Are there just some places you have this intense desire to experience and visit? Not because someone told you to visit or because these are supposed to be these amazing historic sites, but because you feel this urge and hunger in your heart to visit these countries or cities? I may never understand meaning behind it, but I strongly believe it has to do with our own individual karma.
The first trip I took to a place I felt a calling to visit was Joshua Tree and Twentynine Palms. When I close my eyes and put myself back in that experience, I fall more and more in love and still long for it. I had such a hard time leaving and know I need more time there.
Swami Satchidananda says that you can find spirituality anywhere. That you don’t have to go anywhere but inside yourself to have a spiritual experience, and he’s right. Spirituality is following your heart. Just close your eyes, and you are there.
Here are the top five places I feel called to visit:
1. Gallup, New Mexico to the Hot Air Balloon Festival:
Back in the 70’s my uncle lived in Gallup, New Mexico and flew hot air balloons. He also collected Navajo Indian art. I was always fascinated with his lifestyle at that time, and wanted to visit that area of the world. Ever since he passed away I have been really longing to connect with that.
Here’s a photo of my Uncle and I on his 60th birthday.
2. Dresden, Germany
I first discovered Dresden when I was reading Kurt Vonnegut’s Slaughterhouse Five, and how he discusses his time as a Prisoner of War. I knew nothing of Dresden, but became very interested. Then, signs of Dresden started showing up all around me. I would hear people talking about Dresden, see it on television, and it even showed up in my dreams. I had one dream about living in Dresden, and another intense one where I was on a train to Dresden and I could not get off. I wanted to stop the train, but continued to be told that we could not get off until we stopped in Dresden. To be honest, I have not done much research on Dresden until now, but after seeing these pictures I feel even more called to visit.
3. Valley of Fire State Park:
A few years ago my friend sent me to a set of photos off of Flickr. For the life of me, I cannot remember why he initially wanted me to see these photos, but I started going through them, and found this photo:
I just got stuck on this photo for hours and knew I JUST HAD TO VISIT THIS PLACE! I emailed the photographer to ask where it was, and replied right away to tell me it was at the Valley of Fire State Park located on the outskirts of vegas. There is obviously a desert theme with me (Joshua Tree, New Mexico, Nevada). I’m currently planning a road trip from New Mexico to The Valley Of Fire. I can’t FREAKING wait!
4. Mysore, India
The style of Yoga that I teach and practice, Ashtanga Yoga, was originated in Mysore, India by Pattabhi Jois. Every year people travel from all over the world to visit and study from Sharath, his grandson, who now runs the Shala. I have a longing to visit and connect with the energy and prana of the city and Shala. There is a lot of controversy and politics around the way Ashtanga is taught. Every teacher has a different method of teaching the practice, and every student is trying to understand the ‘correct method.’ Yoga is not black and white, which is a hard concept for people in the west to accept. I think the only way to know for myself is to have my own experience.
I have a longing to connect with my Jewish roots. I am not sure where I want to visit in Israel, but maybe I just need to take a long trip and travel all over. When I was writing this I looked up photos to see where I connected with the most, and I really felt connected to Jerusalem. The photos in Tel Aviv looked gorgeous and amazing as well. I know one day I will make a spiritual journey to connect with my Jewish Identity and of course seek out the best Matzoh Ball Soup and Latkes I can find!