A leisurely trip through Scandinavia was the perfect setting to practice the challenging but important skill of paying attention. Complete focus on where I am and what is happening. A noble but not so easy task to accomplish in our non-stop distracting digital culture.

Whether hearing church bells chime in Oslo, whistling with the birds in a Copenhagen town square, or watching the waterfalls run as we float along the Norwegian fjords, it became acutely clear that the opportunity to be present is always available.

The Viking Sky Eidfjord, Norway

Fifteen days onboard the swanky Viking Sky offered the ideal conditions to give it a whirl. Between exquisite meals, engaging daily port excursions and some indulgent spa and massage time, this tour through the Viking Homelands was a rich dose of nourishment and a landing pad for pure concentration.

One of my favorite views of the Fjords of Norway

With all my worldly needs met by the Viking crew, including 24/7 room service, morning yoga and nightly live music -there was no excuse not to try and just be here now. Wasn’t that the goal of any memorable journey, just pause, leave everything behind and enjoy each day as it unfolds?

It is this practice of paying attention that filled me with an endless curiosity and allowed me to see and appreciate the world in all its vibrant beauty. The quality of our mindfulness is a measure of the generosity to ourselves and to each moment and experience.

Gorgeous very late-night Stockholm sunset. Lots of long sunny days and short nights so far north

As each day arrived, this pure attention to simple conversations with fellow travelers, private journal entries, and engaging sightseeing tours, had me observing every detail and gave me a chance to completely immerse myself in life. A friendly smile to a kind staff person turned into a real conversation, late night dinners became a chance to savor every bite of a delicious evening with new friends.

Took a fascinating walk through the streets of Gdansk, Poland

An unexpected insight also bubbled up to the surface for me. This practice of being present opened other doorways for me to walk through. One big one was that while most of us have already arrived at some conclusion about who we are or who we have become, I suddenly found that by giving myself the permission to reconsider that assumption I could become a new version, maybe even an improved version of myself. We can stop always being the same person! We can choose to stay open and be courageous enough to decide to think differently than all the days before. Anything you may imagine is within reach, so this too is possible.

Making memories in Mariehamn, Finland

This journey through Scandinavia gave me the chance to let the world become a magical place to explore new vistas and new ideas – and it was splendid.

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