I was talking to my younger brother the other day, and he made a comment about how much I had changed – that he still remembered the girl I was only a few years ago, obsessed with designer labels and completely addicted to shopping retail. And he was right. I was constantly running in the world’s hamster wheel, and it forced me to always want more. More shoes. More money. More clothes. More bags. More labels. I realized at one point that this need for excess was fueled by my desire to be happy, but the funny thing is, none of it was actually making me happy. It’s crazy to think about how much, fast forward a few months, I’ve transformed by being on the road.
I ran across Contiki Legends, featuring the life-changing stories of fellow travelers. I’m scrolling through these stories, one of my favorites being the Canadian girl’s first time seeing an ocean in person, and they got me thinking about my own life-changing moment. What was the exact moment that I realized that I was on my way to being truly happy? When did I know in my heart that my life had changed?
For me, it was when I started to appreciate the simpler things in life.
Oh, how cliche.
Yeah, cliche, but true. After traveling through Iceland, London, France and Italy, I booked a last minute flight to Dubrovnik, Croatia. My trip started off with crazy adventures, running around, hopping on and off trains, being photographed in front of major tourist attractions with a lifesize cutout of my father, and it ended in one of the most beautiful destinations I had ever seen.
And this was the exact moment I realized that something in me had changed – this sunrise in Dubrovnik, Croatia.
Well, what’s the big deal?
When I was younger, my father used to try for years to drag me out of the bed to watch the sunrise with him in my hometown of Virginia Beach, VA. I never woke up. It was always too early, and I’d pull the sheets over my head and ask him to shut the door and let me sleep. Why watch the sunrise? What was the point?
Yet here I was, in a foreign country off the coast of the Adriatic Sea, watching the skies change colors, in complete bliss. The waves crashing against the rocks on the cliff, the fence filled with love locks inspired by the iconic bridge in Paris, the local man walking across the bridge becoming the perfect silhouette for my photograph – I can’t explain the stillness that surrounded me and how it soothed my soul. I watched the sun rise from the sea into the sky, the world coming to life, and I was the happiest that I had been in years.
I was so grateful to be there in that exact moment, witnessing something so simple yet so magnificently beautiful. No matter where you are, watching the sunrise forces you to be in the present moment – your mind isn’t bothered by thoughts of the past or the future. The world speaks to your soul through your eyes, and it costs you absolutely nothing. And you know what they say – the best things in life are free.
Thank you so much for reading. Feel free to follow me on Instagram for day to day updates on my travels: @projectinspo