Traveling has occupied a foremost place in my mind the past couple of days. I can't sit still for long, and I'm already planning future trips. But, as always when traveling ideas begin to germinate, I begin to reflect on my past adventures.
Before I went to Europe, I expected it to be the trip of a lifetime (specifically, my lifetime) and I figured that I would just get all my desire to travel out of my system. Well, it didn’t turn out quite like that. It’s one thing to sit at home and dream about castles hundreds of years old and grassy knolls dotted with bell-laden cows – and it’s a completely different thing to actually go and see all these things. (Yes, the grassy knolls with the cows are real. They exist in our modern world.) And once you’ve seen things that you didn’t think could possibly exist outside of Hollywood and the literary world, you begin to realize that there are other things like that in the world.
Europe inspires perpetual amazement. My trip was full of mornings standing on the balcony staring out at the mountains, thinking that somebody must have painted them and taped the canvas to the sky, because there was no way anything could be so perfect. There were the moments eating a perfect crepe or slice of pizza or cup of gelato and savoring every bite. Then there were those tranquil hours of walking cobblestone streets alone, wandering into tiny shops with no intention of buying anything, and then suddenly finding what seems to be a secret winding road that seem to be meant just for you, culminating in the most perfect view of the village. There are the days of traveling on a crowded city street when you just suddenly have to stop because you noticed there is an amazing artist on the side of the road, creating something unique and mysterious to sell to tourists, or playing an instrument more passionately than you knew was possible. There are the quiet minutes of sitting in the dark cathedral gazing at the ceiling and feeling like you could sit there all day.
Europe is full of these: snapshots of perfect, unbelievable moments. The only way to experience those moments again is to create new ones that inspire the same rush of amazement. Europe isn’t the only place I’ve had moments like that. I’ve had those moments on a camping trip with my dad. I’ve had those moments driving down a particular road in my home town that has a spectacular view. Just tonight I had a moment like that running down the canyon and seeing the red rocks and the river below.
There are perfect moments like that waiting for us everywhere in the world, just waiting for us to discover them. I don’t know when and where I’ll be traveling in the future, but I do know that I want to have as many of those snapshot memories as I can in my lifetime. I’ve realized that it doesn’t necessarily matter where you go, as long as you’re prepared to look for beauty in everything that surrounds you. I’ll find my moments in China, Australia, India, Scotland, Russia, Brazil, anywhere I manage to go in the future. But in the meantime, I intend to find as many perfect, awe-inspiring moments as I can, wherever I am.