What I Learned on my Summer Vacation

  1.  Take time to enjoy experiences and people.  I was so struck with the non-hurried lifestyle of vacation. Not just our experience but the lifestyle we witnessed of those around us.   Of course, I am sure that there were plenty of locals who rushed about and felt that they were rushing but the atmosphere did not feel frenetic.  I liked the pace we set while on vacation but I don't know how we can transpose that feeing now that we are home.  I am trying to set more wiggle room in my calendar- prepare for interruptions, plan ahead for activities as well as plan fewer amount of items to do in a time period.  I am trying to enjoy the moments.
  2. Eliminate the clutter.  The apartment we rented in Vienna was very modern.  It wasn't spartan or minimalist but it certainly didn't have any extra frills and thrills.  It was refreshing.  It made me think about our home and all of its stuff.  Since we have returned, both my husband and I are in the process of decluttering.  I had mentioned once before that my goal is to eliminate 1/4 of items/stuff in each of our rooms.  I am getting there.
  3. Just because things have always been a certain way, doesn't mean it has to be that way.  I think sometimes we get so caught up in doing activities because that is how we have always done them.  Not that what we were doing might be wrong, but we never allow ourselves to experience something that might be different and possibly better.  I noticed this with European meals, especially breakfast.  When we landed in Italy via Air Berlin, our morning airplane "breakfast" was a sandwich.  At first I couldn't stomach it. We had been up all night flying and had had dinner in the air.  According to our flight times it was 2am EST but with the time zones, we were 8am in Dusseldorf.  According to our airlines, it was time for breakfast.   And according to our son who lived in Vienna for four months, breakfast might consist of what we think as "lunch" food.  We noticed more meats at breakfast in Florence, Rome and Vienna. Actually when I finally ate the sandwich, (waiting for our connection to Rome)  it was rather tasty.  Reminds me  that I don't have to fit into societal norms of what is "done". 
  4. It takes just as much effort to dress nicely as to dress sloppily.   Now that we are back in the states, it is hard to pinpoint what exactly was the clothing difference between the European dresser and his American counterpart. (baseball caps? logo and messaging t-shirts? sneakers? ) The people walking about in Rome, Florence and Vienna seemed so much more well dressed and more put together.  They appeared to be more civilized and respectful of others. (not that clothes are that important, but sometimes clothes doth make a man)  My husband and I noticed the difference this past weekend when we attended a local street festival in our home town.  In the middle of the crowded street I stopped and thought, "We were at some festivals in Vienna and this looks so different."  It wasn't until then, that it dawned on me that the attendees' clothing was what made it seem different. At this weekend's festival, people seemed so sloppy in dress, in speech and in behavior. 
  5. Be a sponge.   As always when we travel I realize what an ignorant rube I am.  I have so many things that I want to learn, to explore, to do.  Travel opens up curiosity.  It provides a different way to look at the current experience but I think it also opens up a new way to view the familiar. 

What about you?  Learn anything this summer?  Have you made any changes to your lifestyle? Do you want to make any changes?   How can you take lessons learned or observed and put them into practice? 

What did you learn on our summer vacation?