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Photo by Emily Shahrzad Rahravan, Indonesia Semester.

Why I Travel – Instructor Introduction

“[T]ravel spins us round in two ways at once: It shows us the sights and values and issues that we might ordinarily ignore; but it also, and more deeply, shows us all the parts of ourselves that might otherwise grow rusty. For in traveling to a truly foreign place, we inevitably travel to moods and states of mind and hidden inward passages that we’d otherwise seldom have cause to visit.” —Pico Iyer

I am continually called back to travel, and to Dragons, because of precisely this phenomenon.

Travel invites me to attend more fully to my lived experiences – the internal ones and the external ones, and to the connections between them. Through travel, all of my senses respond to the gifts of an unfamiliar environment. Through travel, I shake off the dust and sediment that settles in my system in the form of conditioning, expectations, comforts, and old patterns. Through travel, I consider new ways of seeing the world – and to understanding myself within it. Through travel, I feel exquisitely awake and alive.

We can’t yet know what kind of growth this experience will spark in each of you. I, for one, am excited to find out. My first year with Dragons, a wise friend and fellow instructor called this work a “faith-based process,” and he was right. We as instructors plant seeds – posing questions, creating challenges, offering insights, and holding space. We have to trust that the seeds will take, and that they will be tended to by our students. That they will survive droughts and floods, that their roots will be strong and deep enough to hold. That growth will begin, and new life will sustain itself.

It is a gift to share this experience with you, to witness each of you within it, and to know that whatever we discover will be scattered like seeds in the wind, making their way to each of your students to grow anew.