Travel as a Healing Tool

When I first saw a metro map I was terrified

When I first saw a metro map I was terrified

Travel can be an incredible healing tool. I was afraid my entire childhood, and long into my young adulthood.  I wanted to see the world, but I was afraid of making mistakes, taking wrong turns, missing planes.  I wanted to be an archeologist or travel writer, but I was terrified I would get on the wrong train, would get lost somewhere in the outback, that I would forget my tickets, my passport, my house keys.

Dupont Circle is lovely. Amazing row houses.

Dupont Circle is lovely. Amazing row houses. Travel is amazing

All this fear stemmed from an extremely abusive childhood.  My mother used to tell me “I wish you had never been born.” She was a paranoid schizophrenic, so I was never sure “which” mother I was coming home to.  One day she was the loving, cupcake-baking mother; the other she was the angry mother taking a butcher knife to my father. My father was no prize either.  Let’s just say he was an incestuous sadist and leave it at that.

Safely at the Washington DC Union Station. Now, where is the Metro?

Safely at the Washington DC Union Station. Now, where is the Metro? Travel adventures!

Stability was not a keyword in my childhood, and that fear bled into my adulthood.  I so desperately wanted to backpack across Europe, take a road trip across America, visit Africa. The furthest I ever travelled until I was 37 was the United States, Canada and Mexico.  Mostly by car.  I was terrified to go to an airport because I was afraid to get lost and miss my plane.

I used to be terrified to fly.  I don't particularly like it now but I'm used to it.

I used to be terrified to fly. I don’t particularly like it now but I’m used to it.

So how has travel become a healing tool for me? The simple answer is I just started traveling.  The more complex answer is I learned to make wrong turns, learned that the world doesn’t end if you miss a connecting flight, or you have to ask someone how to get onto a train (where do you wait? In the depot? At the train track?) My most recent trip to Baltimore and Washington DC testi my travel healing to the absolute maximum.  In order to save money and to feel more like a traveler and not a tourist, I didn’t rent a car.  I looked online and tried to figure out how to get from the BWI airport to Baltimore, and then from Baltimore to Penn Station, and from Penn Station to the MARC train that took me to Washington DC.  From there I hopped on the Washington DC Metro and used that for a week. I was terrified.  But I was also exhilarated.

travel as a healing tool

I waited on the tracks until Ernie asked and we went back upstairs to sit in comfort in the train lobby

I have learned the easiest way to minimize fears is to ask strangers for help. I know, that sounds counter-intuitive.  Especially for someone like me who couldn’t trust her own parents, approaching strangers should be hard.  And once it was.  But I have learned that most strangers are very kind, especially if you appear lost. I learned that instead of taking a $30 taxi ride from BWI airport to the Embassy Suites in Baltimore Harbor, I could spend $3 and take the light rail from the airport. It dropped me off about 4 blocks from my hotel.  Easy-peasy. To navigate Baltimore harbor, I asked the concierge at our hotel, and he encouraged me to use the Baltimore free Circulator. Nice.  Leaving the hotel I was told to take the same circulator to Penn Station. At Penn station I went to the train track but then learned you had to wait upstairs in the lobby.  Okay, I can do that.  Once on the train my fears kicked in and I stood up for the length of the entire stop instead of sitting.  As if no one else was getting off! LMAO.  I shrugged at the other passengers and freely admitted “This is my first train ride here.” They smiled. The Washington Metro is a simple system. You just look for the station the train ends at, and your stop is somewhere along the way.

Travel Selfie in front of the White House....the secret service said "Ma'am, no photos!" Glad we didn't end up in jail!

Selfie in front of the White House….the secret service said “Ma’am, no photos!” Glad we didn’t end up in jail!

I have learned that being afraid is okay.  It’s staying afraid that stops me from living life. I encourage you to make wrong turns, miss airplane connections, take the wrong bus for a stop or two….and live life.

How has travel changed your life? What are your favorite travel mishaps that in retrospect made for great stories? I’d love to hear from you!



How to Easily Create Healthy Habits

By Samantha Hua, Nutritional Coach

How to Create Healthy Habits Easily
Do you struggle to eat healthy and exercise?  Wonder why some people do it so naturally and you have to struggle on a daily basis counting those stupid calories, resisting temptations, and becoming increasingly frustrated that you keep failing to “stay on track?” Here are some steps to help you get started.  Make sure you seek support as we are social creatures and need support in order to succeed. Let me ask you one question….how often do you brush your teeth?  Are there days that you forget?  Of course not!!  That would be gross!  It’s automatic that you never wake up forgetting.  You’ve built an ingrained habit.  That’s what we do at Happy Food.  We make healthy lifestyles automatic.  Here are just a few tips to get you started before we start working together for true success:

Image courtesy of stockimages at
Image courtesy of stock images at

1. Set realistic intentions.  What do you want to accomplish?  Everyone wants overnight results so as an example, we go from never moving to hitting the gym 5-7 times a week for 45 minutes.  That’s unrealistic and you WILL fail!  Baby steps. Celebrate small successes.  We always focus on our downfalls and fail to see where we actually succeed so we unintentionally feed the wrong fire, making it feel like being healthy is impossible.  Actually, it’s trying to be perfect that is impossible.  Being healthy is easy!



