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Why do we love traveling so much?

On my latest adventure, I spent a week in Sicily after a quick stop in Switzerland. Most of the time I was with my family, and I also had a few days of solitude. It was a busy trip, and being back now for over a week, I can't help but think about why I love to travel so much and what that means about life.

Traveling brings me out of my comfort zone. I imagine I am not alone in that feeling. It starts when I step on that plane, I immediately realize I have no control over what happens during my flight (hello, anxiety!). Yet, if I remember to breathe and be present, I will be on the ground before I know it and ready to enjoy someplace new. This feeling of having little control continues, especially when we are in destinations where we don't speak the language, the customs are new to us and we just aren't really sure how everything works. I am not sleeping in my own bed, eating my usual food and forget the routine. This can either be unsettling… or very exciting! Personal growth comes from these moments of doing something different or new.

Connection is a big part of traveling and being open to new people and experiences. Whether it is meeting new people or connecting with a place (from hiking and being in nature to sitting in a café and people-watching), allow yourself to be open to the present moment, to what is happening all around you. Also, trust your intuition. While I love being open (and have been fortunate enough to never have had a negative incident while traveling), bad stuff can happen anywhere. Paying attention while traveling and if something doesn't feel right, remove yourself from the situation. Same with regular life! The body can feel very open and expansive in a new place - and take in both good and bad energies. Being aware of this and connecting when it feels right is key.

We can't always go it alone. I love solo traveling and think more people (especially women, don't be afraid!) should do it. However, sometimes we do need to rely on others. This happened to me in Sicily big time! I was driving a small SUV when Google told me to take a turn, down a street that wasn't really a street but was the narrowest alley I've ever seen in my life. I kind of freaked out and swapped spots with my dad while my uncle got out of the car and had to visually guide us through while I looked out the other window. I am not exaggerating; we had 2 inches of space on either side of the car for a few blocks before we could get out. Whatever happens, don't be afraid to ask for help.

Let go of expectations. This was probably my biggest lesson during this trip - in the best possible way. I was excited to go, of course, yet almost everything I experienced blew me away. From the Airbnb in this small village where we could hear the waves crashing to some of the nicest people working so incredibly hard in the hospitality industry, to the history of how Sicily has been occupied by many other cultures and how that has shaped not only its architecture and cityscapes but also the resilience and pride in its people. It was simple and beautiful, wild and vibrant, authentic and full of a lust for life. It invited me to be present, slow down and open my heart and mind. To experience with every sense what was right in front of me. I don't think you can be much more mindful or feel more grateful than that while traveling.

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