Inspiration

How Travel Heals… Reflections from Berlin

May 25, 2022

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I'm Kimberly - a women's health functional nurse practitioner.  I am here to help you achieve vibrant health!

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FEZ – Berlin

I recently traveled to Berlin for a two week holiday to spend time with my son who lives there. I have realized over time, that travel acts like a healing mirror for me. Travel reflects back an image of myself and shines a light on how aligned I am with my truth. What I experience, what I notice, what catches my eye while traveling, all has deep personal meaning. And I have found that if I pay close attention, I am able to see my reflection in that which I notice.

I have learned that paying attention and noticing details around me, helps me to fine tune my “voice” … my essence. It helps me to recognize those things in my life that I am highly aligned with and also those things that do not align with my truth.

Each time I travel, I come away with reminders of what is truly important to me. I also come away with a sense of clarity around the things that I want to let go of. When I am able to truly let go of the things in my life that do not fully serve me, I make room for more authenticity. It is a magical experience. It is healing, life giving, and brings a strong sense of spirit to my being. I am a spiritual person at my core, and travel brings that out in me. For this I am grateful, as travel truly heals me. Here are the lessons that my experience in Berlin taught me over the last two weeks.

Remember… Little “Touches” Matter

The little things… these chocolates!

A small cookie or a chocolate placed on the saucer of my Tasse Kaffee (cup of coffee)… every time one is served to me makes me smile. This is the tradition in Berlin and around Europe in general. For me, this small touch can have a profound effect. A little gesture of kindness… a treat… just for me. It reminds me of how important it is to be kind and thoughtful. And that there is still kindness in the world.

Notice What Catches Your Eye

What you notice when you travel tells you something about yourself. Travel presents healing message for you in what draws your attention. Stop and think about that for a minute.

I noticed so many things while traveling in Berlin that drew my attention and my desire… the casual way they dress, the street cafes everywhere, the quiet neighborhood streets, the way everyone rides their bikes… with their street clothes on, the farmers markets, the flea markets, the bucket hats, the tennis shoes, the flower markets, the bakeries, the way people stroll so leisurely, the way they linger over their morning coffee… without looking at their phones, the sounds of the language, the gifts left for others on the side of the street (Zu Verschenken), the way Germans recycle, the apartment buildings, the attention Berliners give to play spaces for children, the bicycle highways, eating outdoors… I could go on and on.

Travel reveals healing messages for me. And if I listen carefully, the messages help me to refine my dreams, desires, priorities… and inspire me to take action based on what I learn from this other place in the world. And this encourages me to align with my truth. Being aligned with my truth allows me to heal.

Notice The Differences… What You Notice Says Something About Your Values

When traveling, there are usually noticeable differences between the culture you depart from and the culture you arrive in. The differences that you notice while traveling can become a healing reflection of your values. For example, when I notice and admire the many street cafes in Berlin,… it is because they represent a type of lifestyle that I am attracted to. I love that you can wander around Berlin at any hour of the day or night and during any season of the year, and find people sitting outside enjoying their food and good company. I am always intrigued by this when in Europe, as it occurs most places there. Yet, here in America is it not such a practice.

For me, sitting outside to enjoy food, represents an honoring of the food we eat. It represents a slowing down… taking time to sit and enjoy and appreciate the food that goes into our bodies. Taking time to think about all that went into growing and preparing the food. It represents tradition, and ritual, and it is artistic, and beautiful and honoring… and all of these things are important to me.

Taking the time to sit and enjoy a meal outdoors in the fresh air either alone or with the company of others requires a slowing down of the pace. And this is what I value over the fast food pace of the American eating style. Because of this “noticing”, I will most definitely remember to create something similar in my own life at home.

Next time you travel, notice… what do the differences say about your values? What do you like/dislike about this place? Does it inspire change? It certainly does for me. And this becomes healing.

Listen To The Sounds Around You

When we travel, we often get distracted with what is in our line of vision. But sometimes, the sounds actually paint a bigger picture… or at least add depth to that which you are gazing on. Try tuning in to sounds around you and notice what that does to you… it is a healing experience.

