Recently came back from a holiday in México (México City, Taxco and San Miguel de Allende to be specific). Had a great time!
What did I learn that I can apply to my daily life?
1. Concentrate on the enjoyment and let all decisions stem from that desire for joy. Because I knew this was a holiday and that I wanted to enjoy it as much as possible, I found myself concentrating on ways I could make every moment enjoyable. Every decision I made was made with enjoyment on my mind. When I started focusing on anything other than joy (there were a couple of times), I let go of that negativity much more quickly than I did at home, because I wanted to get back to enjoying my experience.
2. With enjoyment being my focus, I found the way to enjoy things most is to be open, go with the flow and detach from expectations. It just makes the experience so much more enjoyable.
Being vegan and going on any trip can be daunting, especially a trip to México where the consumption of animal products is almost a must. I could’ve spent a ton of time researching where and what to eat, but I didn’t. I consciously chose to be flexible; flexible enough to be willing to be vegetarian if it came down to it. Fortunately it didn’t. My wife (also vegan) and I ate at regular restaurants for the whole trip, readily finding vegan options or asking for slight modifications to “veganize” some dishes. We also fortunately had the opportunity to make our own food in my in-laws’ apartment, from ingredients we picked up at the market.
Being in a foreign country and speaking little Spanish forced me to take a back seat and sort of go along for the ride. I was much more of an observer and I found myself having to trust the decisions of my wife and her family, all of whom are Mexican. I just had to trust that I would enjoy myself even if I wasn’t the one making most of the decisions. And you know what? I did. The situations may not have been ideal all the time, but that didn’t matter. I was going to enjoy myself regardless. I had very little resistance to my experience during the whole trip. I am proud to say I took almost all of it in stride.
3. Once again, with enjoyment being my focus, I only focused on what I could do in the moment, rather than what I couldn’t do. I’m not the richest person in the world, and I couldn’t do everything you would think I needed to do to enjoy myself. It didn’t matter. The little I could do was enough. I enjoyed the little things and didn’t miss missing the big things. Would I enjoy the big things if I could? Of course. But the fact that I didn’t feel the need to experience them was fantastic and a huge departure from my daily life. (We did get to stay in an amazing little eco bed and breakfast in San Miguel though, complete with solar panels and organic roof top garden- the Hotel Hacienda El Santuario- thanks to my in-laws and Groupon ;) )
4. Appreciate what I have. Experiencing the poverty down in México- all of which comes down to lack of opportunities- made me realize how many opportunities I have that I take for granted every day. I have opportunities to learn things they cannot. I have opportunities to create things they cannot. I have opportunities to experience things they cannot. And I regularly looked past these opportunities before my trip. Not anymore. I will make the most of the opportunities available to me.
Now that I’m back home I am making the choice to implement what I’ve learned on this trip. We’re all travelers in Life and we’re all here for our enjoyment. With the right mentality Life itself can be like a long holiday. I thought to myself that if my holiday extended to the length of my whole life I would naturally get bored of being a tourist after a while and want to create something. I would naturally like to experience challenge, learn something and just grow as a person. I mean how long can i look at tourist sites and chill at cafes? I have no doubt that the natural rhythms of Life would direct me where I would like to go, just as they did during my holiday. The work I would do would be part of my joy and would be a part of the activities of my extended holiday called Life.
So why do I see the regular activities of my life any differently? Why do I resist the activities that bring me joy right now? I feel it’s only because of my mentality of Life. It’s as if I believe people (including myself) wouldn’t ever want to create, learn, or grow, and instead are only looking for leisure. I guess my view of what is enjoyable and fun was too limited.
This life experience is temporary, just as a holiday is, so why don’t we create an enjoyable experience rather than a miserable one? Why don’t we assume that we are living only to enjoy ourselves, just as we go on holiday only to enjoy ourselves? Why don’t we detach from specific expectations and be open to whatever is most enjoyable in this moment? We are all foreigners to the Unknown in Life, so why do we not have some flexibility, humility, respect, vulnerability, and trust that we would be forced to have if we were to enjoy traveling in any foreign country? Why do we not treat each other as fellow travelers, all here to enjoy ourselves, and our world as the ultimate vacation spot that we wouldn’t dare dream of destroying with negativity, waste and pollution?