My year in Florence was one of the best of my life. I traveled to over 20 countries, built many lifelong relationships, and learned more about this world and life than I can remember. I slept on the beach in Cinque Terre before a long day of hiking, watched a sunrise from Mt. Sinai, drove through remote Morocco where shepherds roam & villagers live off a dollar a day, and I spent Christmas/NYE in Portugal where distant family who were only strangers to me showed me how thick blood truly is.
The list of extraordinary experiences from this year could go on for days, but what I’m most grateful for learning is a passion to seek out new, unique, & often uncomfortable experiences that change how I look at the world. Getting chased through Zagreb in the middle of the night by Neo-Nazis, having all your belongings lost by baggage check, and sleeping in a train station after a failure of a day may not seem like experiences to be desired, but sometimes they give us the best perspective on life. Sometime a “negative” experience is best at building deep & meaningful relationships. Most importantly, learning to relax and even laugh when things just don’t go your way is a skill that I’m extremely happy to have.
A lot of what I’m talking about can be learnt anywhere, but my theory is that travel, especially solo travel, speeds the process up. When traveling, a couple days of experience seem like a couple a months at home. You don’t make a couple friends a year, you make a couple friends a day. Most importantly, learning happens at an unprecedented pace if you make it a priority to talk to people, read, and create unique experiences for yourself & the people around you!