Travel Learning: Lesson 7 of 10

Lesson 7 of 10: Unearthing My Voice

Chilly early morning writing in our campground outside Oaxaca.

All of my friends, family, acquaintances, and colleagues, as well as my work, play, and routines have been left behind. It feels like a massive spring-cleaning of my lifestyle. I vacillate from appreciating this experience as precious (most of the time) to feeling lonely and depressed (some of the time). It’s a time like no other in my life. With so much now shed from myself, if I pay attention, I have a chance to hear my own voice more clearly, and I wonder, “What do I have to say? How do I want to say it? What does my voice sound like?”

For 34 years, most of my writing has been based on the voice of organizations. I’m guessing you might know how that feels. Now I feel a strong urge to write unabashedly in my very own, personal, individual voice. (As I typed that last sentence, fear sensations rushed through my body!) Writing in someone else’s voice is like being fully clothed, protected from personal criticism. Writing in my personal voice, feels like I’m naked and vulnerable, with my thoughts, feelings, and ideas exposed.

So why would I focus on this when I could simply enjoy traveling? I trust that when I have a desire to do something and it sticks with me, it’s my wise inner voice urging me forward. And I know somehow it will connect to my future in a way that I can’t always see from where I am now.  

This time of being disconnected from familiar people and environments feels like a better time than any to experiment with my voice. Right now I’m using three ways to learn: writing and making videos for this blog, my daily journaling practice, and a book by Todd Henry that came to me a in an unexpected way. I love it when that happens. It feels special.

I’ve respected Jennifer Louden’s work for several years, through reading her online materials and taking a couple of her classes. (Learn more about her here.) I emailed her for the first time on a different topic, and within our exchange she suggested the book Louder than Words: Harness the Power of Your Authentic Voice by Todd Henry. I’ve been slowly absorbing the work by reading the book and bringing the most real me I can muster to every single exercise the author offers.

I’m in that pubescent learning stage. This quote, from a book I loved reading, gets at what I’m moving through now.

“Everybody is original, if he tells the truth, if he speaks from himself. But it must be from his *true* self and not from the self he thinks he *should* be. ” ~ Brenda Ueland, If You Want to Write: A book about Art, Independence and Spirit.

In the spirit of learning,

Jalene