The Inward Journey to Freedom in the US

Nov 1, 2016

By Danielle

The Inward Journey to Freedom in the US

By age fourteen I had been to twenty seven countries and four continents. How much more free could I be? Back then, life was much simpler. At twenty six years old, I’ve independently added four more countries. I had the freedom to go wherever I want, whenever I want, but there was something significantly different between traveling with my parents and traveling alone as an adult. Until a few years ago, I realized I was emotionally caged; trapped in heartaches, insecurities and self-loathing. Let me tell you a story of a traveler who never truly traveled until she started exploring an inward journey into herself.

I awoke, I gently began to open my eyes knowing there was no rush for anything. I graduated college, I had no job and no direction, but worst of all, I had no passion. I felt nothing and everything all at the same time. It was winter in Massachusetts and everything was dead, which is exactly how I felt. Every day it was cold and gray outside and my ribcage would tremble, trying to salvage the very last colors inside of me. Days were long and nights were longer.

Every phone call I’d bite my cheeks and pray that desperation could not be heard. I didn’t know how to ask for help, as I choked on words I could not speak. Everyone’s advice was so cliché and bland, “talk to someone, exercise, eat well, go out and meet people.” As if the simple act of getting out of bed was easy for me. When I would gather enough strength to walk to the bathroom, I’d brush my teeth with a soft gaze, avoiding all eye contact with a ghost.

She wasn’t scary but she sure wasn’t pretty. She was pale with swollen eye lids, peeled lips and bleeding finger tips. She was trapped in her own world, bruising her hands against her concrete walls, wishing somebody would save her. I used to think she was quite pathetic, but when I chose to fall in love with her, was the moment I chose to fall in love with myself.

I was tired and I was through with devaluing myself. I frantically opened my laptop and typed the first words that came to mind, “Kripalu”, the School of Yoga and Health. I had taken all of one class but that didn’t stop me. Yoga was expanding and teachers were in demand. Kripalu was only a few hours north so I signed up. A month later I was standing on the grounds where I took my first few breaths of fresh air.

I knew absolutely nothing of what yoga truly is. They stripped my judgments of bendy, skinny females wearing Lululemon. My god, yoga saved my life. Every day I cried. At first it was out of pain; reliving every moment someone took something from me, every moment I failed, disappointed, hurt and lied. They taught me to be strong in my vulnerability and supplied me with affirmations that helped heal me.

The skin I used to inflict pain upon through cigarettes and razors is the skin I now touch as if it were a lover who just told me they loved me too. I massaged my feet with gratitude for walking so steady on shaky grounds and I kissed my palms with forgiveness because sometimes I did not hold hearts with care. I looked all around and saw the greener side of the grass. I was liberated from my own perception of hell.   My inward journey was nearly complete.

Finally, a miracle; tears of happiness slid down my cheeks as I danced and held others and allowed myself to be held. I was reborn in the hands of loving, empathetic human beings that have felt how exhausted shoulders can get and how heavy hearts can be. My teachers taught me more than warrior pose, tree pose and eagle pose. They taught me how to be a warrior and enter my inner power. They taught me how to be a tree; to grow with sturdiness. They taught me how to be an eagle and fly in freedom.

I’ve felt the pain of my ancestors as I walked their graves touring the German holocaust camps. I’ve felt the love and nurture of those who’ve harvested life as I danced along the Balinese rice patties. I have hugged the Australian wild life and did the HAKA with one of New Zealand’s tribes. I have cried with Peru’s poor and laughed with their children. There’s a lot I’ve seen and a lot I haven’t, a lot I know and a lot I don’t. I’ve learned the final destination of freedom was never my plane ticket. The final destination of freedom was the only place I did not think to go and that was through an inward journey.

Thank you for reading and commenting. Please enter the Independence 2016 Travel Writing Award and tell your story.

About the Author


I am a 26 year old yoga instructor based out of south Florida traveling out of the country at least once a year. I like to express myself through body movement and poetry. This is my first writing contest and am so grateful for finding this sight because I had writer's block and this topic inspired me so much!

We Said Go Travel

We Said Go Travel