I'm sitting here on my oversized grey couch on this lazy Sunday contemplating on what my life has been these last few weeks. I hadn't had much time until now to just lounge around and process. The last month has brought new meaning to the phrase "March Madness" for all the most beautiful reasons. In the last month I've visited six new countries, experienced the beauty of open borders, eaten enough gas station food to last me a lifetime, said please and thank you in five different languages, watched the sun set over the Danube River, learned all there is to know about paprika and bee farms, managed to engage in conversation with a sweet Polish man who didn't speak English, seen the Berlin Wall, felt the evil that lingers at the most infamous death camp in the world, ate too much bread and rode more trains than I ever thought possible. I spent almost three weeks road tripping through Eastern Europe and saw some of the most amazing sights in the world. Yet, what stands out in my heart now that it is all said and done, are the small, seemingly insignificant moments that managed to become embedded in my brain.
As I'm sitting here now, looking through the photos, getting ready to curate the perfect gallery for my next blog post, one that depicts a flowing story of what my trip was, along with some artsy shots and travel advise, I can't help but think about one particular moment. It was towards the end of my trip and I was on a train in Prague back to my hotel on the outskirts of the city. I sat there on this tightly-packed night train on a single seat towards the back. My head leaning on the window and my mind racing with visuals from the day and information still processing, I kept thinking about how wonderful it might be to live in Europe. How lucky Europeans are! To have so much history and architecture and art at an arm's reach. To dress so fancy and live with intention. To eat all of the croissants and butter and not get fat. To have the option to, at a moment's notice, hop on a train and go anywhere. What an adventurous life they must live! I mean I'm from Orange County, California. We don't even have seasons! We have Disneyland, a glorified group of housewives and South Coast Plaza. I should be living in Paris. Or here, in Prague. Or Budapest. I adored Budapest. Then suddenly, as I snapped out of my fantasy land, I spotted a woman sitting a few seats away from me, staring intensely at her magazine. She seemed as mesmerized by what she was looking at as I felt with my previous thoughts. She seemed so into it, like in a trance. I leaned over to see what it was that had her so sucked in. I was intrigued. I moved over a few seats to bring my nosiness to a whole new level. That's when I saw it. What had kept this woman so hypnotized. Two glossy magazine pages that read:
"Your Dream Destination: San Diego."
😑😂 I couldn't help but laugh. Here I was dreaming of having her life, and she was fantasizing about having mine! I giggled to myself, pointed out the woman and her literature to my husband and we just laughed and smiled to each other the rest of the ride home.
But I got to thinking: are we programed to want what we don't have? Do we automatically assume that the grass is greener on the other side? Are we immune to seeing the beauty around us because we are obsessively fantasizing about what else is out there? What we could have? What we should have? When people say "count your blessings" or "stop and smell the roses" is this what they're talking about? I made, then and there, the conscientious decision to start seeing more. To start truly taking in my surroundings, not just when I travel, but daily. To actually stop and appreciate the beauty all around me. To not take anything for granted. I think it's human nature to always want more, or different. But here's the thing about green grass: it's not always greener on the other side. The grass is greener where you water it.
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