Travel seen as initiation, i.e., travels made with the mind and heart open to really allow yourself to experience what is to happen, can be highly transformative. The outside, the new, the unusual, the foreign may impact us and awaken within us this same new and unusual, that is ours, but until that time we perceive like foreign. And if we get put in the position of a pilgrim in life, transforming travel may be as to the other side of the world as around the square from our house!
There is a song by Iggy Pop and Ricky Gardiner, The Passenger, recorded by Siouxsie and Banshees, which along with the text of Cristina Balieiro, translates what I feel about my trip to New Zealand. And I echo the words of actor Richard Armitage about your experience in this country: The places we have been to and the things we have seen have surpassed all my expectations. (Armitage, R. 2011).
Luis Pellegrini argues that the trip in the outside world should be encouraged for the simple fact that, at least in the early stages of the processes of initiation, it is easier to see, to experiment and to understand in the objective world out what actually happens in the subjective inner world. This is real for me. Were the trips I made to Mexico, Peru and Chile where, at different times, I initially saw my shadows or I had insight into a new path for my life, initiating processes of inner transformations that continues nowadays. Interestingly, none of them had such a goal. All aimed exclusively for tourism. All the countries I had chosen as a destination have landscapes of great scenic beauty with a biological and cultural diversity that makes them unique in the world. New Zealand was no exception.
Many religions teach us God is everywhere, but I believe there are places that call us to do deeper reflection and provide a greater connection with the Divine. There are some places that sensitize the soul, opening paths of communication and disarming our defenses, thus facilitating communion with the Great Spirit. For me these places always have been forests, oceans, rivers, and deserts. The important thing is to feel. And I feel God’s presence when I encounter a wild animal, when I walk in the woods or when I behold a mountain. No fear, no loneliness, no distress, because God is really at all, even within me.
However, something else happened during the trip to New Zealand. Something entirely new to me during an initiatory journey. It may be a result of the unparalleled beauty of the landscapes of New Zealand, the contrast of their colors, ranging from turquoise rivers and seas, the green fields, brushed with shades of reds, oranges and yellows of the flowers to the gray and white Mountains, which arouse enchantment in the soul of any visitor. It may be a reflection of my inner world, the point I am in my journey. But the fact is that a few times I felt so deep and sincere grateful for life, as I felt during my journey in Aotearoa, that in Maori means Land of the Long White Cloud. A gratitude to God for my life, for all those who crossed my path, for all the things that brought me here and that will take me further. A deep awareness that all that beauty, all this grandeur was created for me, for you, for us. So let’s sing The Passenger, the voice of Siouxsie and enjoy what is ours:
Note of Thanks:
To all those who prayed or sent positive thoughts so that our trip to Aotearoa was a success my sincere thanks. My sister Cacau a special thank you for trusting me and presented me with the company during the trip, her daughter Carol. My mother always for everything. Carol, the best travel companion anyone could wish for! The Camille for all adventure in Hobbiton and Auckland. Rosangela, Nascimento Turismo agent, for all their help and careful attention during the definition phase of the script and planning the trip. The guides to New Zealand, Mani and Margot, Pacific Destinationz, which have always been extremely attentive and zealous in taking care of two stray sheep of the group behind another picture or simply lost in contemplation. In particular, Margot for her efforts to enable all the extra rides we wanted it, and not a few, with great zeal and efficiency. To the many friends we’ve made the trip, thank you for your friendship, especially the Argentine couple Graci and Dario. And last but not least, my thanks to Richard Armitage (The Hobbit) and Peter Jackson (Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit), who brought me the inspiration to visit to Middle-earth.