My two weeks away certainly went by fast. Did you miss me around here? I had a wonderful adventure in Europe for the last 12 days, but like all good things, they came to an end. While away, I was able to completely disconnect from my phone, emails, and life back home. It’s amazing how much more you take in when your phone is on Airplane Mode and you are far away from a functioning WiFi signal. It was just what I needed to reframe my mindset and come back truly rejuvenated.
Each day, I explored little towns with rich histories, ate amazing food at every meal (and discovered a few new-to-me desserts that were worth the calories), and walked a total of more than 50 miles over the span of my trip (so, I’d say I earned all the desserts I ate). Most importantly, I took time for myself and enjoyed solo hikes in the morning and spent evenings curled up with a good book. I had forgotten somewhere along the lines of my busy life back in the States how to find solace in those quiet moments.
On one particular morning, I decided to take a hike just to be alone with my thoughts. It was overcast out and looked like it could rain at any moment, but with my phone tucked away, all I noticed were the sounds of the birds overhead, a nearby cyclist on the gravel trails behind me, and the noise of construction in the town below. I sat there in near silence for a couple of hours and just watched as the world worked and played. I wasn’t tempted to reach for my phone to take photos or share the moment on Instagram. I was just content—being.
Travel has a way of making you feel grateful for the life you have—even if it isn’t perfect. Being in a foreign country can instantly put things in perspective for you and help you realize what is important. Somewhere along the line, I had forgotten to be grateful. I had lost sight of all of the wonderful things in my life and opportunities that have presented themselves to me, and instead I was consumed by all that wasn’t happening fast enough for my self-imposed timeline.
It’s easy to lose sight of gratitude—especially in the world of social media and the comparison game. But this trip really showed me that I have so much to be thankful for and that the things that I’m not happy with are to an extent out of my control. Have you ever heard people say that if you want something you shouldn’t dwell on it and just throw it up to the Universe? The theory being that when the time is right, it will happen. Over the course of the last few months, I’ve allowed the dreaded “what-ifs” to creep inside my head instead of just taking it one day at a time. As a result, I became stressed and anxious, stopped working out, wasn’t able to eat, and was barely getting by on little sleep. The mental and physical stress that I had imposed on myself was surely taking its toll. So, I was even more determined than ever to really unwind on this trip and to help myself regain the “it is what it is” mindset—and really mean it.
Through the sound of silence and some soul searching, I was able to get myself to a better headspace and return home with a renewed perspective—and a lot of gratitude for this incredible life that I am fortunate to be living.