I frequented the farmer’s markets in several neighborhoods in Berlin while I was there. It was a highlight of my trip. A huge part of the experience for me was tuning in to the energy of the sounds of those gathered there with me. Listen to my experience below… the sound of the market adds so much depth to the photos. Turn your sound on… and enjoy!

Remember That Children are Great Teachers

While traveling, I had the fortunate experience of staying in a flat that looked over a small courtyard where many birds inhabited. And, to my delight, I quickly discovered upon awakening my first morning there, that there was a school just near the flat. I had the lovely experience of hearing the beautiful voices of children playing and birds singing every morning. I got in the habit of leaving my windows open so that the birds and children would be what woke me each day. It was healing music to my ears and set the tone for the whole day. A tone of happiness and joy. A reminder of how good children are at being in the moment… they are true teachers in this regard.

I so appreciated hearing the sounds of happiness knowing that there is so much sadness in the world right now. Take a listen to what I heard… it was so impactful that I recorded it. This will serve as a reminder to me to enjoy the sounds around me wherever I am in the world (turn your sound on).

Get Out Of Your Comfort Zone

When traveling, we are often confronted with the decision to stay in our comfort zone… or to move beyond and through that which scares us a little (or a lot). When we are able to do things that scare us, the experience brings a sense of appreciation, expansion, accomplishment, and positive self worth. It becomes healing.

Although I learned some German during my years in school, I am by no means fluent. So it took a lot of bravery for me to put myself out there and speak to the people of Berlin in their language. Many of the folks there speak English, but I did challenge myself and was pleased to gain a little more confidence in my abilities this time. I hope to keep building on learning the German language, and I feel proud that I was able to practice my skills while there. I expanded a bit in this way.

My flat in Berlin was in the red building.

Make Space

Physical space, mental space, emotional space… space in time. We need to create space in our lives in order to attend to the things that are important to us. Going a slower pace while traveling brought healing space to my daily routine. And it brought a stern realization of just how busy I can get at home. Yet by experiencing space and slowness, I was able to create intention for holding the things that are meaningful to me. Living in my simple flat made my daily life easy and without much obligation. Not watching television or listening to the news every morning and evening like I do at home, allowed extra time in my day.

Creating time for meditation, and to just sit and think, or to read a book, or sit at a street café and watch the people go by, were ways I was able to take care of myself. These joyful experiences reminded me of the healing value and the importance of holding space for self care, not just when traveling. As a result, I was prompted to think about my routine at home, and how I can make space for things like daily meditation, writing, reading, yoga, cooking, time with friends and family, time in my garden… all things that are life giving to me. Of course, I will need to sort through what I can let go of in order to create this type of healing. Traveling in Berlin has inspired me to do so.

“Mach Spass”

A funny little sculptor at FEZ park in Berlin

Have fun… as the Germans say! When was the last time you had fun? I don’t intentionally create fun in my life very often. Having so much fun while traveling in Berlin, however, was the perfect reminder for me to make this a priority. Fun creates joy and laughter, and we humans need as much of this as we can get. Fun can come in many forms, and can be as simple as noticing something that makes you smile, or even a few seconds of laughter. Having fun resets perspective in the moment and can create lasting effect for yourself and others around you. Fun is contagious. It is healing. Traveling to Berlin reminded me to be intentional about having fun! Find reasons to laugh… every day! It is an amazing way to heal!

Know That Baby Steps Count

One of the top items on my bucket list is to travel alone internationally someday before I die. My children have all done this, and I so admire their bravery. Each of the three of them have lived abroad on their own at some point in their lives, and I am amazed at how they have done this. I will do the same some day. Sometimes I feel critical of myself for being afraid to just venture out on my own. But I have come to realize that I am on the path to my goal, and baby steps count. My travel journey to Berlin was a healing step in that direction.

