Greetings from my hostel in Ljubljana, Slovenia (pronounced: lube-lee-ana). I've just arrived after two bus rides from Croatia, and get to spend the next 2 days exploring the capital and Bled (look it up, it looks amazing). I spent the past week in Croatia between three different cities and man was it needed! After three weeks of churches, history, and architecture I needed a break, and Croatia provided the perfect reprieve. Before getting to Croatia I was a bit bummed about my Texas friends leaving, and uncertain how the next immediate part of the trip would go. Would I make friends like that again? Would I have as much fun? For the first time since the trip began I started projecting into the future and worrying over stuff I couldn't control
...Which is exactly the kind of crap I do at home that I'm trying to get away from. While I was bummed that my friends had left, I think I was more upset with myself for letting their departure affect me so much and take away from my present experiences. Instead of focusing on what I was seeing in Zagreb (which wasn't that much) I was reliving the fun times we had in Vienna and Budapest, or, was worrying how the next 2+ weeks were going to go.
As I said, there wasn't much in Zagreb, so I left early on a sleeper train at 11 PM bound for Split after my first night. Unfortunately, I didn't sleep...at all...on the "sleeper" train. I tossed and turned, couldn't get comfortable, and eventually gave up and just stared out my window. It was 5 AM. And as I stared out the window, the first colors of the sun were slowing peaking through the mountains. I realized that I was getting to watch the sunrise.
Over the next hour as I sat unmoving by my place at the window, listening to some calming, quiet piano music, I had a thought:
This is everything.
Right now, in this moment, watching this sunrise, and listening to this music, is everything I want my life to be right now.
I recited that line to myself a few times during the last hours of that train ride. And again as I walked along the ocean on my way to my hostel.
This is everything.
What I love about this phrase is that it forces the here and now. It forces the present. The term "everything" encompasses 100% or all that exists of something. There is no room for anything else. There is no room for reliving memories in the past. There is no room for worrying about the future. Your everything is exactly what is in front of you right now.
By reciting that line to myself as I watched the sunrise that morning, I was able to bring myself out of my own funk and put myself back into my present. I could once again appreciate, and revel, and be in awe of this journey I am on. I was on a sleeper train...in Croatia...watching the sunrise. How awesome is that!?
That line- This is everything - my new mantra for when my brain wanders a little too far into the past or a little too ahead in the future, is keeping me in the moment and keeping me focused on what is in front of me right now.
My week in Croatia provided the much needed breather and refresher I needed at this point in my trip both from a sight-seeing perspective as well as a mental one. I have had no agenda the past week except to get some sun, lay on the beach, and go out and party with new friends - all of which I got to do.
Seeing the beauty of these beaches and these islands was such a welcome change from all of the ancient gothic, Roman, baroque (etc) architecture I have been seeing. While all of this architecture and history is impressive, sometimes I think we need to be reminded of the natural beauty of the world.
After a week of relaxing and decompressing, and constantly having moments to remind myself that what I was doing, and what I was seeing was everything; I felt lighter, more refreshed, and ready to enjoy the last week of my trip.
I am not ready for there to be only one week left of the trip. I am not ready for this journey to be over. I am not ready to leave this experience just yet. These past 4 weeks have been everything, and I am not ready to leave everything.
I'm in Slovenia for 2 full days then heading to Salzburg and ending in Munich for the start of Oktoberfest. The fact that I have started to say "I'm at the end of my trip" instead of "I'm just starting" has been hard. And I'm sure it won't get any easier.
Until next time...