As I've mentioned a couple times (see here and here), this trip is meant to usher in changes to our life and rhythm back in the states. The space and time here is intended to be used for us to prioritize what we value as a couple and encourage/push us to implement real and lasting change in our "normal" life. Create a new normal.
We love Europe and specifically Italy for several reasons, some are easily transferred, others not. We can't turn Denver into Italy, and despite our love for travel, it isn't currently on our radar to try and make this a full time deal. So, how do we change or influence our USA life for the better? We had our first full conversation about this tonight. We brainstormed the lessons and priorities we want to bring back with us to Denver. How can we pack Italy in a suitcase?
Here is a brief list and explanation of our current ideas:
- Walking: Make walking a priority. We walk everywhere here. In a day, we easily put 5+ miles on our feet doing "normal" stuff. Going to the grocery, walking to a boutique, heading to language school. We love the activity level of just living life over here. Our goal when we return is to buy a house close enough to walk SOMEWHERE. Grocery store, coffee shop, restaurant, somewhere. And then actually do it.
- Balance: We have easily slipped into a nice, slow rhythm here. Slow mornings, long walks, leisurely meals, that sort of thing. This isn't always possible, but we would like to find a balance between having an active life without being hurried.
- Traditions: Family traditions are fun for me around the holidays. I grew up with a few, as did Adam, that add to the Christmas celebration. I would love to see us create new family traditions surrounding the holidays, with or without kids. We probably won't come to Italy every year, but we could alway make fresh pasta on Christmas Eve. Doesn't sound too bad to me.
- Wardrobe: For a 7 week trip, packing seemed a bit daunting. I had to pare down my wardrobe to only items which provided a lot of versatility and wear. Adam did the same bringing a number of shirts that double for everyday wear and running. We have quickly discovered we don't NEED a lot of extras. I love the idea of a minimalist, quality, functional wardrobe instead of an overly trendy or cheap wardrobe. It isn't a novel idea, but I need to really focus on building a wardrobe like that. I am naturally drawn to simple clothes and clean lines, so why not embrace it!
- Quality Time: Over here we have obviously had a lot of quality time. Sometimes quality time has to be created and prioritized. We can easily spend a lot of time together without it being quality. Finding time to make dinner together, take a walk, put down our phones, ask each other questions, and so on is a great way to continue to make space at home.
- Second Language: This one we talk about almost every time we travel. We both want to learn a new language and learn it well. We are in language school over here for Italian, but will probably focus attention on Spanish back home. A bit more practical and Adam already has a pretty solid base. (Fun fact for you, I took 6 years of Japanese in high school and college. Crazy and completely impractical I know). It is amazing to watch many Europeans easily flip between 2 or sometimes 3+ languages. We want to make it a priority to learn a new language and make it stick.
So there's the start to our list. Many weeks and conversations to come, including Adam's favorite part... an ACTION PLAN.
What lessons have you learned in your travels? How can you keep those fresh in your daily life at home? Don't wait for the new year to make changes, just DO IT!