Its been a week now since I’ve been back to reality in New York City from Italy. No matter how long you travel and where you go is always going to be a life changing experience. An experience that shapes your perspective and view about life and the world around you. Before I left for Italy, I was living a life that was set in routine. Not that anything was wrong with that but I really was busy during the past year, with working full time and going home to study for my two online classes every semester… and not to mention my ten year old son lived with me full time. I had so many responsibilities and juggling so many things at once, its a miracle I didn’t die from exhaustion! You live, you learn, you do what you need to– to survive.
Coming home was a bit stressful to say the least. I had an open ticket, a standby ticket through a companion pass that I purchased from a buddy of mine who works at an airlines. But it was still 70% cheaper than a normal ticket purchased from New York to Florence and so I was willing to gamble! I ended up visiting two other countries in Europe. First I flew from New York City to Dublin, Ireland– I had a very good friend of mine who now lives there and so I was offered a place to stay and was able to reconnect with my friend that I hadn’t seen in a long time. From there I flew from Dublin to Rome, then took a two hour train from Rome to Florence. So upon flying back home on my trip I ended up buying a train ticket from Florence to Frankfurt, Germany. My buddy had suggested this because I would have gotten stuck in Rome if I had tried to fly on Standby on one of the full flights. So on my last day in Florence I took a train at 10:00 am in the morning and switched through 3 different trains to Bologna to Munich and arriving at Frankfurt at 11:00 pm. Luckily I met a girl on the train who spoke English and German, who I sat next to and had the same exact tickets and destination as me! She was a real life angel that helped me navigate through the different trains, and I had made a good friend.
You’re probably wondering, you could have saved yourself the trouble by making sure you had plans set. But I realized something, I just had to let go of control. Most of the time we all have a tendency to control the situation or the outcome that when things don’t go our way, we end up getting upset. Sometimes there is beauty in letting go. I have been planning everything the last few years of my life, planning six months before that to go on this trip of a lifetime and what was a little adventure anyway? Sometimes you have to gamble and take risks in life, and when I do– I open myself up to great and amazing things. I actually ended up making more friends at the airport than I realized, and there were two Starbucks employees that kept me company and talked my ear off the whole night! It impresses me how many languages they spoke, Dutch, English, French, and German. For a European, that is absolutely the norm to know at least 4 languages. Its pretty amazing. I also met and conversed with a Filipino lady that spoke German, Filipino, and English, she kept me up all night with her amazing stories of living in Germany. By the time we finished, it was 5am and I still had another hour to check into my flight at 8 am. I had stayed up all night at the airport and it was eye opening, an experience I always wanted to have. You can’t be afraid to do something you’ve never done before. You’d be surprised at how amazing the experience can be.
Being able to live in Florence, Italy for two months has been an unforgettable experience– I have changed mentally and emotionally from my busy go go go life in New York City to really enjoying each day living. I really started to appreciate the moment more and really having the time of my life! I’m not going to go into details– but I really enjoyed myself out there. The Italians especially have a much different outlook in lifestyle, they open and work their businesses in the morning and then advocate a siesta during the afternoons, then only to return in the evening when it cools down for dinner. Life in Italy is much more pleasurable as people really do bond over food and wine, they genuinely make an effort to connect with others in a more human way. It was also sort of a blessing that my internet connection both on my international mobile data plan and my wireless at my apartment didn’t work– because it forced me to really set plans with friends after class during the evenings and really call them on the phone instead of texting or emailing them online. I really bonded with my classmates in and out of class time. I think I was missing the connections I’ve had and made growing up and living in California. I hate to say it but New York doesn’t do this for me, as many friends as I have here and the great connections I’ve made– people are way too busy to meet up and hang out at times. I wish for a much more simpler lifestyle at times.
Living abroad really opened my mind up to so many new things. For one, not taking living in NYC for granted. Although I miss California dearly, there are also many great things that this city has to offer. So much history, culture, and the food is just amazing! One thing that I learned from living in NYC and will always take with me forever is the ambition and commitment to keeping a schedule! And learning to stay focused on goals and seeing projects through.
Life is full of self discovery, just when you think that you are done with learning all you can– it takes another turn and the universe shows you something brand new. There are so many different realities, so many ways of being and living life. We just have to see things outside of our own perspective– and when we do this we are offered a major opportunity for growth. We can live and experience many different places, in hopes of showing us that life is not about having a physical place to call home but learning that home is where your heart is. As cheesy as that sounds, it is a truth. No matter where we travel through in life, its never about the destination but the journey of discovering who we are on the inside.