This summer I packed my bags and flew to Rome with my family. My grandparents planned the trip with Seabourn for all of us to cruise the Mediterranean. I knew this cruise line is lovely and I was so grateful that I was going to visit some places on my top ten list, but still for some reason I wasn't as excited as the rest of them. In recent years, I had flight anxiety on long trips. Maybe this was why? I also didn't like the idea of my little sister with a nut allergy being stranded in the middle of the sea... However, the flight was a breeze and the cruise line was very accommodating to the allergy! The Mediterranean water was healing and the food I had became some of my favorite dishes. I got quality time with family that I normally don't get to see days in a row, and I met people that I hope will be part of my life forever. On my travels, I would write down things that I learned. I wanted to share a few of them with you here. Cruising around Italy, France, and Spain ended up being part of a summer I'll never forget!
1 - Always Journal: Before leaving, I bought a special journal just for this trip. My grandmother also gave each of us journals. The first day, on the plane, mine begins. When we arrived in Rome I was extremely jet lagged and could hardly eat for a solid 24 hours because of it. I wrote that. The next 10 (much better!) days I would write about statues I saw, churches I visited, moments I experienced, people I met, things that were said and food I ate. Looking back, it really helps me to decipher what happened on each day. Without the journal, it all blends together even just a month out.
2 -Treasure Moments: I won't lie. As I type this one I'm already getting teary. The day we got on the ship my sister and I looked at each other funny when we realized how many older people were getting onboard. These are smaller ships with a maximum of 600 passengers in comparison to the massive 2,000 person ones you see in America. The next night my sister, my cousin and I set out to find friends and we met some of the greatest, most down-to-Earth people. Since the cruise began and ended in Europe, some of our friends are from places nearby like Belgium, the Netherlands and England. We made Archie from England taste sweet tea, listened to Dutch music, and played their version of what-are-the-odds. Learning bits about their culture each day was intriguing and getting to know their hearts was even better. From arguing about Celsius vs Fahrenheit to dancing under the stars, there were many memories made. I treasure simple moments and wish I could have stopped time.
3 - Be Present: Americans especially are so quick to get sucked into their phones, myself included. Because we were in the middle of the sea, service was horrible for us. At first that was a downer, but after that day I realized how freeing it was. I didn't need to know what anyone else was doing. I didn't need to be constantly communicating with anyone that wasn't beside me. There is so much power in being present and seeing things fully instead of catching only a glimpse. I was smelling, watching, feeling, and experiencing new places. I challenge you to do the same.
4 - Less is More: I'm an over-packer. Well, to many people's standards I'm an over-packer. I like to pack enough that I have options. My style perfectly reflects my mood, and in order to be true to this I have to pack a few outfits for each day. However, what I did notice was how much/what I used each day in terms of clothes, cosmetics, and everything else. I had everything I needed with me, which made me realize how much excess I had at home. When I arrived home (& got some rest..) I started to clean out. I'm still in the process and have already given away bags and bags and bags of my things to people who DO need them!
5 - Travel Often: Something else I'm thankful for about this trip is our ability to see so many places in such a short amount of time. I think this is the beauty of cruises. Each day was a new port. Now I know where I want to go back and spend more time! On the trip I couldn't stop thinking about how LUCKY I am to have a career that allows me to adventure. I can write from anywhere in the world. Expect many more travel posts to come. I have a list of places to spend time at in the next couple of years, but I also want to hear YOURS! Send me a message via Instagram with your Top 5 travel destinations! @_baileysophia