On planes, in hostels, randomly on the street.. People love to give you advice about the places they’ve been. I whip out my pen and ever-handy notebook to jot down their suggestions for cities I know I’ll be visiting in the near future. And then- when I’m finally headed to that city- I go back, revisit and research their tips.
Your brain is easily conditioned. Think about the last time you talked yourself out of something that felt right. It was probably so easy to do you didn’t even notice yourself doing it. Because thats how most of us learned to make choices: not what feels right, but what makes sense. Intuition vs. Logic.
If you’re having a hard time recalling a situation, try to remember the last time something didn’t turn out the way you wanted it to. How did that scenario play out? At what point were you forced to make a choice and how did you choose?
While your mind naturally uses intuition to make choices, your brain uses the mechanisms it’s learned: that flimsy combination of logic, outcomes from past experiences, influence from loved ones, concern for how that choice will make you appear to others, etc.
When choices are leading to negative outcomes consistently in your life it is because you’re consistently making decisions from the wrong place. Fool me once, shame on you. Fool myself into thinking I can keep doing things the same way and expect a different outcome? Well that just seems silly now doesn’t it? Continue reading →
Loop this world. Go continent hopping. Venture so far off the beaten path you can’t even see it in the distance. Leave for a week or bop between foreign lands until you can physically bop no more. Climb a lava-gurgling volcano. Laugh around a bonfire on a beach with the fire-lit faces of strangers. Ski the alps. Meet kindred spirits from every corner of the globe. Read a book from sunrise to sunset or spend the entire day writing in a dimly lit cafe as the world fast-forwards around you. Learn how to say thank you in every language you encounter. Relax your worries in a hammock; sway until tranquility takes over. Watch the moon wax and wane and thank the stars you can be wherever you want before it’s full again. Breathe in every smile and let go of every fear until love becomes your state of rest. Continue reading →
I had my first panic attack when I was seven. I was watching a movie with my brother and parents when an invisible hand reached inside my chest, death-gripped my lungs and wouldn’t let go. The air I hadn’t thought about breathing my entire life was suddenly all that mattered; I didn’t even know what oxygen was, but I desperately knew I needed it. I was hyperventilating, hysterically crying and shaking uncontrollably as my hands went numb first, followed by my face and limbs. My muscles tensed up so severely that the smallest movement felt like I was ripping them to shreds. Everything my formerly rational young brain knew vanished completely, replaced only by thoughts of dying. Continue reading →
Why is it when we’re someplace so surreal in its beauty, or in a moment so perfect in its entirety, we close our eyes? I catch myself doing it often, yet I’ve never realized how illogical it seems. But somehow it isn’t learned… It’s as natural a reaction as one can have.
Right now my mind is saying “Sure, what you see is beautiful. But stop. Feel the wind and taste the salt in it’s touch. Listen to the waves breaking in the distance. Fill your lungs with air and lift your head to the sky. Say ‘Thank You,’ out loud, for this moment. And feel the gratitude so tangibly it gives you chills.” Continue reading →
The plane touches down in Oman while my daydreams about the day ahead remain in the clouds. My thoughts are suddenly grounded in the reality of the 15 hours ahead of me: I’m alone in the Middle East for the first time and have no idea what to do or how to do it.
In typical post-redeye fashion, I’m bumbling around the Muscat Airport like a lost little zombie baby, when an employee stops and asks me where I’m trying to go. I inquire about the Omani public transportation system and he looks at me like the crazy person I am. As we’re laughing at my naiveté, he flags down a buddy of his and briefly speaks to him in Arabic. A minute later he introduces us while telling me “he’ll take you in to town.”
A know-it-all sorority girl in my college Italian class once passionately proclaimed from the back row that she hated airports. She was jabbering on about the flight she had to catch later and how insanely long the lines would be. “I mean, nobody likes being at the airport,” she whinced.
“Amo gli aeroporti” I responded as I whipped around in my desk.
My mouth often works faster than my brain. “Think before you speak” was a frequent time-out goal assigned to me by adults when I was younger. This time, I probably didn’t need to pick a silly, travel-based battle considering I couldn’t even get my language of response right.
If you’ve ever taken a trip with multiple destinations, you’ve dealt with the sudden onslaught of memories that invade you following this question. The faces of strangers who became friends smile in the places you shared together. Endless landscapes scroll through your mind: panoramas of white-drenched mountains, sparkling beaches, vine-lined jungles. You fall through the air 13,000 feet above the ground. The morning sun blankets you in your hammock on a sugar sand beach. A shark rams his head into the wire cage you’re inside. Hand-in-hand, you spend the day laughing with an orphaned child without understanding a single spoken word.