For the last ten years I had been stuck in a rut doing the same thing over and over again: wake up, go to work, do yoga, eat, sleep, and repeat. While everything in my life has been okay, I knew I needed to make some sort of change.
I was speaking with a friend who recommended I take a few months off to travel and see the world. To be totally honest, I have never been much of a traveler. Growing up in Los Angeles I felt like I had so much at my fingertips why bother venturing somewhere else?
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But one day I finally hit “the wall” and I knew I needed to shake things up. So I spoke with a travel agent and worked things out with my company so I could take a sabbatical. They were not very happy about it but it was either that or quitting.
So for two months I ventured off to Europe which included Paris, Rome, Barcelona, Madrid, Ibiza, Greece, Berlin, and London (not in that order). And I must say this…wow! These cities are amazing and the people are very friendly (although in France they really don’t like Americans very much).
While it was my goal to change things up and not stick to my normal routine, there is one thing I will never give up: coffee. So every morning I would make my way to a local coffee shop to get my morning brew and the one thing each of these shops would always have is their daily inspirational quote.
I suppose most coffee shops have these too in America but for some reason I never really took notice of them. I suppose because my mind was focused on work I never paid much attention. But being in a vacation mindset, I had the frame of mind to finally take these in and discovered a handful that really hit home for me.
1. “Do not dwell in the past, do not dream of the future, concentrate the mind on the present moment.”
This of course hit home for me since I was traveling and reflected the theme of my life at that moment. Back home I would get lost in all of the busy things to do I rarely lived in the moment.
2. “Do not take life too seriously. You will never get out of it alive.” – Elbert Hubbard
Looking back now I see just how serious I was back at home and I new that when I got back I needed to change things up.
3. “The path to our destination is not always a straight one. We go down the wrong road, we get lost, we turn back. Maybe it doesn’t matter which road we embark on. Maybe what matters is that we embark.” ― Barbara Hall
This inspirational quote was like someone speaking to me right at this moment. I was in London at the time and it hit me like a ton of bricks!
4. “When one door of happiness closes, another opens; but often we look so long at the closed door that we do not see the one that has opened for us.” — Helen Keller
I think I pondered on this quote for about an hour at the coffee shop and people must have been looking at me as I had already finished my coffee. It dawned on me how I never saw certain opportunities in my life because I had always focused on what I lost instead of what I gained.
5. “There is one quality which one must possess to win, and that is definiteness of purpose, the knowledge of what one wants, and a burning desire to possess it.” Napoleon Hill
This quote made me realize that I really did not know what I want from life. So I spent the next three weeks really contemplating what I wanted to do and when I got home, I did it. I immediately quit my job (they were very angry), and decided to become a school teacher.