Wear Comfortable Shoes

The trend in Berlin is a practical one… WEAR SNEAKERS WITH EVERYTHING! And they do! Sneakers with dressy and casual clothes alike. I experienced the value of this as I walked everywhere, and most of the time on cobblestone sidewalks. I admired the sense of practicality in Berlin and will continue with this for sure!

Try Something New

Me… a proud part of the Mantissa crew at SuperBooth

Try something new! It will stimulate your mind, your emotions, your body, your spirit, and your soul! Of course travel is always a way to experience something new, and new adventures create healing stimulation for our complex brains. But even more than the travel alone, I was able to experience a new and fascinating world with my son… the world of synthesizers!

I had the pleasure of attending the world known SuperBooth Exposition while in Berlin. SuperBooth is a 3 day expo that draws synthesizer producers, users, manufacturers, retailers, and fans from all over the world. It was quite an event. To see my son there as a participant made it even more delightful! I had a fascinating experience being dropped into a situation that was outside of anything else I have ever known. It allowed me to feel curious, amazed, overwhelmed (in a good way), stimulated, and observant. And of course, I felt so proud of my son for doing the work it took to get there and for the amazing reception he received while presenting his synthesizer modules (www.Mantissa.audio).

There is a lot to be said for trying new adventures while traveling, and Superbooth was one of those for sure! I enjoyed good company, amazing sounds and music performances, a wonderful energy radiating from the community of attendees, a beautiful park (FEZ Berlin), and I became a part of the “crew” on the Mantissa project . All of this allowed me to become completely absorbed in something new and to forget about everything else in the world at least for the moment. This unusual travel experience was healing, refreshing, and such fun!

Mantissa crew

Treasure the Feeling of Safety

Safety is a huge issue for me. This is because I did not always feel safe as a child. I have experienced my own bit of trauma in life that leaves scars from violation of my safety. The first time I realized how important safety is to me was in 2016 when I moved away from a safe island community of Vashon in the PNW to the city of Tacoma, WA where there is much more crime.

I always feel happy when I see strings of flags!

In Berlin I felt safe… I was able to walk in my neighborhood there by myself after midnight and feel safe. This brought a sense of noticeable relief to me throughout my days, evenings, and nights there. This experience reminded me of the value of feeling safe, and the priority I want SAFETY to have in my life. Find a safe place… create safety in your relationships, who you choose to be with, your home, your life, your neighborhood, your world.

Go To The Markets!

Market in Prenzlauer Berg, Berlin, Germany

One of my favorite things do to when I travel is to visit the markets… farmers markets, and in Berlin, the flea markets as well. Going to the markets supports local growers, crafters, artists, recyclers. The positive energy is often palpable.

When I stroll through the markets and see all of the beautiful foods, flowers, handmade items, art, antiques, and I experience the amazing energy the community creates, it raises my vibration. In this higher vibrational state, I feel alive, aligned, grateful, and in love with all that the gathering stands for. It is healing for me. And it creates a sense of fullness and appreciation for the time, talent, and heartfelt effort that each vendor has put into what they bring to the market. I feel joy walking among the marketgoers as I bask in sharing their values of what the markets represents to each of us there. Joy heals!

Buy Second Hand

Second hand stores were readily available in Berlin. Flea markets as well. It seems it is the thing to do to buy second hand. There are small second hand boutiques scattered throughout the neighborhoods everywhere, and you can find beautiful clothes and housewares for a fraction of the usual price. I bought a cute lightweight trench coat for $5 euros (about $5.00 US) at one of the flea markets. And it just reminded me that it is a good idea to recycle in this way.

Practice “Zu Verschenken”

In Berlin they practice “Zu Verschenken”… leaving items on the sidewalk outside of their homes for others to take. I noticed this frequently in Berlin. A shirt or sweater here… a pair of shoes or boots there… little free offerings that are being rid of for others to use. What a sweet practice this is. When I left Berlin, I too, participated in Zu Ferschenken… I left some books, unused toiletries, and other small items there for someone else to have. It left me with a warm feeling in my heart. We should all take the time to give, using the concept of the Germans Zu Ferschenken.

