Jennifer is an author, speaker, interviewer and visionary with a wildly varied background, from IT and hi-tech software design to running her own Home Staging company in New Zealand for seven years. Jennifer has six fiction books currently published. The theme running through these roller-coaster stories is of people finding and following their dreams. She also has two personal development titles published and supports other people to write books to illustrate their expertise.
Why do you travel?
As a teenager and in my twenties and thirties, travel was about new experience, about a gap in normal life, an opportunity to reflect and plan and check my alignment with my life path. Now, travel is seamlessly integrated into life. I don’t take breaks out of the everyday, the everyday is an Odyssey. Destinations which would have previously been for holidays are now places I live: a converted stable in France, a cottage in the ancient forest of the Blenheim Palace estate – these are my previous and current homes. Occupations which would have been a break from “real life” – writing and conversation, meditation and deep spiritual work – now flow through my days. Most of the time this happens without conscious thought; sometimes I tune in and ask what my “work” is today. When I have a book to write, it pours out of me with very little conscious effort.
What does travel do for your soul?
Travel, life, all that I do, lead my soul in the direction of its yearning – towards growth and greater connection; into love and expression; living the destiny I have felt pulling me since the moment of my birth.
What was the most significant journey you have taken and why?
Two journeys that come to mind are the train rides I took across Australia, one with each of my children, when each was twelve years old. With my son it was the Indian Pacific Railway from Perth to Sydney, three days of intense, easy connection; with my daughter, The Ghan Railway, from Adelaide to Darwin, stopping off at Alice Springs and Uluru along the way. To have so much empty time, one-to-one with someone very special, with a sense of endless time for conversation, easy space of silence, a rich shared experience; that memory sings to me through time. To follow my own thoughts as I stared out at the desert, aware of another presence, life and thought unfolding, was something that deeply fed my soul.
Megaliths near Saint Just, Brittany
Where is your most inspirational place on earth?
I am pulled through life, and find myself in beautiful places, without much conscious thought. Having grown up in New Zealand those majestic landscapes are deep within me; chateaux hotels and French farmhouse gites; walking on beaches, alone or with friends or a lover; the city streets of Paris and New York; the provincial towns of New England, with their wood-clad houses and open front lawns; a shrine or a megalithic site in rural Brittany; Oxford and Cambridge colleges and chapels; standing in front of an inspired work of art in a gallery or museum; at one of my regular cafés – each of these is perfect in its moment. Trafalgar Square also draws me with vivid memories and a sense of times there long forgotten, before this awareness dawned in me.
Exeter College chapel
Why? What do you experience there?
As I look around at beauty outside myself, I am fed, my soul opens and breathes more deeply. I ask Life to speak to me and my attention is drawn to the architecture of the Palace as I drive close by it on my way home, “This is me,” Life says, “Look, this is me telling you you are on track, all is well.”
Which sacred place would you most like to visit and why?
One place I have felt to be important to me, and which I have not yet visited, is Santa Fe.
How do you choose your travel experiences and destinations?
All of life is Flow. My body moves before my mind knows what I am going to do. My destination is where I am; my experience is what is happening in this moment. If I have a sense of something in the future, sometimes that comes to me as a lived vision, an experience I am inside at that moment. When this happens, and I come back to myself in the present, my sense is that I will experience that moment again, at some time in the future. In all cases but one, so far, this has happened.
What was your last trip and what was special about it?
In the process of resolving my 27 year marriage I found myself without a home for four months. I left my home here in the forest at Blenheim and wandered between kind friends until I was brought back here again. That wandering brought me face to face with deep universal fear, and then brought me through that to faith and peace again, with a sense that that fear was released for eternity.
Do you believe travel can support rapid spiritual transformation?
Travel serves to lift us out of our assumptions, essential for spiritual transformation. The unexpected happens and we are given the opportunity to respond in fresh ways. For me, spiritual transformation is a journey in itself. What happens on the outside sometimes reflects that, and sometimes reminds us that we are always home. Travel and spiritual transformation are about courage – to face the unknown, to grow, to live our path and our truth. One of my touchstones through this is the inspiration of Winston Churchill, “Courage is the first of all human qualities because it guarantees all others.”
The best book you’ve read whilst travelling?
When I was travelling across Australia with my daughter I read “The Salmon of Doubt” – a collection of works of Douglas Adams which were unpublished at the time of his death. The introduction by his good friend, Stephen Fry, spills over with love and loss. A profound evening was spent in our hotel room near Uluru, exploring the deep and quirky world of Adams. The location and the content merged to sink dramatically into my soul.
Jennifer Manson is the author of six transformational novels and two personal development titles. The most recent is “Truth”, about speaking and living our own individual truth. You can buy all her books on Amazon, and this one in particular here:
Truth by Jennifer Manson
Find out more about Jennifer and her work on her website www.TheFlowWriter.com