Lessons from Europe: Top 6 Moments

About a month ago I went on a trip to Spain and Italy with some of my best friends. I wanted to share with you 6 of the most meaningful moments and lessons I learned from my travels.

1. As a good friend of mine put it: “When the bass drops, thou must drop with it.” 
Night out in Barcelona

Honestly, there are few things more therapeutic than going out dancing. And I mean actually dancing. As in pulling out all your best moves and going HAM on the dance floor (none of that shady stuff though). It’s freeing to lose your inhibitions (within reason) and to stop caring about who you scare off with your awesome moves. When you find a group of friends who are willing to make fools out of themselves WITH you, all the better.

2. Learn to enjoy a good cup of coffee, European style. 

Morning cappuccino in Venice

By “European style”, I don’t just mean the
quality/contents of your coffee. I mean the way in which coffee is enjoyed. In Europe, or at least in the places we visited in Italy and Spain (not trying to overgeneralize here), finding a to-go cup is actually quite challenging! That’s because coffee is typically enjoyed while sitting down at an outdoor patio, not while on the move. It’s enjoyed with your full presence and undivided attention. So once in a while, try taking a break from sipping coffee on-the-go and fully enjoy the moment.

3. Learn something new (it’s never too late).

(Me) biking by the Tiber River

This might sound kind of sad to some people, but I finally learned how to bike for the first time in Trastevere, Rome … at the age of 22. But hey, new surroundings means new experiences, right? Needless to say, it was AWESOME. My point: don’t be afraid try new things. Traveling tends to bring out your adventurous side, but remember: you don’t have to be in an entirely new place to try new things. It’s never too late.

4. Appreciate your feet (sounds weird, I know).

Spa treatment in Toronto Pearson airport

By the end of our trip, our feet were calloused, peeling, and just.. not pretty. But strangely, I loved it. I loved it because it was evidence that my feet had done lots of walking. They were feet that actually went places. They weren’t stationary, afraid to see the world. No. They were feet that had gone on many adventures, gotten lost too many times to count, danced on Venetian bridges, and stepped foot on new land. So once in a while, appreciate your feet. They take you places. 🙂

5. Realize that life is about the in-between moments just as it is about the epic ones.

Unintentionally matching outfits

Surprisingly, one of the highlights of my trip were the unplanned, seemingly monotonous moments that were wedged in between all the fancy sightseeing. Like having the toilet leak and the lights go out in our apartment, giving us something to laugh hard about. Or getting caught dancing in an empty restaurant basement by the chef. Or climbing over a fence just to find out it was already unlocked. Or doing the laundry and almost shrinking our clothes because we got ‘temperature’ and ‘length of time’ mixed up.

No one could have plotted these events in the itinerary. But they were meaningful because they were organic. They’re the ones we’ll laugh about years from now.

6. Cherish the present moment and the ones you’re with.

Lying on a dock by the Grand Canal

“Our lives may not be perfect, but they are filled with perfect moments.” Our last night in
Europe was magical (and I hardly ever use that word to describe things). It was literally one of those perfect moments where I wouldn’t change a single thing.

After having an awesome dinner, freestyle dancing on a bridge over the Grand Canal, impersonating Smeagol from Lord of the Rings (in public) — plus a whole lot of other crazy things — we ended the night by lying on a gondola dock, faces towards the sky, wishing on shooting stars (and also looking out for bats. LOL).

At that moment, I remember thinking how grateful I was that despite all the disappointments I’ve faced and all the people who’ve walked in and out of my life, I was on the other side of the world experiencing this perfect moment with friends who have stuck around for so many years. They weren’t just ‘friends’ to me anymore, but ‘sisters’. Sisters in every definition of the word (minus the part about sharing the same parents).

Moments like these leave your heart full, making you soak in the present moment rather than lamenting the past or worrying about the future. Take advantage of these moments. They make life colourful.


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