Walk A Lot Every Day

I walked everywhere while traveling in Berlin. Most days I walked between 6 and 8 miles just wandering around, exploring, and doing my few errands. Additionally, my flat was on the 4th floor of a building that has no elevator (typical there). I walked 74 steps up to my flat multiple times every day. And I was pleased to notice how much easier it had gotten by the end of the holiday! The walking and the steps definitely kept me in shape, and I felt good about that. It made me ponder the idea of how I can get more walking in at home… such a healing form of lifestyle.

Ride Public Transportation

Public transportation can be an eye opening experience if you are not a regular. In Berlin, I got to experience the thrill of finding the right tram or train station, seeing all kinds of interesting people, seeing the different neighborhoods, parks, and communities from the comfort of my train seat. The system is amazing and simple and easy to use in Berlin. And it felt good to participate in something more sustainable and less wasteful than automobile travel. Hopefully our transportation system in the US will advance similarly, and it made me excited to think about that. Riding the train was one of the highlights of my holiday. Here is a piece of my journey to share with you… (turn your sound on for this).

Go With The Flow

Don’t have an agenda while traveling… or if you do… be willing to go with changes that come your way. Stay flexible, and when plans change unexpectedly, consider this a sign… that something better is coming along. I typically enjoy travel the most when I do not have an agenda. I like to plan my days one at a time while considering how I feel physically, what my mood is, and what my intuition is telling me. Sometimes this just means wandering around and experiencing the sights and sounds of the different neighborhoods or hanging out in coffee shops. For me, this is fulfilling… simply experiencing the place I am in.

There are times, while traveling, I have a general destination or activity in mind without a specific time frame. And some days my plans change throughout the day. I find this type of flexibility is such a stress free way to travel and it leaves for less disappointment if plans change along the way.

Be Creative With Your Bike

I adore the bicycle culture in Berlin; how the bicycles look, and how people ride them. I did not see anyone riding with spandex on as is so often the case in the US. Most had their usual daily attire or work clothes on, even dresses and skirts… and few wore helmets. I was witness to all kinds of contraptions built on to the bicycles, and I am inspired to do the same at home. What a lovely experience to be able to ride my bicycle to the grocery store and travel home proudly with my purchases in my bicycle bucket like the Germans do. I saw all kinds of things in their buckets… groceries, flowers, dogs, kids… you name it. It seems it is the way to go!

I would love to have one of these!

Hang Your Clothes Out to Dry

Most folks don’t have clothes dryers in Berlin. And it was a new and pleasant experience for me to hang my clothes out to dry on my balcony. I have always loved the image of clothes air drying on a clothesline. I remember having a clothes line growing up, and my mother would hang the clothes out to dry in our back yard. It was nice to relive the simplicity of that experience. And it felt good practicing a more sustainable and environmentally friendly way of laundering. I am thinking of asking my husband to put up a clothes line in our backyard at home. At least to hang the sheets out to dry so that I can watch them blowing in the breeze… always an image I love.

Live Minimally

Just a few clothes…

The flat I rented was owned by Mikail, a minimalist. In his flat there was a bed on a simple cardboard frame, one hanging clothes rack made out of a piece of driftwood and suspended from the ceiling, one desk/table, one chair, a very small kitchen with the bare essential cookware and utensils, a small bathroom, and a balcony. It was elegantly presented in a simple artistic way, and it has inspired me to pare down what I have in my own home and live a simpler life there.

I was inspired to think about the possibilities for living more minimalistic, especially in regards to my wardrobe. I once took part in the 333 Project where you choose 33 different clothing/shoes/jewelry items ONLY to use for 3 months. It is a capsule wardrobe concept, and I have loved doing this in the past. I am inspired from my experience in Berlin to simplify my life in that way. It makes life less complicated and simplifies in many ways… less expense, less space, fewer decisions to make, more opportunity for creativity, etc. Anyone want to join me?

