Santa Monica Observer - Community, Diversity, Sustainability and other Overused Words

By Mike Schibel
Special to the Observer 

Not all journeys are measured in miles: How To Travel With Meaning

In a post Covid world, how Travel can help you connect with new friends and find meaning

 

April 11, 2021

Mike Schibel with his wife, Nicole.

As the world slowly starts to open and we all look at ways to stretch our legs, see friends or family we haven't seen in a year how will we travel different?  The reality of travel and the ability to roam freely around our country as well as the majority of the world, is something we've all learned to really appreciate in this past year. If there is one thing the pandemic has stirred up within us this new normal or whatever we're calling this now: there's a desire to learn, better ourselves, find new ways to step outside of our comfort zone and grow.  

Travel has been a chosen vehicle for change and transformation for people throughout history. The concept of travel, as it relates to the tourism industry, destinations, tour operators, hotels and influencers was somewhat a functioning dysfunctional system pre-pandemic. Over tourism, the lack of sustainability practices and supporting local were big topics before the world paused.

As we continue to move forward and traveling becomes more of a regular part of our lives again, I am eager to see how the industry evolves to address ways to improve. What I am most curious about is how will WE, as travelers, react?

There's been a term thrown around the past few months "revenge travel" basically, making up for lost travel time and going on more trips.  I'm all for this once it is safe for people to travel, but I want to invite us to think about how we travel with meaning? Ask yourself the questions: what does travel mean to me?  What has my view on travel been this past year?

My name is Mike Schibel, I am the Founder of Travel With Meaning, a travel storytelling community, sharing authentic and inspiring stories from incredible travelers on the Travel With Meaning Podcast and pre-pandemic at our live Travel Talk events here locally in Los Angeles.  

It's my belief that everyone has been impacted in their life and career through travel.  After exiting my career in the entertainment industry over a decade ago and buying a one-way ticket to travel for a year, I've been on this quest to hear other travelers share their grateful journeys and their untold adventures. There's a powerful thing that happens when travel stories are shared.  I've been fortunate to interview guests from all over the world and a few Santa Monica residents including award winning filmmaker and journalist Angela Sun, artist Ruben Rojas (you've probably seen his LOVE murals in Santa Monica), fitness expert Lauren Abraham and Aras and Christy Baskaukas, Co-Founders of Christy Dawn clothing company. Included in this great mix of guests on the Travel With Meaning podcast are Westside natives; architect David Hertz, Khalil Kinsey of the Kinsey Collection and Jesse Billauer founder of non-profit Life Rolls On. You can listen to these inspiring travel tales at travelwithmeaning.com/podcast

My fiancé Nicole and I have lived in Santa Monica just over six months.  I'm originally from the Palisades, and as much as I wanted to pack up to see the world as a young kid, all of my adventures have made me even more grateful to call Santa Monica home. I'm beyond proud of where I grew up. Summers spent on the beach surfing while watching TV Show Baywatch being filmed, seeing the transformation of the Santa Monica bike path and evolution of Heal the Bay to make Santa Monica's water clean for us all to enjoy. It was actually all my travels around the globe that allowed me to have an appreciation for this special place we call home.  

The passion I have to share the extraordinary history of Santa Monica's beach bike path with my unique stories growing up here led me to launch a Travel With Meaning Bike Tour. One of my favorite things when I travel is to learn about the place I'm visiting.  So often we take for granted the rich history of our own backyard. This is one of the steps of How to Travel With Meaning: Not all journeys are measured in miles.

During this past year I spent several weeks exploring more of Southern California. Since travel was forced to be local, I took advantage of the incredible offerings we have within two-to-four-hour drives from Santa Monica. Places I hadn't been in years, such as the Kern River, Eastern Sierras, and Joshua Tree. Going for long hikes, jumping in lakes, seeing the sunrise, helped me take much needed deep breaths in uncertain times.  This also helped me establish another step of How to Travel With Meaning; Nature is the best therapy.   

From me sharing on my social feed and podcast, I've had people reach out about best suggestions to experience nature locally who normally weren't comfortable camping.  I also kept hearing from people who wanted to go camping but didn't have anyone to go with or were unsure of what to bring, where to go and how I could assist.

This sparked my newest collaboration, Road Trips With Meaning with Adventure Guide Jack Steward, from the Emmy Award winning TV show, Rock The Park. Our upcoming trips to Joshua Tree are April 25-28 and May 16-19.  Jack and I created a program to maximize an inner journey and an outer adventure.  Working with a local camper van rental company allows guests to experience van life with extra amenities such as a refrigerator, stove and running water.  It's a great way to ease into a nature getaway if it is not your norm. 

Be present to the magic: Take deep breathes, look around, acknowledge where you are, sit still.

As we get ready to step out from lockdown, here are five easy steps that will support a meaningful inner journey and a memorable outer adventure.  We know travel is personal and these steps will be different for each of us, but I'm confident if WE embody them together travel will be much more fulfilling.

How To Travel With Meaning 

1.     Be present to the magic: Take deep breathes, look around, acknowledge where you are, sit still.

2.     Not all journeys are measured in miles: Sometimes the best adventure is closer than you think.

3.     Nature is the best therapy: Make weekly/monthly appointments. 

4.     Go with the flow: Expectations and bad weather can be travel vibe killers. Roll with it and let it be part of the trip not define the journey.

5.     Respect, learn, share and grow. Respect each other, the environment and yourself.

Check out travelwithmeaning.com to learn more. See you on the Open Road!

 

 

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