wise words

Let the Journey Unfold

Does traveling just fuel your wanderlust?

It does for me. On one hand, there’s no place like home, and I’m usually okay with coming back to NYC. But on the flip side, there’s nothing like traveling. And spending time in places that are very different from NYC reminds me that there’s so much more to experience. It’s a big world out there.

This weekend, I had a fabulous time at the shore. The house we rented was much newer and nicer than it appeared online (and in this promo video!), and we had amazing beach weather almost every day. Plus, we grilled most of our meals and went out for the long-awaited blue crab dinner—two luxuries that are pretty rare in the city! It was so hard to leave—I wanted a few more days (or weeks) there.

So when I got back to NYC, all I could think about was planning more trips. (The best way to stave off post-vacation blues!) As I was browsing various travel Tumblrs today, both stoking and soothing the wanderlust, I stumbled upon this image. Its words rang especially true:

maptia manifesto

(Image via Maptia; found via National Geographic Traveler’s Tumblr)

Another Reason to Do What You Love

…because that’s how you’ll learn the most, according to none other than Albert Einstein, himself.

I recently stumbled upon a beautiful letter he wrote to his son, Hans Albert, age 11, back in 1915. In it, he alludes to the separation between them (Hans Albert was living in another city with Einstein’s estranged wife), as well as the theory of relativity, which he’d just completed. But he wraps up the note with this sage advice:

I am very pleased that you find joy with the piano. This and carpentry are in my opinion for your age the best pursuits, better even than school. Because those are things which fit a young person such as you very well. Mainly play the things on the piano which please you, even if the teacher does not assign those. That is the way to learn the most, that when you are doing something with such enjoyment that you don’t notice that the time passes. I am sometimes so wrapped up in my work that I forget about the noon meal. . .

einstein

So true. Doing something you love and seeing what you’ve learned or how you’ve grown in the process is really one of the most gratifying things.

(Photo via Pinterest; quote found via Brain Pickings)

Words to Live By

Apparently, half the world has already read the Holstee Manifesto; according to their site, it’s been viewed more than 60 million times!

I may be late to the game, but I certainly understand why the manifesto has been shared so much. The words definitely resonated with me—it’s the philosophy I’ve been trying to live by, though spoken much more eloquently than my inner monologue! Read on—and get inspired:

The_Holstee_Manifesto

Happy Thursday!

(Image via Holstee; found via Swiss Miss)

Willpower

Charles Duhigg’s book, The Power of Habit, has been on my reading list for several months. And last week, I was lucky enough to hear Duhigg speak at a conference I attended.

His talk was fascinating. He detailed how we form habits—by basically getting sucked into a “cue > routine > reward” loop that we end up repeating day after day. He also explained how we can break habits, by changing the reward to interrupt the loop. (All of that in detail here.)

But the point that most resonated with me was about willpower. Duhigg mentioned that in children, willpower is the one trait that most corresponds with future success. Willpower, studies have shown, is a greater predictor of success than intelligence, socio-economic background, education, etc. It’s strong stuff.

Over the past year, I’ve been focusing on the power of positivity and optimism. Mainly, how really, truly believing in yourself and your abilities can make things happen. It hasn’t been easy. It’s so much easier to fall back into the old habit of self-doubt.

Now that I know willpower has scientifically been proven to make things happen, I’m going to use that to interrupt that “cue > routine > reward” loop. When I feel self-doubt creeping in, I’m going to remember that the payoff—whatever goal I have in mind—will be realized as long as I keep believing. That will hopefully change my negative thinking habit, for good.

Duhigg also mentioned that habits are easiest to modify during times of change. So if you’re in a period of upheaval, then all the more reason to stay positive. Good things will be coming soon!

believe in yourself a little more

Have you read The Power of Habit? What did you think about it?

(Image via Pen and Paper—first found via my ballet teacher’s Facebook page!)

A Great Quote to Describe Traveling (and Life, in General)

Back in April, I posted about Obvious State, an Etsy shop, run by writer/illustrator Evan Robertson, that sells gorgeous illustrations of classic literature quotations. It’s been a while since I’d visited the site, but the other day, My Modern Met ran a post showcasing several prints. This one stuck in my mind:

Original Illustration, Charles Dickens quotation

I thought that was such a great way to describe travel. I’ve definitely found that no matter how bad a situation I’ve been in, I’ve never looked back on a trip—or a place—and decided that it was just worthless. In fact, overall, I have nothing but positive memories about pretty much everywhere I’ve been. And so many of my trips were far from perfect: I’ve gotten seasick (or just sick, in general) in more places than I can count, feared for my safety on several occasions (like the time I thought we were being kidnapped in Costa Rica…or when we visited Nicaragua’s Corn Islands during a spate of violent attacks on tourists), nearly froze to death on a few occasions (in the Bolivian desert…and in freakishly cold weather in Hawaii!). And so on.

But it’s those stressful/annoying/uncomfortable situations that make the best stories once you’re back home. They’re often the ones that define a place for you. They’re also usually the ones where you can look back and laugh at how ridiculous you were—and how you’re so much smarter now. 😉 (And yes, I know, I’m lucky that nothing really bad has ever happened to me while traveling.)

Robertson, himself, was thinking of his own travels when he designed the print. Here’s how he describes it:

A traveler fades to black, leaving behind winding paths of cobblestones in the street. Inspired by one of my favorite places to visit and to leave and to revisit in Paris.

And, on a deeper level (cue the dramatic music), that Dickens quote applies to life, in general, as well. I’ve found that once you truly let something go and leave it behind, then you can start to forgive and move on. And that’s definitely something to remember!

(The quotation, by the way, is from the Dickens novel Little Dorrit. I hadn’t heard of it before!)

(Image via Obvious State)

A New Beginning in November

backflip

You probably wouldn’t have guessed from my entries over the past few weeks, but October was a bit of a tough month for me. Nothing spectacularly bad or life-changing happened. I was just under the weather for almost four weeks, which felt like an eternity—and not feeling well for that long had me feeling down and out of sorts. (First I had a horrible cold, then caught whatever Mal had at the Grand Canyon, then had my wisdom teeth removed and experienced a complication with one, then the hurricane hit…)

I’ve found that when I’m feeling down about something, it helps me to look ahead—literally, to flip through the months in my iPhone calendar—and choose a date when I know I will be out of the situation and feeling much better. And while I’m moving forward, I’ll look to that date as often as I need to and remember that things are improving. Earlier this year, I was going through a particularly trying time. I gave myself three months to feel mostly better and six months to be 100% healed. This time, I didn’t need nearly as long. I chose November 1 as my all-better day.

Sure, illnesses and natural disasters are out of my control. But just reminding myself that happier days are ahead did boost my mood a great deal. And now that we’re a few days into November, I can happily report that my colds are gone, all my wisdom teeth have healed and I was super-lucky to have made it through the hurricane without any major troubles.

This quote, which I stumbled upon via Shoko’s blog a few weeks ago, puts it perfectly:

no feeling it final

Definitely wise words to keep in mind!

How do you deal with trying times? I’d love to hear your thoughts. And thanks to everyone who reached out to me during the hurricane—I was touched by your concerns and good wishes!

(Top photo via Travel, Culture, Books and Tea—though if you know the photographer or the setting of this shot, please share! Bottom image via Shoko.)