…. Frames can’t catch you when you’re moving like that – Jack Johnson.
A throwback, yes; but it fits the theme of this post so well…
A few weeks ago, my wife and I traveled to Europe for a much-needed vacation. I know people say that all the time, but it’s true – it was much-needed and it was amazing. I’m not going to write about our entire adventure here, I’ll get to that eventually. Consider this part one of a multi-post series about our adventures (alternatively, if you can’t wait, you can check out my Instagram feed where I documented much of our trip).
The reason I say this trip was much needed is exactly what the title eludes to – we were moving too fast.
Today, I am writing about one of my favorite memories from the trip; and that’s tough to say for such an incredible trip:
The day we arrived in Zurich, it was pretty early in the morning (relatively) – we landed somewhere around 8:30 AM local time (CET). First thing we realized was that we made a big mistake – I left my computer at home to avoid working… normally, this would be a good thing; and, in fact, it was! However, all of my notes on how to get to the hotel from the airport in Zurich were on my computer!
Neither my wife nor I speak German, the predominant language in Zurich – so we can’t read any signs or communicate with a number of people. We ask a few people for help and eventually give up on trying to find someone to explain the trains we need to take to the area near our hotel. Rather, we walk out to the taxi line – big mistake number two. (Fun fact: Switzerland is expensive. I mean, we knew it would be a little bit more expensive than Italy and Spain, but who knew it would be almost three times the cost, for everything…)
So, we take a cab all of about 10 km, which ends up costing us about CHF 75 (about $78) – there goes about half of our Swiss cash… oops, didn’t plan that well! We’re just hours into our trip and have realized two big mistakes – uh oh, not off to a great start.
We get to the hotel and can’t check in yet because it is too early. Luckily, one of the hotel desk staff speaks English quite well and gives us directions on how to get around town.
Now, we just got off of a transatlantic flight and are now six hours ahead of our normal schedule – we are exhausted, so we wanted to take it a little easy. We walk to the train station nearby and hop on the train towards the lake, grabbing some snacks and some water along the way.
We hop off the train near the lake, find a small park with some benches and sit.
For about two, maybe three hours, we did nothing but sit on a park bench… and it was perfect. The weather was great, the view was amazing, the people were nice (even if we couldn’t understand them), nobody was in a hurry; everyone was just living life – one step at a time. The most incredible piece of this moment is the number of others who remained in the park with us for the duration.
It’s tough to imagine that we are in the same world, and so close to one another, yet our cultures are so different. I’ve been fortunate enough to experience many cultures in my lifetime, and hope to experience more in the future. If there is one thing I’ve learned from this specific adventure (accumulating on lessons from past travels), it’s that we move too quickly and prioritize many unreasonable things in our lives that create stress for us.
For the first time in a long time, we both let go of all of our stresses – we were calm, cool and collective (and some of us were napping… ahem). No worries about work, chores, finances, obligations – we had no plans (okay, maybe one or two), and we could take on Europe at our own pace. What a great feeling! Even that stress that we built up earlier upon our arrival – all gone!
Looking back, it’s tough to explain the feelings in words – but this moment really helped set the tone for our vacation: relaxed, and it had a huge impact on the rest of the trip. We both just let go of everything we had thought was important and got to spend time with each other – not to be cheesy, but it helped us see the importance of each other and spending quality time together.
Sitting on a random bench in a park with a view was almost therapeutic for us. We ended up going back the next day and hanging out again for another hour or two, just because we could! We somehow ended up sitting with another couple from the US and talked for a while with them – coincidentally enough, they, too, enjoyed the laid-back nature of being able to sit on a bench and relax (HA, who wouldn’t).
Maybe you’ve felt this feeling before; maybe you want to find it again. I strongly recommend you go searching for it – everyone could use a little vacation. The trick (or challenge) is to keep your tranquility, happiness, love, or whatever that feeling is to you when you return home!
Even if you can’t take a trip somewhere – take some time and learn to slow down. It will definitely help in the long run!