As an entrepreneur juggling multiple businesses, I’m driven, goal-oriented, and productive. My to-do lists are endless. I’ve trained myself to shift gears from one task to the next, and get stuff done like a boss.
To be honest, I couldn’t imagine living any other way—I thrive on it. Unfortunately, being on the go 24/7 means I don’t always have time to stop to smell those proverbial roses.
Lake Como, Italy
That’s where travel comes in. For me, it’s a much-needed escape from my routine. When I’m out of go-go-go mode, I find it easier to pause and truly take notice of the small, everyday things that I often miss.
Of course, being exposed to new sights and sounds helps. There is inspiration in architecture, history, cuisine, clothes, and of course—people!
I revel in picking out similarities and differences between cultures. I draw parallels between people across the globe, who go about their day-to-day activities just as I go about mine, when I’m at home. When I travel, I become an observer.
I think Henry Miller put it best when he said, “One’s destination is never a place, but a new way of seeing things.”
To say that it’s the journey that counts may be a cliché, but I’m reminded of it each time I take a trip. If you’re like me, you have a list of places you want to visit—from museums and restaurants to national parks and nature sites—to make the “most” of your vacation. But so often, it’s the walk across the city to the museum or the hike to that waterfall in the jungle that is the most rewarding.
Kuang Si waterfall near Luang Prabang, Laos
Of course, travelling in a new country can quickly become overwhelming. Immersing yourself in new sights, smells, sounds, and cultural norms or practices takes you out of your comfort zone. While that’s generally a good thing, it’s normal to feel overstimulated or just plain worn out.
When that happens to me, I tend to step back. Creating space for mindful moments makes it possible to process and reflect on what travel means to you.
For me, this revelation came on a recent trip to Istanbul.
Istanbul was absolutely magical. There was so much to experience.
Some of my favourite moments were visiting the incomparable Blue Mosque, or the hours we spent ambling through the Grand Bazaar.
The Blue Mosque at sunrise, Istanbul
I was mesmerized by the ritual that goes into making Turkish coffee, and the hamam (Turkish bath) experience was incomparable.
One night we even spent an hour tracking down a street vendor rumored by locals to have the best doner in the city.
But my favourite thing about Istanbul—and the thing I’ll always remember about that trip—wasn’t on my long list of things to do and places to see. It was something simple: mornings with my husband.
My husband was simply enthralled with the view from our hotel room, and insisted that we sit and take it all in with a coffee before we went down to the breakfast buffet. He decided that that time would be “phone free.”
Annoyed, on that first day I barely lasted two minutes without my phone. The next day, I made it to three minutes. On the third day, our mutual silence led to a fun and reflective conversation—our breakfast was put off by a half an hour.
But by the last day, we almost missed breakfast altogether. We wanted to savour our last moments sipping coffee and staring out the window—in other words, just being there together.
To me, that’s what it’s all about.