I feel like time is flying. I remember sitting down and writing up my first post this year, a year of being, and talking about not planning and setting goals and just being in the moment every moment of this year. Now somehow it’s already September and there’s only four months left in this incredible year that has changed my life in various ways. From the organizational skills I’ve honed to the lifestyle habits I’ve developed and the summer of travel I took, this year was full of constant surprises. I’m more excited then ever to see what else this world has in store and to uncover more opportunities as I go.
Today, though, I’m not talking about the year and it’s adventures but rather 5 life lessons this summer taught me. Now travel has a way of leaving one speechless and turning them into a storyteller afterwards and I’m no different. Each country was beautiful and an experience I’ll cherish. However, they all shared key similarities that made me more aware of the world around me.
The Ordinary can be Extraordinary: One of the greatest things I’ve come to learn is that it isn’t about going rock-climbing or out to the latest lounge every weekend but rather the little things that make the experience. Yes, adventurous experiences can come from skydiving and cliff jumping but those are quick burst of excitement. You’re just as adventurous when you decide to try a new meal or restaurant or when you attempt to speak a new language. Looking back, although I cherish the adventurous side of my trip, it’s those moments when we got lost and had to find our way in Italy that I cherish and the laughter of realizing that we were caught in the rain in Paris yet again that I hold dear. The ordinary is just as extraordinary.
- To be Open-minded: Before we left, Nicole (My travel
buddy and author of The Voyageur) and I planned our trip out to a T. We made sure to book everything in advance, to get all our tickets in order and where and when we would be in each place. Yet, if there’s one thing travel teaches you it’s to be flexible and open-minded. Certain things don’t work out, certain plans change and that’s okay. It’s impossible to predict tomorrow so how can you expect to predict three months in advance this was one of the biggest lessons I learned from this trip. To let go and allow things to happen the way they were meant regardless of the plan.
- Get lost and explore: It’s not about the destination; it’s about the journey. This statement gets used time and time again to describe life in general but it applies to travel perfectly. The destination will be there no matter how long it takes you to get there so take your time. Explore the hidden lanes and side streets. Experience the metro but walk around as much as you can because that is how you get a feel for a neighborhood. A tourist sees everything, aim to be a traveling and experience and explore everything instead. It’s ten times more rewarding.
- Appreciate diversity: Every country has it’s own culture and customs. Be aware of them and realize that they might differ from your norms and traditions. That’s what makes this world so beautiful and exciting. Travel teaches you that at the end of the day we all want the same things and we go through the same trials and emotions. Diversity is a wonderful thing and it can open you up to a billion more possibilities, be open to it.
Don’t let your fear hold you back: Fear is normal. It’s a human emotion that we all experience at one point in our lives or another. Yet, at the end of the day that is all it is—an emotion. Don’t let that stop you from experiencing different adventures. I’m terrified of heights and by that I mean I start slightly shaking, I get anxious and broader line panic the entire way up but I didn’t allow that to stop me from doing something I knew in the end I would love. When I was in Capri, I was given the chance to take a single chair ski lift to the highest point of the island. Instantly, I was both terrified and determined because I knew I would regret it if I didn’t take the opportunity. So I did it and I rose above the trees and literally reached the point where the clouds where below me and I couldn’t help but be proud when it was all said and done. It was such a once in a lifetime experience and I’m ecstatic to know I didn’t allow my fear to stop me from living every moment to it’s fullest potential.