2. Create rituals.  Without rituals, our brain would literally explode because we make thousands of decisions per day.  Just like brushing your teeth takes no thinking, what is your eating and exercising ritual

3. Trust in time.  Our society is always looking for short cuts.  True transformation takes time, then it becomes your natural deposition.  Instead, there’s always someone out there wanting to make money by selling us the latest weight loss product which not only dis-empowers but doesn’t solve our problem.  We’re stuck with being fatter, sicker, and feeling even more defeated.

Image courtesy of tiramisustudio at

Image courtesy of tiramisustudio at









4. Learn nutritional, mental, and spiritual techniques to help you reach your goals with ease.  Stop dieting and get a free health consultation to see if this is the right match for you. or (619) 876-2655.  Weed through the fad diets and do what truly works in the long run for you and your family.

Unpacking Your Past — To Share or not to Share?

Often when beginning a new relationship you want it to be built on honesty, love and respect. So you now begin to ask yourself  “How honest should I be? Do I share everything? Do I share my past hurts? Betrayals? Disappointments? Do I share the nature of my last relationship; i.e. how it began & ended? Will they judge me based on my past and look at me differently if I share too much? Will they end things prematurely, before we even really get started, because they feel that I am not who they thought me to be, now that I have opened up and shared my past with them? And will I lose out on what could be THE love of my life because I’ve shared too much?”

Image courtesy of digitalart at
Image courtesy of digitalart at









The key to when sharing your past, is that you must be cautious with who you share it with. Before you open yourself up and share some of your most vulnerable moments and experiences in your life, know WHO you are sharing it with. Be sure that they will handle your past with care and not use what you share as COLLATERAL. Be sure that before you open up, you know where their heart lies. Ask yourself if they are capable of empathizing with complete strangers? Are they quick to judge others? And how comfortable are they with allowing you to witness their vulnerable side? Once you determine that they are slow to judge, capable of empathizing with others regardless of their personal connection (to them) and are comfortable being vulnerable in your presence; you can then begin to “UNPACK YOUR PAST”.

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at











Yet remember, to be careful not to share too much all at once. As time progresses and your relationship grows, share a little more. You’ll find that the give and take method (you share a little, they share a little) is very useful when “UNPACKING YOUR PAST” with your partner. You’ll discover that your willingness to share your past betrayals, indiscretions, and disappointments strengthens your bond. You’ll also discover that being willing to give of yourself and expose your vulnerabilities and short comings with THEE right person will lead to a relationship built on trust, care, compromise and compassion.

The key, is to know your partner before you take it to the next level and feel comfortable, so that you can begin to “UNPACK YOUR PAST”.


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Placing Them On A Pedestal Doesn’t Make Them Perfect

Pedestalizing – The act of placing your mate, loved one, child, friend, co-worker or acquaintance on a pedestal; only to discover that they are not Perfect.

When we gain enough courage and open up our hearts to new friendships, relationships, and partnerships, we are making the conscious choice to love/trust again. In the beginning everything is picture perfect and the honeymoon phase is in full bloom. But for some instead of engaging in healthy, productive relationships, friendships or partnerships, they pedalstilize their new mate, friend or partner. And during this time we ignore truths, turn a blind eye to the obvious and walk in ignorance. And for those of us who have endured many heartbreaks, let downs and disappointments, we tend to place our new mate, partner or “friend” on a pedestal. By placing our new mate, partner or “friend” on a pedestal we run the risk of being bamboozled and hurt, let down or disappointed yet again.

So the question is why do we pedalstilize or new mates, friends and partners? Is our fear of being let down, hurt, rejected and disappointed so deeply imbedded within, that we are willing to accept anything and live with lies? Are we so broken within that we tell ourselves that we will not endure another failed friendship, relationship or partnership, so we choose to live in ignorant bliss?

The problem with Pedestalizing someone is that we accept anything b/c of our fears. When we choose to place our new friend, mate or partner on a pedestal we are doing it for our own benefit. It allows us to keep running from our fears and keeps us from facing the truth about ourselves; which is perhaps we are not yet ready to engage in new relationships, partnerships or friendships. Perhaps we have not yet dealt with why our previous relationships, partnerships or friendships did not work and the part that we played in their demise. And perhaps we are not yet ready to love/trust again and instead should be focused on conquering the fears that have our hearts & emotions bound.

Wendy Whitmore MS LMFT & Life Coach