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During my Junior Year in college, I studied for a semester in Luxembourg. During our Spring Break, a group of us decided we wanted to explore Spain Yep, we wanted to just go exploring an entire country, no plan, no agenda we were just going to hop on a train to Barcelona and see what happened next.
Now just to give a quick history lesson—this was almost 20 years ago, pre-internet, pre-cell phone. Which meant no one knew where we were, no one knew how to contact us. We had no itinerary so we couldn’t send our parents or friends a list of the hotels we were staying at and/or nightly texts relaying our adventures. We just packed ourselves and our ‘Let’s Go” books (the bible of travel at the time) and headed out. (My proudest moment of that week is I packed for the entire 7 days in a normal school sized backpack.)
At some point in the week, on a whim, we decided to take the high speed ferry across the Mediterranean to Tangier, Morocco. As we got off the shuttle we were greeted by a man, in traditional dress who agreed to show us around Tangier for a fee, which we quickly agreed too (and I remember feeling very lucky we found such a nice man). We were quickly whisked away to all the various shops in town (I am sure this man was getting a cut from all his friends for bringing in naive American students) and in between shops would point out various historical sites. At the end of the tour, the man passed us off to his friend who drove to a small town outside of Tangier. Here we spent the night in the guest room of this stranger’s mother’s house. Again I felt very lucky because according to Let’s Go this town was a MUST SEE so we got a place to stay relatively cheep AND I got to see the town, which I now can’t remember the name of.
The next 12 hours were spent celebrating Ramadan, smoking out of a Hookah, eating candied dates and laughing hysterically as we attempted to use the indoor toilet, which consisted of a hole in the ground. Somehow we lived to tell of that crazy week and the insane chances we took. I think back on that 24 hour period with vivid detail–we were so happy, so scared, and so curious all at the same time.
The amazing part about that story is that there is NO WAY I would do that now, not even because times have changed but because my doubts, what if’s and fears would prevent me from fully experiencing such a trip.
I have been thinking about that time a lot recently. A time in my life when anything was possible, dreams were big and possibilities were endless. Risk, fear, danger were ideas I didn’t give much thought to. I know I wouldn’t want to go back to being 20, but from time to time I try to tap into that time of adventure and boldness.
I try to remember what it felt like before “knew better”, before I “suffered the consequences” before my practical middle aged safe self settled in. Honestly, even as I write middle-aged I think “What, that can’t be right?!?!” That 20 year old is still in there, still daring to dream, daring to grab life in all its risks and see what happens.
So I continue to dare, to dream to step out of my comfort zone (albeit in smaller ways) but when we can move out of the ‘zone’ and challenge ourselves to grow, take a baby step or even entertain the possibility–then, my friend we are indeed Living Happier
What stories have you not told in awhile about your past? What adventures would your kids, partner, friends be surprised to hear? What dreams did you have and what happened to them? What adventures have you had recently? How did they feel? What has stopped you from daring lately?
Here’s to the great adventures in life…..and never being too old to experience them!!