I love to travel. I caught the travel bug when I was in college. The first time I ever left the country, I went to Florence, Italy to study art for a month during the summer of my freshman year. After that first trip, I left the country whenever I could afford to, which ended up being once to twice a year for about the next 5 years or so. I’m sad to say though, that since I hit my mid twenties, I haven’t been able to travel as much, for one reason or another. I miss it…I guess that’s a bit what this post is about. BTW, the photo above is from a trip I took to Fiji (Bula Fiji!!).
I’ve traveled alone a handful of times. During those trips I’ve had some of the most self-reflective times in my life. I don’t think I’d recommend going to Paris alone (it’s weird to be standing at the top of the Eiffel Tower without someone to share the experience with) but generally, I would encourage anyone to go on at least one solo trip. I was helping my mom clean out her office the other day and we came across a pile of old emails that she had saved and printed from when I was traveling through Europe alone. Besides being a really funny window into the head of my 20 year old self, the emails reminded me how challenging those experiences were for me and also, how much I grew and learned on those trips. There’s nothing else like putting yourself, alone, in totally unfamiliar surroundings, in a place that asks you to step outside of your comfort zone dozens of times per day, where you may or may not be able to effectively communicate with the other human beings around you, to get you to turn inward and reflect on your life, what/who makes you happy (or unhappy), and what fulfills you.
In writing my Definite Major Purpose (DMP) over the last few weeks I’ve noticed that I keep having to go back to the portion regarding what I envision for my career. I currently own a catering company which I started about a year ago. I’ve worked in the restaurant industry in some capacity my entire adult life. For a long time I actually would have told you that I hated the industry and I tried hard to get out of it more than once, but somehow something always brought me back to restaurants (more on how I ended up not just back in the industry, but owning a restaurant business of my own, in another post perhaps). One thing I mention in my DMP is that, as an employer, I’d like to encourage everyone who works for me to find and follow their bliss, travel, experience the world, and live healthful lives. If you’ve ever worked in restaurants, you know that striking this type of work/life balance seems next to impossible. This week, it occurred to me that, while I still would like to be the kind of employer who encourages/provides the environment that allows for people to live full, well rounded lives, the statement I made in my DMP is really, at the end of the day, what I want for myself. I’ve thought a lot about Mark J saying in the webinar that we should stop focusing on the method, and rather focus on the intention, because letting the method dictate the intention leads to people downsizing their dreams. Making what seems like a minor adjustment to my DMP this week to state that finding and following my bliss, traveling, and living healthfully are MY goals for MYSELF rather than the goals I hope to encourage other people to embrace made a huge difference for me in how I connect with my DMP. And, I realized, though helping other people live their lives to the fullest is noble, I wasn’t being honest with myself or my subconscious when I tried to sell the story that my goals and deepest desires are totally altruistic.
On a side note: I feel like my life right now is a bunch of puzzle pieces laid out on a table. And, even though I’m nervous that this is one of those extra tricky, 1000 piece puzzles with no edge pieces (have you ever done one of those? They’re freakin’ impossible!), I know they’ve got to be in the mess somewhere. I’m trying to focus on finding the edge pieces because I fell like, once I find those, and once I can get the boarder complete, the rest should fall a little more easily into place (I’m envisioning some kind of domino effect here). And, it just occurred to me that my DMP is kind of like the picture on the puzzle box…if it’s accurate and clear, it should be the thing I can refer back to for guidance when I’m in the thick of the mess.