He told me this story after he had asked me why I decided to travel to Australia. I told him I wanted to learn more about myself and experience a new part of the world, while opening my eyes to all the things back home that I truly appreciate. I know that I learn about what I value most once I'm out on the road for a prolonged period of time. It gives me time to reflect and learn how to incorporate things into my life that fulfill me. The funny thing is, like the rich man in the story, I often find that it takes a trip around the world to open my eyes to what's been in front of me the entire time.
Here's a couple things I'm learning:
-I need to do a better job surrounding myself with optimistic, like-minded people. They say in your mid-20s you start to reevaluate the people you have in your life and begin to weed out the duds. I've cut out a handful of toxic people over the past year, but when I get back to Chicago, I'm looking forward to really solidifying my Positive People Crew :)
-I need to find a foundation or organization I can volunteer for on a regular basis that incorporates something I'm passionate about. I'm thinking something to do with kids and/or health and wellness. It's the best way to meet more like-minded people and give back! In fact, when I volunteered this past weekend, I met Pip (the Brisbane version of myself). I just wish I could pack her in my suitcase and bring her home!
-Travel is a huge part of my life. In fact, it's essential that I continue to keep it in my life. Additionally, I can now confirm that I want Chicago as my homebase. I want to be able to establish a life back home in Chicago and be able to take frequent trips to California and then one big trip a year (I'm thinking my first one when I get home will be Seattle, Portland, and Vancouver!).
-When I get home, I want to start a dinner and wine club where we pick a country or area of the world and everyone brings either a dish or wine and teaches everyone else a fun fact about what they brought. Then, we listen to music from that country and/or watch a movie. I love this kind of stuff! AND it's way better than spending my Friday and Saturday nights at bars :)
-I want to master a Chicago city tour. I'm passionate about my city and I want to share this passion with people coming into the city. If I can lead tours in other countries and still maintain this passion, I can't even imagine how much it will show when I'm leading Chicago tours...
-I want to become fluent in another language, more than likely Spanish. How cool would it be to accomplish something like this? I have Rosetta Stone for Spanish...I need to start using it.
Before I left for Australia, my brother wrote me a letter and reminded me that "Home is where the heart is." Yup. My heart will always be in Chicago. And I'm now a better person for getting out and exploring- this tends to be the way I learn best.