It was one year ago tonight that I was boarding a plane bound for Iceland, beginning an amazing adventure that still seems like a dream. I can hear some of you rolling your eyes. Do I talk about that a lot? Yeah, it’s because it was INCREDIBLE and every time someone mentions London or I see news like baby George my heart sighs a little and I’m sure I get a far off dreamy look in my eyes because I want to go back.
I’d never taken a three-week trip. I’d never traveled across an ocean. I’d never traveled alone. And I had the time of my life.
As I was on the plane back I thought, “What is it about vacation that is so awesome? And how can I replicate it in my normal life?”
With the upcoming trip-iversary, I rolled this around in my head for a few day thinking about how I should make a list for a blog post. But the more I thought about it the more everything just kinda boiled down to one main point. So here’s the one and only step I came up with to living a life as awesome as a vacation:
1. Live life.
I know. Deep, right? This is why you come to my blog, for mind-blowing wisdom like this. Let me say more.
I stayed with a fantastic friend while I was in London, but mainly it was her going off to work in the morning while I went off to explore. Each night we’d arrive home and she’d put her feet up and pull out her computer while I wrote down my daily adventures and planned for the next day. Part of me wanted to go, “You live in London! There’s so much to see and do! And you’re at home on your computer?” before I realized that gee willickers wouldn’t ever be a case of the pot calling the kettle black! I mean, I live in a city like this (admittedly, said football team could use some help) in a state as awesome as this and this and this!
Several months before I arrived, she suggested that we see a show at the Globe, to which I said, “Yes! That would be awesome!” She said that she’d lived in London 12 years but had never been to a show at the Globe. I had a similar thought earlier that summer when a friend posted an album on Facebook of all kinds of amazing Colorado places he had taken a visiting friend, and I realized, “These are all my favorite places, or places that I’ve never been but always wanted to go. They’re right here. What’s stopping me?” I decided it’s complacency. These are all places I could go any time, but I don’t because it’s so easy to go to them that I never get around to it.
Every moment of my trip was a gift, because it was something I had worked and saved and planned for for a long time. And I had a limited time period to squeeze it all in, so I tried to take advantage of every moment. My senses eagerly absorbed every sight and sound and smell. I almost never pulled out a book while waiting for or riding a train or plane because I didn’t want to miss the awesome. I biked at a leisurely pace, knowing I’d get there eventually but enjoying the journey. I did so much people-watching. I took so.many.pictures. Even as I was drowsily nodding off in Bath Abbey I thought, “I’m napping. In Bath Abbey. In the middle of an organ concert. How cool is this?” And every night I wrote down every detail I could remember because I never wanted to forget these experiences.
Lest you think I’ve completely reformed my monotonous and complacent ways to completely live an amazing and vacation-like life now, know that I spent almost all of my evenings in July in front of a screen watching the Tour de France. I haven’t been to the mountains once this summer (I know! Bad Coloradan!). I haven’t eaten at my favorite summer restaurant yet this summer. And this list I made of awesome things to do in my town? I’ve done three of them.
I saw a Post Secret recently that said, “I spend 95% of my free time staring at a screen,” and I could identify with it so much that it scared me. Maybe one of the reasons that vacation is so awesome is because we’re out LIVING awesome stories instead of watching or reading about other people’s awesome stories.
I get so complacent with my life that I take it for granted. I forget that I live in an amazing world. I forget that I have amazing friends and family. I forget that all these other human beings around me have stories and experiences and personalities that I could fall in love with if I just came out of my shell and talked with them. I forget how blessed I am.
I forget that — just like vacation — every moment of LIFE is a gift. A fantastic experience that I only have for a limited time. And I can choose to make it fun and awesome, or dull and average.
I wish I could say I was signing off this post by running out to go white water rafting or dance with a live band on Pearl Street or something. But it’s a work night, and the bands only play on Wednesday. And there are dishes to wash, so I’m going to wash them while singing loud and obnoxious show tunes.
But tomorrow after work, I’m going to the mountains and plan to savor every minute — from the crisp, clean air to being stuck in traffic.