Liam Heneghan is a professor of environmental science at DePaul University in Chicago. Each summer, he takes students to his native Ireland; and during these trips he notices a phenomenon for which there is no name. So he gave it a name: allokataplixis (allo-kata-plixis). This neologism comes from the Greek “allo” for other, and “katapliktiko” for wonder or fascination.
Heneghan says the term captures the idea of noticing the marvellous amid the mundane or finding remarkable beauty in the commonplace. We all do this while traveling. Maybe it’s pausing to enjoy the sound of water bubbling in a city-centre fountain. Or perhaps it’s appreciating the sight of a sunset reflecting on a broad river.
These moments are examples of being fully present in a given moment, and little gifts of serendipity. Each of us at True Hope Travel adores seeing these tiny experiences captivate the people immersed in our pilgrim journeys. From our perspective, they are a recognition of the divine—in that God is all around us, and that He reveals himself to us wherever we allow our eyes to see and our ears to hear. When we speak of travel as being transformative, we are speaking of this heightened awareness of God in our lives—not just on a trip, but in the midst of our lives after a trip. For the truth is our journeys are perpetual.
(To read more of Liam Heneghan’s thoughts about allokataplixis, visit Aeon magazine: https://aeon.co/ideas/we-have-a-new-word-for-that-feeling-when-travel-makes-everything-new)
Gary Werner is a journalist, media project manager, and cross-cultural consultant focused on wine, food, and travel for national and international book, magazine, and website publishers. His range of professional experience includes work for the DK Eyewitness Travel guide series, pre-placement training sessions for transnational corporate relocations, and guidance on global brand localization. The scope of this enlightening work has taken him to 16 countries, including a full decade in the United Kingdom.