Stroll

I am a fast pace walker, and I always have been. This is partially because of our fast paced lifestyle in America. In Berlin, however, people stroll. And this is something I tried while there. I found it to be delightful! I noticed so much more around me and experienced my environment in a completely different and more holistic way while strolling. It is an experience I will take home with me, for sure!

Meditate

I love to meditate, and I keep it really simple… however, I don’t make much time for it when I am at home. I am not sure why that is, but I want to figure it out. The times I have put into practice regular meditation, have been life changing (and health changing).

I did meditate while traveling in Berlin. I took the time and created the space for this simple yet amazing healing practice while there, and the benefits are amazing. The peace that meditation brings is like nothing else. It is pure healing when done regularly, and the practice deepens over time. I practice Reiki as well, and made time for self Reiki which is actually a part of how I meditate. Taking the time to do this while in Berlin only reminded me of the value of meditation. I am committed to creating more time for this in my days when I return home.

Sit in the Grass… Enjoy the Moment

There was a moment in Berlin when I was wandering through Superbooth at FEZ Park and enjoying the sights and sounds there, and suddenly I had the urge to sit down in the grass. I had a cup of coffee with me, and I decided to just sit and drink my coffee and pay attention to the moment. A lovely moment. It made me realize how nice it is to stop sometimes and do nothing. It grounded me, brought me back to my body, and then my mind and emotions, and then to the energy within me and around me. Be in the moment in the grass sometime, and you will see what I mean.

Make Eye Contact

I learned in Berlin the importance of making eye contact when saying “Prost” (cheers). It is a very important part of the tradition there, and I was promptly reminded to do so every time we said cheers. I think this is a lovely tradition, and a reminder to truly connect with one another. How often do we truly look into another’s eyes… they say the eyes are the window to the soul.

Cherish Time with Loved Ones

CHERISH TIME WITH LOVED ONES, and even more than that… GET INTO THEIR WORLD. I had the amazing experience of witnessing how my grown son is living his life. Being thrust into his world, I was witness to his lifestyle, his early morning coffee time at the café with his boyfriend, his daily routine, his eating habits, his messy flat (which I adored because he has such an amazing design perspective), his peaceful, kind, sensitive and generous ways, his friends, his silly moments, his music, his creativity, his career and his new business. I watched in amazement as I listened to him explain his business concepts and designs to others.

Catalyst Music School houses the famous Funkhaus recording studio

I was so proud to see the music school, Catalyst, he will soon graduate from (it houses a famous recording studio – Funkhaus). And I was amazed at the careful and thoughtful way my son has designed his new business and his modular synthesizer products using scientific, mathematical and classical musical concepts… quite impressive and uniquely complex.

To see and hear my son in action and just to be near him brought me a level of joy and bliss and deep peace that only a mother can understand. What can be more healing than that! I was comforted to see that he is happy and living the life that he has dreamed of and created. I am amazed by his wisdom… he is truly an old soul. And I am blessed to be able to have been part of his world. It is one thing to visit a loved one, and it is another to actually be in and share their world for a moment. And this was truly the highlight of my travel holiday in Berlin.

Fred and me

Work with Me

At Valencia & Sage, I pour my heart into providing women with a unique healing experience.  Healing comes in many different forms, and I use a blend of techniques which I believe heal on all levels of the body, mind, and spirit.  Travel has become one way to heal for me, and I am happy to share my experience with you and hopefully inspire you to heal in a similar fashion.  If you would like to work with me one-on-one, please visit my website to see if my healing style feels like a good fit for you.  If so, you might consider scheduling a free telephone consultation with me to learn more about how my practice may be able to help you.  

At Valencia & Sage, I offer functional medicine and holistic healing strategies and advise to women. Find the answers you have been searching for to create VIBRANT HEALTH on every level… body, mind, and spirit. Stay tuned to the latest women’s health information by joining my email list, and you will be well on your way to healing! In the meantime, I hope you have some travel planned for the summer months! 

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