“Travel is more than the seeing of sights; it is a change that goes on deep and permanent in the ideas of living.”
– Miriam Beard
Val Jon Farris is an award-winning author, behaviorist, and leadership consultant. For over thirty years he has conducted personal-growth programs for more than 30,000 people and championed large-scale workforce transformations for Fortune 100 corporations. He was one of Sir Richard Branson’s senior leadership mentors for “XTC,” (Extreme Tech Challenge), and in addition to authoring two popular personal-growth books, he is a well-respected contributor to the Huffington Post. Val Jon is also an expedition guide into the Mesoamerican ruins of South America. He is located in Northern Mexico in San Miguel de Allende, a beautiful World UNESCO Heritage site where he lives and operates his expedition retreat center.
What Is The Nature of Curiosity?
Every travel destination, pilgrimage and trek we ever embark upon delivers us to multiple destinations, and I don’t mean one site after the next, but rather that every “site” we explore possesses a simultaneous “insight” counterpart, or what can be called “travels within.” The first destination, the exterior location we arrive at and stand upon is quite obvious, but the second, the deep insights that arise as a result of our inner travels are not so obvious.
This nexus where the outer world of sites and inner world of insights intersect is perhaps the most extraordinary “place” we can ever travel to. As Miriam Beard suggests, just beyond the joys of sight-seeing is a profound change in our ideas of living, a kind of evolving “inner-vision” of who we know ourselves to be and what our true “life itinerary” actually is.
Some say travelers are restless and are born with a wayward streak. Others label them as nomads and vagabonds. And still others romanticize them as wayfarers and pioneers. But beyond these fanciful notions one of the distinguishing characteristics dwelling within a traveler is simple curiosity.
Curiosity may be a simplistic notion, but that doesn’t mean it lacks character or depth. Curiosity is a natural attribute all of us are born with. Newborns are fascinated by absolutely everything and their inquisitiveness compels them to travel, first on their belly, then their hands and knees, and finally atop their feet and legs.
Yet as fundamental as curiosity is in our lives many of us lose touch with it. As we mature into adulthood our fascination with learning new things wanes and we tend to become set in our ways. There’s nothing wrong with settling on certain preferences and beliefs, but when it’s at the expense of our inquisitive nature we slip into apathetic disinterest, a condition in which the mystery of being alive gets replaced with the misery of merely living.
But why would anyone trade curiosity for disinterest? For one simple reason, adults must contend with something children are yet to confront; the insecurities of a mature ego. To a child, curiosity evokes an enthusiastic opportunity to learn and grow. But to the adult ego, it conjures up the risk of embarrassment or humiliation. It’s important to realize that although our ego remains safe in the absence of risk, our aliveness diminishes because we’ve removed ourselves from discovering the mysteries of life. The poet e. e. cummings speaks of the opportunity to engage in curiosity this way.
“Once we believe in ourselves, we can risk curiosity, wonder, spontaneous delight, or any experience that reveals the human spirit.”
While an infant doesn’t necessarily believe in themselves, they’re comfortable being who they are, just as they are without any second-guessing or self-judgment. This quality of self-acceptance must be integrated into our adult persona if we are ever to believe in ourselves.
Those who believe in themselves have moved beyond the need to protect their self-image. Rather than catering to their ego’s fear of humiliation they’ve learned to embrace curiosity with a measure of humility. (What distinguishes humiliation from humility BTW is the ego’s propensity for self-invalidation rather than self-acceptance.)
So how do we deepen our self-acceptance and belief in ourselves? By getting to know who we are in very a specific way; not in a way others expect or want, but in a way that arises within the crucible of our own discernment. Self-belief is borne of our own experimentation with cause and effect, our own insight and discovery, and more than anything, our own responsibility for engaging in a life we ourselves deem is worth living, whether anyone else validates it or not.
One final thought before closing this edition of The Traveler Within . . . There is a useful distinction between a “tourist” and a “traveler” I want to leave you with. A tourist is a casual sightseer who uses their travel itinerary to boost their ego and prove their self-worth. Travelers don’t cater to their ego in this way and they’re not sightseers. Rather, they’re curious visionaries who engage in travel as a way to explore the majesty and grace of the human spirit dwelling within them.
Join me next time as we venture beyond curiosity and into another compelling traveler characteristic. Curious as to what it might be? That’s the spirit! ~ (Download this article here.)
For more information about our online community, click on the “Learn More” button. Thanks for your interest in our growing tribe! – Val Jon
I have followed the work of Val Jon for nearly 30 years and have always been impressed by his ability to express complicated ideas in a way that is understood by people of all backgrounds and beliefs. I highly recommend any of his books or workshops. – John Thompson
I have known Val Jon and his work for quite a while and have worked deeply with him in person. This book is a summary of all that knowledge and experience. It is beautifully written and takes the reader on a journey of healing and transformation. Val Jon’s work had a profound shift for me in my work and my relationship to my son. Saying he saved my life is underestimating his power. This book is a major force for healing. – David A. Couper
Val Jon has been on a journey for a long time and has been providing a depth of wisdom, healings and teachings throughout his life. Travelers within is a culmination of his work…not for the beginner in a journey of inner healing, but a deep dive into the depths of our soul, aligning our 3D-5D realities and much more. His wisdom is invaluable, his heart expansive in teaching ourselves how to go deeper and grow wider…a must-read for anyone wanting to dig into themselves and tap into their infinite self. – Pilar Stella Ingargiola
Having known Val Jon for more then twenty years, I was inspired and moved by his spiritual nature. Our top experience was held in Machu Picchu, on a divine journey, described on his first book. As a writer he moves mountains by encouraging people to get out of their comfort zone and explore the unknown universe. His book is a powerful way to start your travel within. Enjoy it! – Alberto Golbert
To be perfectly honest, this is not an easy journey for the neophyte of self-exploration. But, we can learn so much signing on to this professionally guided, hand-holding, rough & tough look into ourselves. Most of us will have to experience the teaching again and again to break-through some of our personal hangups, self-sabotage traits & discover the ‘why’s’ of who we are…but to be the best we may be as individuals & discover empathy for why others may be who they are, it is well worth the hard work & travel within. Val Jon Farris makes the time spent not only FUN! & life-changing, but intellectually stimulating. – Cynthia E.
I haven’t read this book yet, but I traveled to another country to participate in a personal growth workshop, led by Val Jon (the author). Val Jon spent his life working to find his own self, and shares that information is a wonderful, caring and kind way. I’ve attended dozens of personal growth and spiritual seminars, and I can honestly say Val Jon’s work is completely different and a fresh approach. I am sure his book will be as fabulous as he is! – Brenda F.