Monthly Archives: May 2014

Book Review: The Way of the Traveler

  • way of travelerTitle:  The Way of the Traveler:  Making Every Trip a Journey of Self-Discovery
  • Author:  Joseph Dispenza
  • Publisher:  John Muir
  • Date of Publication:  1999
  • Rating: 3 out of 5

Brief Overview: (from the pack of the book)

The dream of travel announces that each of us has the power to transform our lives in a fundamental way.  It promises that if we pluck up our courage and agree to undertake the journey, the road upon which we travel will lead to self-discovery.

It is no small promise.

Every time we leave home and go to another place, we open up the possibility of having something wonderful happen to us.  When we move out of the familiar here and now, we set in motion a series of events that, taken together, bring about changes at the very root of our being.

Review:  I picked this up at a used book sale, having no previous knowledge of the author or his work.  But the title grabbed my attention and a glance at the table of contents indicated that it could aid in my pursuit of travel writing.

The book is organized in the same fashion that we would prepare for a trip.  It is divided into five distinct sections:

  1. The Dream of the Journey
  2. The Preparation
  3. The Journey
  4. The Homecoming
  5. Recounting the Tale

While it is a little heavy on the spiritual exercises (creating a shrine for each specific trip to help center thoughts and expectations)…. I did find some useful thoughts and exercises, especially in the Preparation section.

For example…. while packing clothing, toiletries and other travel supplies, don’t forget to consider the intangible necessities such as bravery, kindness, adaptability, etc.  Giving thought to character traits ahead of time will help us develop them throughout the journey.

In addition, think of the trip as a adventure story.  We are the hero of this tale and we are setting out on a quest.  As in literature, the quest has a stated reason for leaving, but also the true goal, which is always self-knowledge.  While we may desire to travel for a variety of personal reasons, the understated goal is always self-discovery.  As we recount the tale, we need to focus on the lessons learned as well as the sights visited.

My favorite quote in the book states:

Perhaps the greatest gift of the journey is the awareness that we have the power to re-create our lives.  Such is the magic of travel!  We have been changed by our experiences on the journey.  Now the legacy of the journey is the power to assume an active role in our growth.  (page 88)

At only 114 pages, this is a quick read with some nuggets of thought-provoking insights.  It is worth the read.

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