Hola adventurers! I am currently sitting in the United club waiting for my flight to ROME! Yes, Rome, the eternal city, home of some of the best museums and gelato in the world (a fantastic combination, in my opinion).
It was my birthday two days ago, so I thought I’d share a little bit of what I’ve learned so far. I was jotting down some ideas in my new Geek Chic travel notebook (more cute notebooks here), and I won’t claim this is a comprehensive list, but these are the most poignant lessons in my mind at the moment.
1. Don’t ignore your passions
People have many passions in life. Some are passing fancies that come and go with age; some bloom when you’re 7 and continue to enliven you 70 years later. For me, traveling, creative writing, and history are those lasting passions, and I have sorely neglected them in recent years. Italy is really the fusion of all of those passions in one location, and ever since I booked my ticket, it’s like I’ve leaped out of bed every morning I’m so excited about life.
Yes, this blog is about seeing the adventure in the everyday, but I also think it’s fair to say there’s a hierarchy on the adventure scale. For me, there is just something about the thrill of traveling, learning a new language and learning about a place’s history that nothing can really compare to. As I said, I’m a geek. But really, you should be excited to leap out of bed almost every day. If you’re not living a life that makes you want to do that, think about what your passions are and whether you’re living a life that reflects them.
2. When traveling, say yes to everything
Unless it puts you or others in danger, I firmly believe that you should say yes to every opportunity when traveling. I’ve traveled a lot, and believe me, there are times when I’ve been worn out — not physically ill, just longing for a night off. But when someone offers you the opportunity to explore Etruscan tombs or go sailing down the Nile, you take it. 9 times out of 10, those experiences end up being some of the most remarkable of your life. There are times when I’ve turned down opportunities, and I always regretted it afterwards.
3. Sound mind in a sound body
Sugar makes me crazy. If you put one gluten-free cookie in front of me (especially this brand), I will not be content until I’ve eaten the entire box. For me, there is no moderation on this issue — I either eat none of it, or I eat it all.
If you have the self-control to eat just one [insert your vice here], I envy and salute you. This is undeniably the more sensible way to live. But ultimately, you need to know what works for you, since there really isn’t anything more important than your health. If you need to quit processed sugar cold turkey like I did, do it. If you can have a bite of chocolate without turning into a maniac, but you have something else you need to work on, that’s great too.
It’s easy to think you’re invincible until something happens, but eating your veggies really pays off in the long-term. Far beyond the immediate gratification of feeling more trim, not constantly poisoning yourself helps you think clearer and reduces your risk of chronic disease down the road. Of course, something can always happen, but why increase your chances?
By the way, instead of having cake on my birthday this year, I made this amaaaazing vegan “cookie dough blizzard.” Sweetened only with dates, a little bit of maple syrup and cacao nibs, it tasted like a dream. I was just kind of tossing stuff into the food processor, so I will record the measurements next time I make it and post the recipe:
4. Don’t let other people define you
Before I moved to Italy in high school, I asked my mom to write me a letter of advice. I was 17, and excited as I was to be starting out in a new country, I knew I still had a lot to learn. I don’t remember her exact phrasing, but the idea always stuck with me because it was something I had fallen prey to.
Basically, if someone compliments you or says you did something well, it’s totally fine to feel good about it, but don’t let it go to your head. The same goes for if someone criticizes you or your work. Correct it if you did something wrong, but don’t let it ruin your week. Basically, don’t be constantly riding the highs and lows of other people’s opinions of you. Know who you are, work hard, be kind and remember that everything will be just fine.
5. Be kind
This one needs no explanation. Treat others as you would be treated.
Alright adventurers, time to start packing up for my flight! I’ll try to post frequently this week on the blog, Instagram and Twitter. Later!