Unlike a large percentage of millennials, I’ve never traveled outside the United States, I don’t have aspirations of being a full-time travel blogger, and I wouldn’t use “#wanderlust” to describe my life by any means. This is not because I don’t find travel fun, interesting, or educational, but because travel just hasn’t really been a large part of my life. Recently, though, I’ve been fortunate enough to experience the transformative and healing power that travel is capable of, and I want to share my story.


Up until this point in my life, I’ve mostly been focused on my competitive figure skating, my education, and starting my career in the pharmaceutical industry. When I was little, my family and I would go to Myrtle Beach, SC on an annual family vacation up until around the time I started competing for skating. After that, most trips were focused on skating, with a few mini-vacations squeezed in between, but they only stretched along the East Coast from New York to Florida.


As my life has changed in recent years, I’ve started to think more about the places I would like to travel to eventually: Greece (The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants really sold me), Alaska (to be specific, I want to take an Alaskan cruise), multiple locations in Europe, Australia and New Zealand, Cuba, Canada, Hawaii, multiple sites throughout the United States via a cross-country trip, and the most recent addition to the list: India. Little did I know that before I would go on any of these trips, I’d first be going to Seattle, Washington on a business trip.


Anyone that knows me is aware that I work three jobs (one full-time and two part-time) and I have multiple hobbies that always keep me busy, sometimes more than others. The months leading up to my Seattle trip were marked with low energy, anxiety, constant commitments, and stagnation. It was the storm before the rainbow – I needed a break from the daily grind and to push myself out of my comfort zone in order to move forward.


Although it was technically a work trip, I knew that I would ironically get more rest and time to myself than I would get during an average week back home – a much needed break. What I didn’t know was how important this trip would be for my personal growth.


We spent some long hours in the office, but I still had plenty of leisure time. I saw the city and Pike Place Market, walked around Washington Park Arboretum, ate dinner by myself outside while overlooking the Space Needle, spent some time catching up on Marvel movies and Netflix, and even took a yoga class at a studio next to the hotel I was staying in. It was a nice time to get in touch with myself – to get grounded and really think about what I enjoy in life and the foundation I want to build for myself moving forward.


I attributed the vibe of the trip solely to having the time to think and relax, but a few days after I returned from Seattle, I was listening to Christine Hassler’s podcast, “Over It and On With It ” when I heard her talk about Mt. Shashta and the world chakra map. Those that study yoga may be familiar with the seven chakras, or energy centers, that are present in the human body according to ancient Vedic texts. Christine was talking about how Mother Earth also has her own chakras, and Mt. Shashta, located in California only about 500 miles from Seattle, is one of them – the root chakra. It all made sense to me now.


The root chakra is our foundation. In our bodies the root chakra is located at the base of our spine. It represents groundedness, survival, and emotional and financial security. It is meant to represent our connection to the Earth and remind us that we are human. It can also be connected to your confidence towards change and growth – things that I’ve been going through a lot of recently as I break old patterns that have held me back from moving forward in life. All of the symptoms I had been experiencing before my trip were sure signs of a root chakra that was out of balance, which is why the trip came at the perfect time. Once I made the connection between my trip and the world chakra map, it came as no surprise that five days in Seattle helped me to heal and find some footing in my life when I landed back in New Jersey.


I share my story with the hope that maybe you will find a connection between your personal growth and your next (or last) vacation destination. Could you be healing your sacral chakra, linked with creative and sexual energy, by visiting South America? Focusing on honing your will-power, self-confidence, and finding your identity in Australia, the location of the solar plexus? Healing your heart chakra and learning how to love or forgive near Stonehenge? Learning how to speak your inner truth and work on your throat chakra in the Middle East? Improving your intuition, your third eye chakra, also near Stonehenge (the location of this one apparently changes every 150-200 years)? Or are you working on your crown chakra and achieving enlightenment in Tibet?


Even if you’re not headed near any of these extravagant locations this summer, there is still much to be learned from travel in general. Though my previous trips did not necessarily span far and wide, I still enjoyed getting to see and enjoy new environments. I look back at the list of places I want to see in this lifetime and I can’t wait for my next adventure. Now that I have found my footing, the future looks a little brighter, the unknown doesn’t seem so scary, and I’m reminded of the importance of groundedness, even while traveling.