There’s a moment. I’m sure it hits everyone who uproots themselves from what’s completely normal to them. But this moment is something I’ve never really experienced before. It’s electric. And in the same way you get energy coursing through your veins, it’s also a bit shocking at times.
You see, as much as I left myself out of the future and came back to the present, I couldn’t help but think of how it was going to be when I got here.
The truth is, it has been everything and more than what I could have ever anticipated. That’s how life tends to be when you let go of trying to figure it all out and just show up in it. It surprises you. It sweeps you off your feet and brings you to places you never thought you would ever dream of.
As I walk through the streets of Florence, I will make a wrong turn and come across a monument that stops me in my tracks.
How many of these “wrong turns” do we end up making in our lives…thinking we are heading in the wrong way but in fact we are going in the direction we’e always been meant to travel?
I would argue many.
We can only see what we can see. As far as our minds can stretch that’s what is possible for us. But there’s so much more possible. There’s so much more that can happen beyond what we see. In fact, it’s probably infinitely more. It’s more than you could ever imagine.
But that takes some risk – risk in being willing to step into what you do not know and leave the safety of everything you do know. A risk that I wasn’t willing to fully take up until last week when I stepped onto that plane. When I stepped off…I knew that my feet being on untraveled ground was going to be an absolute game changer for my life.
I had imagined in my mind for such a long time going and doing these things and seeing these places, but never being able to get to that spot where I would pack up the ceremonial bag and be on my way. And now that I’m here, it has taken me a little bit of time to finally adjust to the fact that I am indeed…here. I started off the first three days living and creating surreal memories, and now it’s time to step into creating some more.
There is a pressure I can feel when I’m here. It’s like this stream that tugs at your body when I’m around the floods of tourists who are buzzing throughout the streets trying to capture every single possible photo for their Instagram and not actually living in the moment. But that pull can also make you feel like you’re missing out on something.
When you look for what you’re missing out on..there’s nothing.
In fact, it’s the opposite way around. Because how many of those people could enter in a Basilica and stare at the ceilings and get completely lost, if they wanted to, for a month straight? How many of them can’t actually get comfortable with vibrations that are emanating from the streets…and know the gentle touch of the night lights as you wander away?
I have at times compared my journey to the journeys of others and what they are up to. But I think some advice from one of the most famous photographers in the world – a piece of advice I picked up in an advanced photography book – says it all…
“F/8 and be there.”
I think what truly matters…is being there. Being in the place. Taking photos but not putting pressure on yourself to get a 1,000 likes…but just taking a photo that resonates with you in some way. There are so many external pressures we face on the day to day – especially in places where mass floods of people are moving in a general way and not engaging in much presence at all.
It makes me feel as if I’m moving upstream.
But that’s what I’m here for – to go against the current. To show people a different way of living. To be more and more present as time goes on.
I’ll end with this…
When I was little, my pet dog Buttercup was my best friend. We used to wander around the yard imagining all sorts of scenarios – defeating dragons, climbing mountains, traversing foreign lands. In fact, I named her WonderDog. Eventually, it became “The Adventures Of WanderBoy And WonderDog.” I know if she was here now, she would be so happy to see that I’ve gone on our greatest adventure yet.
Maybe she is. Let’s go have an adventure.