Last year my girlfriend and I travelled oversees for the first time together. We weren’t exactly seasoned travellers and opted against veering off the beaten track.
Instead we saw the sites of Europe that have become standard traveller fare; the Eifel Tower in Paris, the Colosseum and Vatican City in Rome, San Marco’s Square in Venice, Pompeii in Naples and the Sagrada Familia in Barcelona to name but a few of our highlights.
I had always had a sense that standing in front of these landmarks would represent more to me than a tick off the old bucket list. And how right I was.
I was overcome by a ‘sense of place’, a knowing in that moment that I was somewhere special.
Taking all of it in was a conscious act that I committed to so that I could come back to that moment when I needed to. It is something that I practiced when I went to Sydney for the first time, standing in front of our famous Opera House, looking out to the Harbour Bridge. I knew that I was somewhere special and I took it all in, without distraction, knowing that moment would always be dear to me.
9 months later, I still think back to some of those moments as a way of reenergising myself. The thought that there is still so much out there in the world to explore fills me with unexplainable excitement, fuelling me in those moments in life when I’m stretched or challenged.
Almost like day-dreaming about what you would do if you won the lottery tonight, drifting back to lunch on the cliffs of the Amalfi Coast often reminds me that life is short and that I shouldn’t be too hard on myself, or take things too personally.
Staying grounded so that I have the perspective to see the bigger picture has been an invaluable lesson to learn.
Life is all about balance and, after accepting my marriage proposal in Paris, I think my fiancé agrees.