I am still in a place of awe and wonder from my trip to Europe. I know some may think it’s a little late to now be going to Europe; I am almost 40, but I am just glad that I had the opportunity to go. I learned so much about myself and these fascinating places and I want to share it all with you if you would grant me a little bit of your most valuable time. So, here’s what I learned from the trip and the process of preparing for it.

Cathedral in Milan Italy

The first lesson is that it is true, the universe or God or whatever you believe in, conspires to give you what you desire. I knew I was going to Europe since last year. Before having money for it, before booking any tickets, before knowing who my travel buddies would be, I knew I would go. And everything just flowed and worked out once I did let go and allowed the trip to manifest into whatever it was supposed to be. I didn’t specify exactly where I wanted to go , just that I would go to Europe in 2017 and it turned out to be the perfect trip for me. This lesson of believing that the universe conspires to manifest my desires I plan to use in other areas of my life such as my love life and my work.

Royal Palace Madrid Spain

The Second lesson I learned is that people want to connect: from all corners of the world, through language barriers, they want to find something in common, something to share, something to bond over. We try to bond over music, food, alcohol, experiences and love. This lesson was a surprise to me, I did not expect it. Folks wanted to tell their stories and learn ours. They wanted to share laughs and joys, as did I. We all just wanted to get along. This revelation fills my heart with such joy; it renews my faith in humanity and our connection.

The Third lesson is one that I knew from before, but I saw different variations of and that is that there are an infinite number of different forms of beauty in the world. From folks’ faces, to personalities, to art and paintings, to architecture, to food and a million more that I cannot name. This knowing or acquaintance with many forms of beauty helps me appreciate my own beauty, my own special quirks that make me uniquely who I am as other people’s beauty makes them uniquely them.

Photo credit Camille Sebreth (Madrid Spain)

The fourth lesson was I learned that I love living in a diverse city like Miami, but I have no problem visiting places that aren’t as diverse so as to show them different types of beauty. Some people will never see different people unless I did travel because they may not live in a region that’s diverse. Or they may only see one ethnicity in a certain station in life and not be exposed to all the other facets or kinds of people of said ethnicity. I think this is how stereotypes are formed.

Ibiza and friends

The fifth lesson I learned was to be open to new friends. I didn’t know how important new friends were until this trip. If it hadn’t been for new friends, I would never have gone on this trip. If it wasn’t for new friends, I wouldn’t have had help with translating the languages I wasn’t familiar with. If it wasn’t for new friends, I wouldn’t have laughed my head off and danced until I was breathless; I wouldn’t have explored new places; I wouldn’t have tried new foods; I wouldn’t have learned new historical facts. If it wasn’t for new friends, I would not have lived life, I wouldn’t have seen a dream come to fruition. So here’s to new friends and new memories. Here’s to making a ton of memories with new friends till they become lifelong friends and still making room for more new friends.

Ibiza with friends

The sixth lesson I learned was that I could conquer my fear of new places and experiences. Even though I knew I wanted to travel, when the time actually came to go, I was anxious about leaving my comfortable life. I didn’t want to leave my daughter, my dog or my home. I was worried something may happen on the trip. I was concerned about pick pockets. All kinds of things came to my mind to worry about, but I pushed past it and still ventured out to new lands. I discovered that nothing I was worried about was even a concern I needed to entertain. Nothing bad happened. I felt totally safe the entire time and now, I am more confident in myself as far as visiting new places.

photo credit Camille Sebreth (Madrid Spain)

All these lessons were life changing lessons. Had I not gone on this little adventure, I would not have learned these new things about myself, about life. I set out on a vacation not even thinking it would be an opportunity to grow and what happens? I grow! I am right now in this very moment very grateful for life and all it’s showing me. Cheers to all of us living our very best lives and following our bliss.

Happy in Ibiza!!! Photo credit: Camille Sebreth.

Originally published at medium.com