To travel is a way to wake up a little. A bored European, for example, can find it extremely exciting to have a cup of coffee at Dunkin Donuts in some jerk town in America. To the Americans it is just a coffee place where they rush in to have a quick coffee. To them the weather is terrible. It is rain and snow slush outside, they are in a hurry and they have their eyes closed to everything around them. The foreigner is wide-awake. He finds everything extremely cool. The smells, the cars outside, the way people walk and talk, how they are dressed, the way they wear their baseball caps, their shoes, the stressed out woman behind the counter. Everybody looks so interesting. He expects Al Pacino or Jack Nicholson to pop in any second or at least some kind of detective. The Americans do not recognize anything. They just want their coffee. They are hypnotized to an everyday trance by their work, eat, shit and sleep kind of lifestyle. They probably need to go to Paris or Rome to wake up a little, to open their eyes to what things look like, to feel the atmospheres and smells.
This heightened awareness or alertness in unfamiliar surroundings is due to hormones, if I have it right, adrenalin and cortisol among others. All animals are more alert and apprehensive in unfamiliar surroundings. However, some people can wake up to this heightened awareness without going anywhere and some people don’t seem to experience any excitement at all even if they go to the most fantastic places, the Himalayas, Macu Pichu or Serengeti. Why is that? Some people have to use heavy drugs or weird sex or mountain climbing to create some action in their brain cells, others do not seem to need almost anything to get their juices flowing. They are like children. Small children can be extremely enthusiastic just because they have found a pool of mud in the back yard. What do they see that we don't?
What does it feel like to be spiritually awakened or enlightened? Are awakened people never out of sorts? Are they never tired or ill or sad or angry? Are people awake just because they are happy, because they are in love? Is sadness and worry always a sign of spiritual slumber?