when I’ve done something that wasn’t planned. Sure, there are certain things you have to plan for but if you create a minute-by-minute itinerary of your trip, you miss out on some of the most important things about travelling – experiencing new culture and the authenticity of the place you are visiting! 🙂 Looking forward to reading more of your adventures! Happy travels!

  2. Well said LuLu. It really is the authenticity of a place we experience by relaxing and assimilating to the culture that creates the lasting memories for us! Thanks for posting a comment and happy travels to you too!

  3. Interesting concept. I love control and struglle with letting go because I like to controlthe outcome. But no matter what, I always have so much more fun if I just let go. Thanks for this great article!

    1. I struggle with it everyday. It’s an Art. It’s something you have to really work at. To let things roll off your back and not stress about what could be. It is getting easier for us while traveling to do this, however when we aren’t and we are back in our home country working or even just staying for a while, it seems tougher. Wonder if it’s the familiarity of a place that boggs us down. While traveling we know we don’t have control over so many things, we just let go of stressing about it, in a familiar background we feel we have more control and therefore try to control more. Thanks for posting Becky! Hope you make it through your struggles! 🙂

  4. First of all, I love the idea of always letting go and going with the flow..It makes travel so much more adventurous. Plus I truly love that scared in the gut feeling. As we grow older we lose that sensation as we tend to control our environments and only go in directions we know and trust. But every now and then, we allow ourselves to “have a fire ceremony performed by A Mayan Priest” or in my case, “drive in some insane motorized Rickshaw Race across India” and those experiences leave us scared but better off in the end.
    To be scared, is a great feeling…it means we are alive!

    1. Wow Eric! You sound like a guy I would love to hang out with. Thanks for posting this. I can’t agree more except that the older I get, the more I realize the importance of developing that sensation. You did the race in a rickshaw around India!?!? Jealous! I have read about that, and want to do it someday. Shelly and I wanted to buy a tuk-tuk and pimp it out with a blow up bed in the back and use it as a mini-motorhome. That race sounds amazing, I will check out your blog (assuming you have something about it) Shelly and I also did a 3 month motorbike tour around Southeast Asia without any idea how we were going to get from place to place and with a dog on the back of the scooter. It was liberating, scary, and in some ways, shaped who we are today. Thanks for sharing!

    1. Well… Thank you Sally! To us, Travel really is one of the best ways to grow personally! And some of the food in the world makes us grow in other ways too. 🙂 Thanks for stopping by and posting.

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