I just got home from the trip of a lifetime. I traveled to Europe for the first time with one of my closest friends/roommate. I've always wanted to travel internationally, but it wasn't until this year that I felt compelled to explore the world (and myself).
While I was only gone for two weeks, I feel as though I learned more things about myself and life than I have in the last year. It's funny how much we can grow both personally and spiritually when were taken out of comfort zones. It's not as if the realizations I had were completely groundbreaking... since I had heard versions of these ideas from others before, but they took on a whole new meaning when I stumbled upon them myself.
I've always felt it was my purpose to share my experiences and ideas to hopefully inspire transformation and shifts in others, so I figured I'd let you in on what I picked up on during my travels. I don't think you need to travel internationally to learn and appreciate these, but it wouldn't hurt ;)!
Healing isn't all about mindfulness/spiritual practice.
This was probably the most monumental realizations I had while traveling. I was on my flight from Ibiza to Rome, journaling about my experience thus far when it hit me...I hadn't thought about food or my body in three days. I also hadn't meditated or journaled. All I did was meet people, dance, and have fun....and I was happier than I had been in years. I mean who wouldn't be happy after being in Ibiza, right? But, it was actually more than happiness. It was a powerful, vivacious, and positive vibration.
When you've been in the personal development space, it's easy to cling to your spiritual practices as a way to keep you connected to yourself and more or less "happy." And while I'm 110% convinced of the effectiveness of meditating and journaling, I did come to wonder how much time I wasted being hyper-vigilant about these tools when I could have just been out living and having fun.
Was mindfulness and spirituality the biggest healers of my eating disorder and depression? Or was it me shifting my focus to simply having more fun. Maybe we don't need to master meditation. Maybe we don't need to have a spiritual awakening. Maybe when we fill our lives up with so much fun, adventure, and love... our issues naturally fade away because we simply don't have space for them anymore.
You attract the people/experiences with the same energy as you.
This idea definitely wasn't new to me. I've been a believer in the Law of Attraction for quite some time, but I really saw this come to fruition in my travels. Within the first couple of days abroad, I started to fall in love with Europeans. They were so friendly, cultured, dynamic, and adventurous. I had some of the best times and conversations of my life with them and I started to doubt Americans as a whole.
But, then it hit me. Maybe it had nothing to do with them being European. Maybe I was just attracting fun and vivacious people because I was being so fun and vivacious. Before I left for Europe, I promised myself to completely let loose and open myself up to all people and experiences; and I attracted incredible people/experiences in return.
Maybe I could find the same type of energy in New York if I made the commitment to exude that energy myself every single day. I truthfully thought I was living that way before I went to Europe, but there's something about traveling to foreign places that allows you really put your guard down in a way I never experienced.
We don't need to travel elsewhere to meet new and exciting people. We can do that right here. Right now. We just need to focus on our own vibrational energy and everything else will naturally gravitate towards us.
We should be maximizing our days...every day.
How many times have you heard the expression "Live everyday like it's your last"? While the phrase looks great on a fridge magnet, how many of us are really living up to it? I'd like to think I do... but it wasn't until I really had to maximize my days traveling that I really understood that concept.
When we were in Rome, for example, we only had two days to spend in the city. So naturally we wanted to soak everything in. See every statue. Walk through every street. Try every delicious food. Talk to every local. We had an insatiable appetite for the culture and life, in general. I couldn't help but think.... what if I actually lived this way every. single. day?
Instead of heading home after work, what if I stopped by a bar I've never been to and had a conversation with a stranger? What if I went out to eat at new restaurants instead of my favorite spots? What if I shifted my focus to maximizing the most out of every single day? And not in the sense of "getting it all done," but it the sense of maximizing every experience I have in a day.
We need to get uncomfortable in order to grow.
For two weeks, I didn't drink any regular coffee. I didn't go to a gym. I didn't eat an adequate amount of vegetables. I didn't drink enough water. I didn't get enough sleep. I got lost more times than I could count. And while it was uncomfortable at times....it was liberating.
Were all creatures of habit so when status quo changes, we naturally start to panic a little bit. By the fifth day or so, I started to have some anxiety about not meditating, exercising, and doing other "good-for-me" habits I usually do at home. But instead of panicking, I decided to really dissect the situation.
The reason I was getting anxiety was because I was identifying with my habits.
"I don't just eat healthy, I am healthy"
"I don't just meditate, I am a meditator."
See the difference? I was placing my identity/worth in my habits/actions. We all tend to identify ourselves with our actions, our jobs, our roles in relationships, etc. And while they are certainly a part of who we are, they don't define our identity. And when we get attached to these things, we feel pain when they are gone. The only way to truly live in congruence with our souls is to release these attachments.
And it might make us uncomfortable. But, it helps us grow. It helps us manifest confidence in our souls, our authentic selves vs. the mirage of a person we want the rest of the world to see us as.
Fail to plan, plan to LIVE.
This was the first trip I went on without a real plan. Sure, we had our flights and accommodations booked, but we didn't have any itineraries or hard plans set because I was determined to experience intuitive travel (I'm trademarking that term). Choosing a restaurant based on a feeling vs. checking the yelp reviews. Deciding which club to go to last minute. Randomly hopping on a tour bus if we felt like it. Sleeping in as late as we wanted. Doing whatever felt right in each and every moment.
Deciding not to have a plan forced us to stay present, which is often the hardest thing to do. But, it's where the magic happens. The present moment is where our souls live. The present moment is where we can thrive. The present moment is all we have.
Like I mentioned, everything I "learned" from traveling wasn't really learning at all. I've read it in books, heard people talked about it, and even experienced it to some degree myself. So I guess it was really just remembering.
I don't think I'll ever get to a place where I don't need to be reminded of these lessons. And I'm grateful for that. Rediscovering the meaning of life throughout our lives is what keeps our souls alive. It keeps us on our toes. It keeps us excited. It keeps us alive.