You're Doing It Wrong: What Japan Taught Me About How to Travel the World


I traveled to Japan at the age of 22 with my dance troupe.  We were a multicultural group of traditional West African, modern and traditional Korean dancers who went on a 3-week tour throughout Japan to spread cultural understanding and goodwill with our message of unity through dance.  The tour was an amazing experience that opened my eyes to the power of the arts to bring diverse groups of people together.  It also allowed me to experience life as a tourist in Japan, taking in the simplicity, tradition, modernity, technology, cuisine, social life and other fascinating aspects of Japanese culture.

While there, I visited several temples and learned about the history of Zen Buddhism. By the time I went to Japan, I was already deep in the throws of wanderlust and had been for years. Travel had taken hold of me and I just couldn’t get enough.  But, what was different about my trip to Japan was that it made me consciously aware of the fullmind, body, and spirit integration and impact of transformative travel.

When I was completing my doctoral psychology studies, many in the mental health field were drawing from the wealth of ancient Buddhist teachings. While I am not a Buddhist, those Zen Buddhist Psychology writings made a strong impression on me. I was really struck by the idea of mindfulness, presence in the moment and BEING instead of doing. I thought back to how I had experienced these states of mind when I was in Japan.

And true to my nature, I embrace both the mindfulness and adventurous wonder ofzen and wanderlust.  The balance between the two complementary states of being -Zen mindfulness and Wanderlust wonderment -  while traveling has been life changing for me!  The vision of Zen Wanderlust Travel is to make it life changing for you too.

The Birth of Zen Wanderlust

During my first big move abroad to Ethiopia (where I completed my PhD field research), I began keeping detailed notes and observations of the ups and downs of life in Ethiopia. From day 1 of living there, I embodied both the zen and the wanderlust of living in a new country halfway around the world. From that point on, each time I traveled and moved to a new country, I would keep a special diary for that trip. I have journals from Sudan, Egypt, Argentina, Peru, Grenada, Liberia, Italy, China and many other countries.

These “field notes,” as I call them, become the basis for my travel book "Global Insights - The Zen of Travel and BEING in the World."  Part memoir, part travelogue, part inspirational guide, Global Insights - The Zen of Travel and BEING in the Worldis a collection of essays, detailing my years as a world traveler and student of life. I wrote it to inspire people to reach outside of themselves and embrace all that the world has to offer - to help them discover what it truly means to BE when they travel.

That really gets to the heart of why I am so focused on teaching people about travel and what it can do for them. I want to spread the benefits and excitement of travel far and wide. I truly want people to experience the transformation that I have personally and that I’ve seen others experience.

And this is what I want to share with you.  I’ve deciphered the secret of how to transform your life through travel through my own travel experiences, my own research into the “art and science” of travel, the experiences of friends I’ve met along the way, and my work with clients guiding them to personal success through travel.

I decided that I could no longer keep these secrets to myself.  I decided I wanted to share the gift of transformation through travel with everyone who is ready to upgrade and recharge their life.

It finally came to the point where I HAD to launch Zen Wanderlust - to help people reach their highest self through global travel, cultural immersion and personal enrichment. I want people of all backgrounds, creeds and colors to travel more, travel better, transform their lives and live their highest purpose through travel.  

Zen Wanderlust Travel offers travel content, masterclasses, coaching and more.  Our goal is to help people TRAVEL MORE, TRAVEL BETTER, and TRAVEL BOLDER, by learning the art, science and psychology of travel.

Zen Wanderlust is centered on the idea of mindful, transformative travel that pushes you to grow personally while also encouraging you to enjoy the adventure, excitement and wonder of traveling abroad.  For the Zen Wanderlust traveler, travel is more than a pastime, it’s a total lifestyle.



One exciting part of Zen Wanderlust Travel Movement is the Facebook online social community.  The Zen Wanderlust Travel group on Facebook is a place where travel is demystified and members learn to BECOME their best self  through travel.  Members participate in meet-ups, language learning, group travel, travel webinars and destination retreats. Join here

I look forward to seeing you in the group and learning more about what inspires and motivates YOU to travel and live the life you desire.  

Well, that’s all for now.  I’m glad we could connect and you allowed me to give you some background on the Zen Wanderlust Transformative Travel Movement...and why I think you should be a part of it!

I would love to hear from you.  How have you grown from travel?  Or better yet, how do you want to use travel to continue to transform yourself.  Let me know what you think.  

Zen Wanderlust Travel, Philadelphia, PA 19106, nicole@zenwanderlust.com

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