Excerpt from my notes;
"I'm sitting here on my plane to Amsterdam (from Mykonos) as thoughts race by faster than cars on the autobahn. Could be the 3 coffees, could be the fact that anytime I have down time traveling between countries (or states) I feel compelled to write.
I've been thinking like crazy these last few days. A large part of these thoughts are goals I've set. And one of the goals is that I want to post more blogs about my travels. I feel it may not only help others who may be curious, but it will be a great reminder for me.
Will this particular post go anywhere? Who knows. I have hundreds of paragraphs of unfinished thoughts, letters I've wrote to people that I've never sent, blogs I've yet to get up. It all starts with getting these thoughts off my mind though."
"Different places - Same people"
Let's start with Oahu, Hawaii: a mellow island in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. With mountains, a city and an ocean all within a few miles of each other. A solid 5,000 miles from my busy go-go-go home state.
When I moved there from New York, I had one friend (my best friend from home actually.) I was positive the people there all had to be gorgeous laid back professional surfers who were happy 100% of the time. Talk about being intimidated.
As I met more locals I realized that just because they were from this amazing little rock, they still went through the same things we all have/do. Just because they grew up somewhere completely different, didn't mean they weren't human. They still fight with their parents, they get sick, they deal with heartbreak, they have insecurities, they have bad days, they have good days, etc...
This may sounds strange. And you may say "duh." But for me, I think I feared venturing out because I didn't think people would "get me" like they do at home. The people at home knew me, we grew up together, they had to understand. In a sense, they "had" to like me. Weird the way our minds work. Turns out the people I met in Hawaii became some of my best friends in the world. Turns out we connected just as much, if not, more, than people from home.
From hopping around the Hawaiian islands and meeting some incredible people, I went off to Indonesia for a little over a month. Surely, I thought, people were different there. Foreign countries and all...
Nope, wrong again. As I spent more and more time with the Balinese, Japanese, European, Brazilian, + Korean woman in my yoga class, I realized, we were really all so similar. Yeah, some of us may have different hobbies, or beliefs, but when it came down to it, we were all just trying to lead the best life we knew how.
I realized then and there that we are all just trying to make it. We ALL have problems, we all have little ticks that bother us, we all can be irrational when we want to be. Most all of us have even gone through similar situations. From relationships to jobs to family issues. And as those five weeks went on, we opened up to each other. From there, it didn't matter what country we grew up in, we listened and we understood each other.
From Indonesia it was back to Hawaii. It was driving cross country, it was visiting friends in multiple states, and then it was off to host these yoga retreats abroad. It's insane how much my life has changed.
I spent time in South America and it will be almost 2 months in Europe by the end of this trip. In Colombia I met friends who I instantly connected with. We sat in a circle on a hammock overlooking the mountains as we complained about the heat, bugs and continued to just reminisce on our crazy lives. As I listened to everyone's stories and sarcasm I really felt at home. I realized that this was because this is exactly what my friends and I would do at home. We wound up forming a bond and spending most of our days together.
It was the same with the women on my retreat. I find it so beautiful doing what I do because you're forced to be around anyone and everyone who comes to your retreat. People you may otherwise walk right passed on the street. As I became closer and closer to these people, I started listening more and more. Asking questions. Hearing their stories. And realizing yet again, it doesn't matter if we are 30 years apart in age, we form this friendship + bond that will last a lifetime. Age, race, looks, gender, location, etc.. - these things are all secondary. They don't make up what a person is about. What makes up a person is what they think, what they say and what they do.
Realizing all of this has allowed to let my guard down more and more.
From Colombia I stopped home, then headed to Europe for my first few retreats in Sicily. For 3 weeks I spent time with loads of different people. People from all over Europe, Asia, North America, South America, Australia. There wasn't one person I didn't connect with. There wasn't one person staying at that bnb that I couldn't have a conversation with. Regardless of language barrier. This is once again where it began to dawn on me that distance and location mean absolutely nothing in the grand scheme of things. Distance does not make someone any different than you. No one is perfect. No matter what. And I am 100% positive that there are people all across the world that are going through or have gone through exactly what you are right now. Be it struggling in school, having a hard time at home or something great like getting a promotion or that new car you've been dreaming of.
It's an incredible comforting and humbling feeling to be able to connect with people all over the world. To realize that we all want the same things; To be understood. To be genuinely happy. To succeed. To be heard.
There's no way I could even count how many friends I've acquired during these travels. And for that, I am so grateful. From people who stayed with me for weeks on retreats to clerks I've chatted and connected with as I paid for my water bottle. Everyone has a story and if you stick around to hear it, you'll realize that there's so much more to all of these faces you pass on the street. Even in your hometown. How often do we not strike up a conversation due to judgement, or fear that we will be rejected?
If traveling has done anything for me, it's opened my eyes to the fact that everyone has something to give. I am no better than the homeless man on the street, and the celebrity in the club is no better than me.
Don't allow judgement, your fear or insecurities keep you from meeting incredible people and having unforgettable experiences or lifelong friendships.
Something surreal? Right now I could go to countless countries inside every continent (ok minus Antarctica) and have friends to meet back up with. -- And just like that I was off to London to meet with friends I had just met in Sicily.