Thursday, July 22, 2010

I'm Baaaaaaack!

Photo: Sunset in Florence, Italy! 

Hello Optimists,

I'm finally back! I hope you had fun with my Come Fly With Me posts- it was the best I could do to take you all with me. Thanks for all of your comments and participation! My trip was absolutely amazing and so inspiring...so much so that I am having a hard time putting my experiences to words. I feel like I have so many great stories to tell and photos to share, but there's nothing that can really express what an incredible journey I had. I have never seen so many beautiful places or had so much fun in my life. And now I'm back home, left with thousands of pictures and countless memories that will forever be in my mind and my heart.

I was away for almost three weeks, yet looking back it seems like I was only gone for a few hours. It's funny how time just escapes you when you're out exploring. I didn't bring a cell phone and I didn't have my laptop, so I felt a bit disconnected. But you know what? It was kind of nice. I would use a friend's BlackBerry to send a quick email to my parents to let them know I was ok, and that was it. I didn't even watch TV the whole time I was there because by the time we got back to the hotel rooms at night, we were so tired that we basically passed out on the bed. I didn't know any of the news that was going on in the world, and I was definitely out of the loop when it came to celebrity gossip, but this all gave me a chance to really concentrate on the news I should be most aware of all the time...my own.

Right from the start, I was so excited to be experiencing new things. Everyday brought something fresh and new, allowing me to add a bunch of "firsts" to my life. And just when I thought it couldn't get any better, the next day brought along something that really wowed me. I remember saying, "I can't even believe this" and "This is amazing" over and over again as we would travel to a new place, and sometimes, I couldn't even get any words out. But traveling to so many places in such a short amount of time was a little bit of a bummer- there were so many places I could have spent "forever" in, but it really did teach me to live in the moment. I knew that now was the time I had to enjoy my surroundings, to soak up all of the culture and beauty within a few hours or days, and to make sure I made the most of it. I realized that every second we have is so precious, and no matter if we're traveling through Europe or just sitting in our own back yard, we have to enjoy that time.

Today's featured quote really supports this idea and I think it's something we should always keep in mind.
Yesterday is history. Tomorrow is a mystery. And today? Today is a gift. That's why we call it the present. -B. Olatunji
If we take the time to view today's experiences and events as a gift, we can really appreciate what life has to offer.  Sure, it's important to remember yesterday and look forward to tomorrow, but there's no time better spent than that in which you can enjoy the moment you're in. I learned a lot of things over this trip, but probably the most important was this idea about enjoying the present. I think it's so important for all of us to try to acknowledge what our day brings us, what experiences we encounter and what we can learn from them, and to really relish in the glory of the present day. Take some time today to just sit for a moment and just enjoy.

Thank you to everyone who has submitted a quote to be featured in a future post! I am still collecting them, so if you'd like to submit one (or another one!) please do. Just leave a comment here...and don't forget to check back to see when your quote is posted!

I hope to be back to my normal posting schedule soon- I just need a little bit of time to get my suitcase unpacked and my internal clock back on eastern standard time, and I should be back on track.

Keep Smiling,

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