I was having a conversation in my head last night, that I planned to have with my traveling companion -- an old good friend -- when I saw her: "what do you hope to get out of this trip?" As soon as the thought came, I turned it around on myself.
This post is more for me than you. These thoughts were so good, I didn't want them to just fly away. I'm putting it in writing to hold myself accountable. I want this trip to be about getting my gratitude back.
In 2003, I traveled to Greece, and to this day I still think it's my favorite place I've ever been to. Our days were simple and amazing. After breakfast in our modest hotel room of market-bought bread, jam, and the most amazing apple juice I've ever had, we'd spend most mornings on a bus to a beach -- one day a red-sand one we'd have to hike down to, the next day a quiet white-sand shore with warm water and perfect waves. We'd spend the day at the beach, then bus it back to Mykonos town in the afternoon. I remember on one bus ride back through empty, rural parts of the island, I found myself ignoring the conversations going on around me, and staring out the window. As I quietly looked out at the small, sleepy towns, the simple but beautiful white and blue buildings, I realized how lucky I was. As I wrote in my travel journal on that day, "I am so grateful for my amazing life."
These days, I've been spinning. Between the ups and downs of work and the ups and downs of life, not to mention an ever-present internet that manages to fill every spare moment with the addictive anticipation that comes with refresh-refresh-refresh, sometimes those thoughts of gratitude -- even though I know deep down they are true -- don't quite stick. I love being the grateful, amazed version of me, though.
I'm excited to be going to a place where I really don't know what to expect. I'm excited to be pulled out of a world whose daily details I have totally mastered, and be thrown into the polar opposite of that stagnancy: new streets, new language, new everything. I do think that our accommodations and plans will lead to encounters with a broad set of people, and this I have the highest hopes for: nothing really gets me buzzing like that first conversational connection with someone interesting.
So, that's my hope, the raw ingredients are there, but I don't think I can force it. My plan is to be as open as I can be -- eyes, heart, and mind -- take everything in, and make sure I have some quiet time to let it all sink in and do its magic. When I come back, who knows, maybe I'll be a changed person. More likely though, I'll be the 'me' I've been all along, grateful for my amazing life.