After my first trip to visit my cousin and her husband in Florida last year, I began a new tradition. On my flight back to Chicago, I grabbed a pen and started scribbling thoughts on the back of an old receipt I found in my purse. The finished product was a bulleted list of things I wanted to remember about the trip. Things that touched me while I was there, funny moments between my cousin and I, and a few ideas for our next trip.
The whole process took about 15 minutes and it was done more out of boredom than anything else. But I actually enjoyed the activity so I decided to make a habit of it every time I returned home from a trip. I think it’s important to take a moment to pause every once in a while and give your head a chance to catch up to your heart.
To me travelling (even if it’s just to Florida) is like running. It’s exhilarating yet exhausting and often you’re so caught up in the motions that you forget to feel. So this simple activity gave me a chance to catch my breath and put it all into perspective.
I paid my cousin a visit again this year and we had a blast like we always do. We ate great food, relaxed by pool and enjoyed unexpectedly warm weather. We took a day trip to Siesta Key, which is apparently the best beach in the country. I was a bit skeptical because beaches are my thing and I’ve seen a lot of spectacular ones.
But we reached the beach just before sunset and I was blown away. The sand was as soft and white as flour. Even as the sky darkened, the teal hues of the ocean stood out. The water was still warm and inviting. I was in my element with the sticky, salty air and I loved every second of it.
We spent such a brief time there but it was enough for me. The ocean calmed my spirit and made me feel so at peace yet so energized. That’s why I love the ocean and the beach, because it’s the only place in the world that never feels wrong.
So on my flight home, I jotted these thoughts on the back of my flight info (picture above). It turned more into a list of things I was thankful for. Here are a few I wrote down:
- Sunsets - the only proof I need that God exists.
- Cousins - people who get you, know where you come from. Discovering connections we never knew we had. People being able to tell we are family by our mannerisms and thought process.
- Belonging - never feeling more at home, more comfortable than when I am at the beach
- Life! - Thankful for life. The good, bad, frustrating, confusing. Beautiful moments are made more beautiful because of the negativity we experience, so be thankful for it all!
- Home - A home, family, and friends to return to at the end of it all.
Nothing earth shattering about the list, but writing it all out at the end of the trip filled me with so much gratitude for all that I have. It was the perfect way to close out the long weekend and store up strength and motivation for the days ahead.