Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Vacation and Life Lessons

I've been neglecting my blogging (and basically everything else) as I've been traveling in Peru for the last 11 days. First, let me start off by saying it was an amazing trip and I highly suggest visiting this magnificently surprising country. With that out of the way, I am winding back to what I've decided will be the theme for this blog for the time being - my journey at this challenging time in my life. During my travels, I learned several important lessons, not just about travel, but about life. Some I learned by doing things right, some the hard way, and most a combination of the two.  These might be obvious lessons to others. In fact, some are tactics I know quite well logically, but holding to them is easier said than done, as the cliche goes. I'm working on working on these upon my return. And yes, I realize that working on working on something isn't exactly a sparkling inspiratory phrase, but it's the most brutally honest and if there's one thing I am, it's brutally honest.

Resort in Urubamba, Peru 

1. It's all about right now. Yes, we hear this so often in various forms but I think one needs to truly experience it in full effect before comprehending it on more than a surface level. Vacation is a perfect time to practice this. It doesn't last forever, or even for very long. If you don't enjoy each moment of it, you'll be looking at the pictures vaguely remembering a few details and wondering where the time went. Much of the time, I was able to do this and it helped create so many invaluable experiences. The times I failed at this - as anyone making a major transition in their life is bound to do - it cost me, and I regret that I wasn't able to just enjoy the current moment.

2. Prioritize. Life is all about priorities. You never want to be so focused on which outfit to wear each day of your trip that you miss the actual experiences you went for. Luckily, I didn't literally learn from this specific example, as I would much rather be out and about than picking out an outfit any day (as one can often tell from my outfits).  Once again the limited time one has on vacation is a great teacher of choosing what's most important and where to focus your energies and, equally as important, where not to.

3. Make sure your motives align with your actions. Using travel as an example, don't just go see some famous landmark because everyone says you should, when really you'd rather be exploring some off-the- beaten-path neighborhood that only locals enjoy. Same with life. Look at your motives, and look at your actions. Do they align? Don't only look at them from your own point of view because of course your point of view always seems right to you. Look at them through the eyes of others as well - not specifically to appease others, but also because it may help you to see the situation better as a whole, and be more effective in the long run.

My boot after traipsing through the mud in the Peruvian Amazon Rainforest
4.  Step out of your comfort zone, even if you have to tiptoe. One of my stops on this trip was the Amazon Rainforest. Adventurous right? Before you agree, let me let you in on a secret - my "cabana" had a private plunge pool. But still, the rainforest experience was a bit of an important step for me. Here are a few reasons why: I'm quite allergic to mosquito bites. Needless to say, the rainforest is a haven for mosquitos. I don't like to rough it, at all. We didn't have electricity for about 4 hours of the day and 6 hours at night, including not even a fan in our room at 90+ degrees and about 120% humidity. We also had crawly creatures in our room and bathroom. I strongly dislike and feel uncomfortable in group tours and activities. We had to do some excursions with a group and we had scheduled meal times. My point is, it wasn't a gigantic leap but it wasn't the skyscraper Westin in bustling Lima that we'd had at the start of the trip. I didn't have complete control over everything and I dealt with this, even really enjoyed the overall experience (though still not the crawly things in the bathroom). This small example of enjoying something where I didn't have complete control is, in fact, huge.

I'm sure I've learned more over the past 11 days, but you can only work on so many things at once.  I'm happy to discuss in further detail with anyone that has learned important life lessons while traveling. In the mean time, stay tuned for another blog soon, possibly tomorrow! 


  1. great advice, Maya! Sounds like a great vacation that you were able to change your perspective on things... I think that is what the best vacations always do. Brutal honesty rockest. :)

  2. Thank you, Margo! Changing my perspective is easier said than done, but I'm taking these lessons and working on them. Had a bit of a set back on Tuesday, but also had a pretty big a-ha (sp?) moment yesterday which I'm going to be sharing in a future post so I'm hoping I'm on the right track now. I hope you are doing well!!