Monday, October 13, 2008
Go BIG and Go HOME
Less is more, totally not my style.
Initially I wasn't supposed to come back to the state until Oct 28th.....then, after the first few nights in a hostel and then having to make the decision so often from whether or not I'd like to have a hot dog from a street stand, or a traditional local meal.....the money started dwindling quicker than planned.
When I planned my entire trip I knew if I were going to do it, I wanted to do it right. I didn't want to just say, "I've been there, but I couldn't afford to do that...." Living beyond my means? Sure, maybe. Nothing outlandish however. I didn't go shopping, I didn't splurge on expensive Italian designers (though, at this point it wouldn't have really mattered had I decided to buy a couple pairs of shoes) and I didn't stay in lavish hotels or dine anywhere with a dress code.
I just did it RIGHT. I went to Europe and I tasted the Belgian chocolates (tasting obviously means, I ate, like, a box..... I tasted many flavors), I didn't cook in the hostels, or eat day-old bread. I'm sorry, I didn't come to Europe to eat DAY OLD BREAD. If I'm going to Europe, I'm going to eat fresh, piping hot bread straight from the oven in a local bakery. Fuck, if I'm EATING bread my bread is NOT going to past due, the bread in itself is a celebration away from my usual American lifestyle where I munch on diet bars, frozen dinners and canned peas. What's the point in flying across the ocean to diet and grocery shop for every meal?
I did exactly the things that I wanted to do; I walked where Shakespeare and Dickens walked, I toasted drinks with new friends from Bosnia, Poland, South Africa, Ireland, and ever local country I was in. I charmed the pants off people without speaking a word of their first language, I stayed up late and wasn't controlled by the restraints of TIME, half the time I didn't know what day it even was.
I listened to my body and my instincts, that under most circumstances are lying completely dormant under the weight of daily American stresses and day-to-day monotony that allow little space for "following instinct."
Often, your instincts, though they may be right, are inconvenient, which make them easier to ignore and make excuses for. Inconvenience in everyday life is scary, it forces you out of your ways and means something is going to change and CHANGE means accepting what is and where you are. Change quickly brings you into the present.
Instinct was my watch in Europe. Instinct brought me into different cafes and restaurants where at the the end of the meal I was kissing the cheeks of people that started as strangers. Instinct changed trains and routes, seats and booths, instinct made me wander down small streets and stumble upon cemeteries older than our country. Instinct brought me to Germany where, initially, I hadn't planned on visiting and because of instinct, I spent hours drinking Bavarian beer with new friends and watching the sun come up in a Greek restaurant where, though the owners didn't speak English, stood up and taught me Greek dancing until my face was sweating and patrons were clapping. Instinct made me feel welcomed genuinely.
Instinct, brought me to Europe in the first place, where though it would have been nice to be with someone, I ended up relishing in the fact that I was alone. These stories were mine. This life that I'm creating was based on a series of choices, based on my instinct.
So sure, maybe I had one Leffe Blonde too many in Brugge, maybe I stayed a little bit too nice of a hotel in Paris, and yes I could've observed the art without the audio guides, but I really wanted to hear the stories of the artist work....so sure, maybe I spent a BIT more than necessary.
I went BIG. I did it right and I don't regret, a single choice.
Though the trip was cut a couple weeks short, this was really just a peek into everything that I'm planning to experience for the rest of my life. In one month alone I met more people, created more stories, laughed and danced and pondered and APPRECIATED more than I have in a long, long time. Too long.
Traveling softens you, it opens your heart, and your eyes. My trip was just a glimpse into what happens when you DO follow that internal gift of instinct that we're born with. It reminded me that life is about LIVING it, and why let another year go by that's just a blur of time and dates, meetings and deadlines? That certainly isn't for me.
GO BIG, even if it means you have to go home, you have to "pay for it", etc. LIVE, drink in what's right in front of you, you don't even have to go to Europe....we're constantly surrounded by magical things.
When you do choose to truly LIVE in "it"the universe will show it's appreciation in return, I know it did to me.