Traveling Completely Transformed My Life. It Can Do the Same for You.

Traveling connected me to myself, and ultimately, to Allah.

I still can’t believe how much I have changed.

It is like taking one person and swapping it with another one.

What was overwhelming became easy to vanquish.

I had strength where I used to show weakness.

Energy replaced lethargy.

All the blessings I’m enjoying today — closeness to Allah, serenity, and even writing — started with traveling.

But, how did it take so long for me to change?

When it’s time to change, live up to our responsibilities, and fix our relationship with Allah, resistance shows up.

Resistance is the repelling force that prevents us from doing what we need to do.

No one is happy when you’re planning to change your life for the better.

Your lower self doesn’t want it, your mind is scared of the time and effort it might take, and shaytan (devil)

doesn’t want to lose a good client.

Under pressure, we end up putting everything we need to deal with in a special closet.

Self-delusion helps to do so.

‘Tomorrow will be different”, we might say.

It sounds like a good strategy, but there’s only one problem.

The things we ignore have a life on their own.

They keep growing and growing until the closet is no longer big enough to contain them.

Resistance comes with a price.

When it gets the best of us, we feel unhappy, unsatisfied, guilty, or hate ourselves.

We don’t want to feel this way, so we start adopting some vices that relieve us.

Ultimately, we realize that we can’t suppress those feelings, so we enter depression, aggression, or despair.

No one wants to reach the final stage. It’s a dark place to be.

But even if you do, there is always hope.

Whether you lose your way or lose yourself, they’ll always be an opportunity to move in the right direction.

For me, the opportunity was traveling.

I flew to Australia with one thousand euros, a hundred words of English, and a million fears.

Some of my fears did happen, but the outcomes were not as catastrophic as I imagined.

I ran out of money, got scammed, my belongings were stolen, and I got disappointed by some people. That’s pretty much everything.

On the other side, I did countless jobs not matching my profile, received help from perfect strangers, skydived and scuba-dived, trained martial arts in a Shaolin school, crossed China for a month with a broken rib, hiked in Nepal and reached 5400m despite altitude sickness, volunteered in Sri Lanka, fell in love with Indonesia... but most importantly, I renewed my connection to Allah.

I particularly remember a dua (supplication) I made on a desolate Australian beach.

In the middle of the night, I went out of my tent, sat on a massive rock, stared at the full moon, and started weeping.

That night, I told Allah everything. My weaknesses, my failed attempts to change, and my desperate need for help and guidance.

Immediately, I felt my chest less tight.

Soon after, new people came into my life; others were leaving it.

In between, I had a period of solitude.

Solitude can be scary–you might not like what you see– but it is necessary.

I shifted from looking outward to looking inward.

My choked inner voice became more and more audible.

And what I couldn’t accomplish in years took very little time while traveling.

There is an ayat capturing my state well before and after traveling:

“When the earth, for all its spaciousness, closed in around them, when their very souls closed in around them, when they realized that the only refuge from God was with Him, He relented towards them in mercy in order for them to return [to Him]. God is the Ever Relenting, the Most Merciful.” [Quran 9:118]

But guess what, I realized?

I wasn’t the only person with a closet.

On the road, I met many individuals with closets of fear.

And this is where traveling gives its utmost value.

It helps you get in the closet with fear, and I came out with strength and new possibilities.

Traveling leaves us no place to hide, no work to keep us busy,

and no routine to distract us.

It breaks our inner structure. Progressively, we get to know

ourselves and our potential.

In the end, the closet is not the place to run away from but the

one to go towards.

As Carl Jung wrote:

“That which you most need will be found where you least

want to look.”

Amine Dyane regularly publishes on his blog, The Muslim Shepherd. He writes to revive curiosity in Muslims following his motto: Learn everything from everyone.

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