“Travel isn’t always pretty. It isn’t always comfortable.
Sometimes it hurts, it even breaks your heart. But that’s okay.
The journey changes you; it should change you.
It leaves marks on your memory, on your consciousness, on your heart, and on your body
You take something with you. Hopefully, you leave something good behind.”
— Anthony Bourdain
Starting Monday July 29, 2019
A four-week online course
Travel, it is well known, is transformative in a variety of ways. However, for significant, meaningful transformation, travel Bourdain refers to in his quote above, the traveler must have an open heart. That is, a heart receptive to tolerance, empathy, appreciation and, ultimately, compassion for others and the cultures in which they live. Without this, travel is mere sight seeing...a missed opportunity to embrace our complicated, challenging world and to learn to love one another.
Compassion is defined as "a feeling of deep sympathy and sorrow for another who is stricken by misfortune, accompanied by a strong desire to alleviate the suffering."
(Random House, Inc. 2019)
First, an important note, when we talk about travel for this course, it is not limited to international travel. Rather, it includes any time you go from your environment or neighborhood where you are the most comfortable, to a different environment or neighborhood. Could be just down the street, across town, or in another region. This different location is some place where you will likely be out of your comfort zone.
Topics we will cover:
- the difference between empathy, sympathy and compassion;
- empathy and compassion;
- the first level of transformation as a result of travel, digging deeper;
- traveling with intention, openness and mindfulness, to reach a higher level of understanding, transformation, and acting compassionately;
- engaging in cultural experiences that will help us learn and engage in cultures that are different from our own;
- practicing steps of get out of our comfort zones;
- sharing travel stories that illustrate compassion;
- appreciating the notion that different is not wrong; and
- exploring selective compassion and unconditional compassion.
Finally, you will have an opportunity to reflect on what you have learned, how your views may have changed throughout the course. I'll ask you, "Now what?"
Beyond my presenting these ideas and concepts to you, I will ask you to respond to photos, videos, podcasts, quotes, poems, stories and articles that are thought provoking. I will include the perspectives of philosophical, educational, and spiritual leaders, including ordinary people whose lives turned extraordinary because of their willingness to look deeper into how we often choose behaviors that are less than compassionate. These ordinary, turned extraordinary people, were compelled to make a difference in their own lives and in our world. They call on us to join them and enhance the lives of others by acting compassionately.
These prompts are designed to challenge you to dig deeper into your thoughts and views, to open your mind and heart to greater awareness and understanding of compassion and write about it.
Methods for teaching include:
- Readings, videos, and podcasts
- Guided Meditation: To relax, calm for depth of feelings and thinking
- Offline Discussions
- Reflective Writing
I’ll encourage you to engage in the optional Off-Line Discussions with your fellow students. We learn from one another when we engage in discussions and discussions create a sense of community which is so important for learning in online courses. Discussions can take place through emails or phone conversations. You are asked to choose someone in your group to volunteer to post the highlights of those discussions in the "comments” section online, if you wish.
I will ask you to respond to the Reflective Writing prompts. The act of writing helps us understand what we know. I am not looking for polished theses, just simple, straight-forward communication. You may share your writings with the class. However, this request for sharing is not a requirement. You have the option of engaging to the degree to which you are comfortable.
This course will take us through processes that bring awareness and an understanding that people and cultures from all over the world, often are very much the same. They want to be happy, healthy and safe, just like us. All people want to take good care of their children, so they also can lead happy, productive lives, now, and in the future.
Text (optional) a book I wrote entitled "The Essential Guide to a Life of Travel: the ABC's of International Travel." The book includes a series of vignettes, my actual experiences that helped me embrace more compassion, as well as actual experiences where complete strangers were overwhelmingly compassionate to me. It’s sold on Amazon. E-book: $3.99 or Paperback: $7.90.
WEEK ONE: WELCOME!
- Navigating the CEI-Ruzuku Education Platform
- Class General Guidelines and Teaching and Learning Techniques
Empathy vs. Sympathy
- Podcast: Auschwitz, My Compassion Story
- Compassion and Changing Lives
- Compassion Fatigue: Ted Talk
- Podcast: Giving and Receiving Compassion: A Guided Meditation
- We are hard wired to be compassionate.
- How is travel transformative? An Introduction into Lesson Two
WEEK TWO: TRANSFORMATIONAL ASPECTS OF TRAVEL: PART ONE
- Cultural Perspective and Cultural Intelligence
- Engaging in cultural experiences: Dance!
- Traveling with Intention, Openness, and Mindfulness
- Meditation: Setting Intentions
- Stories of Compassion
- Guided Meditation: Receiving and Sending Compassion
- Your Stories of Compassion
- An Introduction into Lesson Three: Transformational Aspects of Travel: Part Two
WEEK THREE: TRANSFORMATIONAL ASPECTS OF TRAVEL: PART TWO
- Mary T. Lathrap's "Walk a Mile in His Moccasins."
- Appreciating the Notion that Different is not Wrong.
- "I, nor anyone else, have the authority to decide who is worthy of our compassion." Unconditional Compassion: A Story of a Family in Toledo
- Steve Harvey's "Motivated" and stepping out.
- Getting Out of Your Comfort Zone
- Putting It All Together: An Introduction to Lesson Four
WEEK FOUR: PUTTING IT ALL TOGETHER
- Next Steps
- Course Evaluation
ABOUT THE INSTRUCTOR
DIANN SCHINDLER, PHD
I’m a retired college president, author, senior solo nomad, and a guitarist and singer, of sorts. I sold all I own and began my international journey 45 countries and 5 continents ago, with a backpack, medium size suitcase and my Baby Taylor guitar. It continues to be an enlightening adventure. I have so many stories of compassion as I meet people from all over the world...people who have invited me into their homes, cooked for me, and shown me incredible, selfless compassion. In turn, I have grown and still have so much to learn! I’m dedicated to encouraging others to travel and to travel embracing mindfulness with intention…experiencing other cultures, seeing incredible sights and meeting everyday people everywhere who have impressive lives! My personal transformation is ongoing and my heart brims at overwhelming kindness, empathy, and compassion from all I meet. I’m honored and eager to teach this course and have worked to make it both informative and fun!