Edge Life by Cathy Combs

My Most Meaningful Travel Experience

I have had so many meaningful travel experiences in my life. My travel experiences always have two central themes in common. They always highlight the awesome beauty of Mother Nature, and they illuminate the story and the spirituality of the people who lived there before my arrival on this planet.

One such experience was a trip to Cahokia Mounds in 2001. I had heard that this place was amazing, but I had no idea how amazing it was until I got there.

I made the trip at a time when I was struggling emotionally. I made the trip by myself. I just wanted to be quiet. I just wanted to be out in the open. I just wanted to feel whatever I would feel, and see whatever I would see. I very much wanted and needed to be inspired and lifted up. The trip fulfilled that purpose beyond my wildest imaginings.

The day was bright, clear and sunny. The moment I stepped foot upon the land, I was overcome by the majesty and the heartache of events that happened there. These are massive earthen mounds built by indigenous people. The mounds were the life of the city. Each mound represented a different aspect of the life of the people. The liveliness of days gone by was palpably present on that holy site.

The heartache I experienced was felt when I learned that our European ancestors destroyed many of these holy mounds, because in their profound ignorance they didn't know what they were and didn't take the time to know before deciding to build houses on the grounds. Thankfully, somebody stopped that process before these majestic sites were entirely destroyed.

This trip highlighted for me, yet again, that there is so much beauty and heartache everywhere. There are so many holy stories of all people's struggles to live their lives and leave a legacy of beauty and culture for all to share. This trip highlighted for me the need to be educated, the need to be aware of where we're walking -- and the need to be aware of what we're doing! The trip highlighted the need to respect and cherish diversity.

In retrospect, the trip had sentimental value to me, because I very briefly lived on a Native American reservation when I was a baby. I wish I had been there long enough to remember the experience. My life has been filled with so many experiences that tell me clearly how important it is to respect all the manifestations of life. There is so much variety. There is so much beauty. There is so much to understand and appreciate. That is the purpose of traveling. See what there is to see. See who we meet along the way. Share our appreciation for beauty, for ourselves, each other. Expand the generosity of our vision to include others beyond what we currently know. Travel the globe, near and far, with kindness!

In July, I'll be traveling to Hawaii for the first time -- for another adventure in seeing different cultures of our precious world. I look forward to seeing the volcanoes, waterfalls and flowers that I have only seen in pictures. On this trip, I won't be going alone. I'll be going as a gift from a very dear friend. That will make the trip to a stunningly beautiful place even more special.

No matter where I travel in this physical world of ours, by far the most amazing adventure takes place when I experience the journey in my heart and mind. I wholeheartedly look forward to each and every "a ha," because that's what truly adds joy, depth, love, generosity and peace to my life. Blessings to you as you travel. Perhaps we'll meet along the way. Namasté!

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