By Amber C. Snider
We know the importance of regularly cleansing our homes and auras, but what about when we’re on a road trip or traveling abroad?
As a journalist covering arts, culture, and spirituality, travel is an essential part of my work; But all those new places, faces, and sensory experiences can leave me feeling energetically drained and depleted at the end of the day. It’s a different kind of “tired” that has nothing to do with jet lag — and high empaths, witches, and intuitive folks all understand this.
Traveling opens us up to new worlds, cultures, ideas, and expressions, but it’s okay to “shut off” that openness when it’s time for rest or just whenever you need it. In my experience, being grounded is absolutely necessary in maintaining an openness to new experiences, as well as connecting with my spirit guides and tapping into my higher power.
Whether you’re staying in a 1 star hotel, a luxury suite, or backpacking in a foreign land, each new place contains its own unique energy and power. Spaces and places (as well as our auras) hold on to energy, and sometimes it can be pretty heavy stuff. We can, inadvertently, end up “carrying” that energy from place to place, too. Here are a few travel tips that keep me sane and grounded while on-the-go.
Take a piece of Mother Earth with you on the plane
I love to take stones and crystals with me on the plane to help me feel connected to the Earth. Sure, airport security may give me weird looks when they open up a bag of rocks, but honestly that’s the least of my cares. I love clear quartz, rose quartz, obsidian, onyx, amber, and any blue-green stone (malachite, aventurine, lapis, etc) while traveling. Obsidian absorbs negative energy, rose quartz helps invoke calmness and compassion, amber is healing and grounding, and blue stones help activate the throat chakra (which is particularly great when you’re speaking in a second language!).
I recommend cleansing your crystals and stones overnight in sea salt before traveling and charging them with a specific intention before your trip (safety, love, peace, protection, joy, communication, etc).
Trees and branches, too…
I also love to take small branches of natural plants with me and tuck them into my pockets. It could be a simple leaf, twig, or tree bark, but keeping a tiny part of a tree with me has always brought a lot of comfort. I especially love carrying a sprig of rosemary around in my pocket or purse — it smells wonderfully delicious without being overpowering to others.
Walk softly and carry a big (incense) stick
It’s not always reasonable for me to carry all my herbs, charcoals, cauldrons, and wood-based incenses while traveling, but incense sticks or palo santo always does the trick. Not only can you do quick smudging sessions in the hotel or Airbnb, incense can also help personalize the new space for you, bringing along a sense of comfort. I burn a lot of copal and amber incenses at home (as well as palo santo) and its easy to bring along a few sticks or buy new ones on the road. Plus, not every hotel or Airbnb has 5 stars in the scent department (whether it’s stale air or overly perfumed chemical-y scents), so incense also helps with practical matters.
Invest in the local culture with an open heart
Investing doesn’t always have to translate to dollar signs. You can invest your time and energy into meaningful exchanges with local communities, taking the time to learn from them, sampling their traditional foods, visiting their landmarks and museums, buying from small businesses, and respecting local customs. Cultural appreciation is different than cultural appropriation, of course. The best part of traveling is getting to know the locals and learning new things. By taking care of your own spirit and energy, you’re also leaving room for expansion, as well as compassion for and acceptance of others.
Smoke cleanse > Juice Cleanse
Just kidding, do a juice cleanse if you want. Or at least try all the fresh fruits you can during your travels! But we’re talking about Spirit here, so I’ll stick to that. Have you ever walked into a new place and felt a kind of heaviness? Sometimes it feels like walking through water, sometimes a tightening in the throat, sometimes a gut feeling. However it physically manifests for you, know that a spiritual cleansing may help lighten the energy — and sometimes almost instantaneously. Here’s what I do:
––First, open any and all windows. While walking through the house/apartment/hotel room with your incense, speak the following words aloud, using your most confident/assertive voice: “I command any and all negative entities to leave this space. I am a child of God/Goddess (insert the language or practice that works for you here) and I command any spirits or energy that does not serve my highest good to leave this space.” Sweep any negative energy towards and out the window.
—Then say something like, “I call upon (Insert the language that works for you here, I.e. God/Goddess/My Ancestors/My Spirit Guides/The Universe) to assist me in filling this space with Light and Love. May this be a sacred space free from any negative energy.”
—Visualize a ball of white light 3-6 feet from the top of your head. Try to “see” the ball’s light extend outwards, filling the room and every corner and crevice with light.
—Finalize the cleansing with something like “And so mote it be,” “Amen,” “And it shall be.” I always like to say “thank you” afterwards to the kind spirits who’ve assisted me in the ritual.
––Seal in the goodness you’ve manifested.
With a touch of sea salt….
I love working with sea salt because it’s so universal and abundant. You’re bound to find some variation of sea salt during your travels and it may already be stashed in the cupboard of your Airbnb. After a smoke cleanse, sprinkle some sea salt near the doors and corners (continually visualize pure bright light while you do this) and say “Only goodness can cross these lines. Nothing that wishes me harm can enter here. So mote it be.”
I always like to throw some salt over my left shoulder when I’m done to “keep the devil at bay and away” — yes, it’s an old wives tale, but I still do it, even when cooking.
Get your feet dirty (e.g clean)
As in, when you get a moment to yourself, take off your shoes and ground yourself in the Earth. All that sensory experience from traveling, as well as encountering so many new people, can throw us off our own center, so I like to turn my gaze and body back to the Mother for rejuvenation. The simple act of putting my feet in the dirt, on the ground, in the sand, on a bed of leaves, and releasing any negative or pent up energy can work wonders for my spirit and aura. The thing is, Mother Earth is so abundant and accepting that she can take it all in — and still give back so much strength.
I like to silently and respectfully ask, “Mother Earth, Gaia, please take (insert request) and help rejuvenate my spirit.” Stand for several minutes in this meditation and place your hands on the earth’s surface to say thank you afterwards.
Bring your totems and tiny statues along for the ride
During the recent holidays, the owner of Enchantments, Stacy Rapp, gifted me the perfect statue for my travels. It's a small, 4-inch intricately painted statue of Mother Earth (Gaia) that fits in my carry-on bag and "lives" on my nightstand (wherever I may be). It makes me feel protected when solo traveling and since it was a gift, it's a good reminder of my "home" and community in NYC.
About: Amber C. Snider is an NYC-based journalist, editor and designer for Enchantments, and educator specializing in art & culture, spirituality, and travel with words in The New York Times, Architectural Digest, Lonely Planet, Fodor's, Teen Vogue, Atlas Obscura, Unearth Women, Saveur, Domino, Culture Trip and more. You can read more of her work at www.ambercsnider.com