Newton & Aristotle on Travel: Why We Thrive In Movement
By: Jonathan Kalan, Co-Founder, Unsettled
“If I’m an advocate for anything, it’s to move. As far as you can, as much as you can. Across the ocean, or simply across the river. The extent to which you can walk in someone else’s shoes or at least eat their food, it’s a plus for everybody. Open your mind, get up off the couch, move.”
― Anthony Bourdain
Throughout Anthony Bourdain’s life, he embodied the virtues of travel, shaking up the status quo, and not being afraid to move, wander, experiment and explore.
In his own words, it is through travel that we learn we are all the same, and all trying to do the best that we can. Through moving outside our individual comfort zones, we extend our personal radiuses of comfort and discover that there is always more we can handle, more we can learn, and more ways that we can grow by actively challenging ourselves.
Through movement, the larger world becomes smaller, and as a result, our own world of possibility expands.
Is it any surprise, then, that Newton’s first law of motion was that “an object in motion stays in motion, and an object at rest stays at rest”? It’s simple physics, but it underlies the forces of our entire universe. So why shouldn’t our lives follow the same principle? In fact, they do.
We are not meant to feel static, stagnant, or at rest. Our bodies are made up of billions of moving parts – we are made from movement – and in the grand scope of history, it’s only been 10,000 years since humans evolved from nomadic hunter-gatherers into more sedentary agriculturalists.
To be in motion means to be open to change. Motion is evolution, growth, progress, and a kindle for a fire yet to be born. Without motion, nothing will ever change.
At Unsettled, we believe that travel inspires, creates, and accelerates positive forward motion in our lives. We’ve seen it happen day after day, month after month on our retreats. Each step forward into the unknown gives us a myriad of choices within each moment to stretch ourselves and actively practice what brings meaning — human connection, self-actualization, and new knowledge — into our lives.
A life of movement is one of lifelong learning.
Philosophers have studied the theory of motion and change for millennia. In Ancient Greece, Aristotle defined motion in nature as “the actuality of potentiality”. If we take this theory beyond the natural elements and apply Aristotle’s theory to humanity: to move is to find out what one can be or what one has the capacity to become.
When we move, we are acting upon our continuous state of becoming. We are living evolutionarily. We already have the capacity to be more than we are, and it is through motion that dormant aspects of ourselves come to light.
During the Middle Ages, St. Thomas Aquinas expanded on Aristotle’s theory of motion. For St. Thomas Aquinas, “to say something is in motion is just to say that it is both what it is already and something else that it isn’t yet.”
So, how do you discover what exactly it is that you aren’t yet, but have the innate potential to be? Perhaps the answer is to move. As Anthony Bourdain says, “across the ocean, or simply across the river.”
When you travel with Unsettled, we bring along our own philosophy of how moving changes you. Our retreats create the time and space for both structured and unstructured movement, for it is often in those times of “unstructure” where the “actuality of potentiality” is activated. Potential and possibility in those open spaces where we are willing to receive, is often where we surprise ourselves the most. The Unsettled philosophy of co-creating shared experiences allows for deep, meaningful movement on multiple levels.