How Travel Makes You Wittier
We all know the five external senses – sight, hearing, smell, taste and touch. That would be enough, you’d think, to make travel exciting, inspiring and new. Even when we travel to familiar places, we feel the thrill of discovery.
Who hasn’t walked along a street and caught a whiff of freshly baking bread, only to recall that wonderful bakery in (whatever city) and the magnificent crunchy loaf we consumed at a street-side table, watching the unfamiliar world go by? We feel alive in that travel moment, and when our senses encourage us to experience it again, the magic returns. When we tell stories about it, we feel it once more too.
Deep in our minds (or some would say souls) we hold these kinds of memories, the ones that make us feel the most alive, the most connected, the most at one with our best selves. In an age where it’s easier to stare at your phone than be in the non-technological moment, we’ve lost much of that wonder.
Five Plus Five
What if you could get closer to that sense of self again? Travel gives you the window of opportunity to do that by challenging you to step outside the familiar, the comfortable, the smart screen. It gives you the opportunity to rewild.
Did you know that in Medieval times, humans were considered to have five MORE senses?
Back then, we simple non-technological humans had ten – count ‘em – TEN senses. All ten were known as ‘wits’, as in, “Keep your wits about you.” The five we tend to think about today are known as external wits/senses. But wait, there’s more.
The internal senses are:
- Common wit, or what we know today as common sense…
- Imagination, one close to my heart as a writer and photog…
- Fantasy, or the magic of what-if?…
- Estimation, what I call critical thinking… and
- Memory, giving us perspective on both personal and world history.
Now raise your hands in answer to this – how many of you feel like you use these five internal senses on a regular basis in your daily routine?
Travel Makes Us Wittier
Travel gives us the opportunity to jump into these five internal wits because we’re outside our comfort zones. Stepping out of the cocoon of everyday life, we get back in touch with those places inside ourselves that we’ve lost through routine. We rewild.
In his excellent book Rewild, Nick Baker describes how he helps people rewild, getting back in touch with all these senses through nature. We can rewild using all ten senses when we travel too.
Challenging myself in situations that are uncomfortable (in a safe way) and make me think (in a deep way) feels like I’ve taken the first very deep breath in a very long time. I’m back in touch with parts of myself I tend to lose in my day to day. I rewild, and I’m a better person for it.
How does travel rewild you? Please share how you use all ten senses when you travel.