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While I was in Evergreen, I was reawakened to the wonder in the everyday. I saw it afresh, because it wasn’t just any day for me. I spent most of the first day of my vacation walking around a park at the center of town, where plenty of locals were taking their morning walks. I went to a nearby coffee shop, where people were going about their normal weekday. I wondered what they would think if they knew I was choosing to spend a precious vacation day where they walked regularly with friends. It especially came into focus when someone asked me what I was looking at with my binoculars. When I replied with common birds for the area (which are quite outside my usual daily experience) he was not rude, but sort of dismissive. It made me look in the mirror and ask myself how many times I’d replied that way: perhaps not meaning to be unfriendly, but with something of a lost excitement for the common birds I see everyday. I’ve even been aware that we become jaded to our local birds, but that experience made it crystal clear for me. I didn’t feel a need to explain I was coming from a different region of the country with no mountains, and I had just arrived into what was to me a foothills paradise. How many times had I heard a stranger excited about something very common, and internally I just assumed maybe they didn’t know much about birds? Maybe the person excited about some common local species wasn’t aware of half of what was out there, and/or didn’t go birding very much. On the other hand, maybe they were coming from a different place and found new delight in what was exotic to them. Maybe unlike me, they were just better at digging into the present; it’s a skill that doesn’t come so naturally to me, but that I’m trying to build through a mindfulness practice.

That’s actually probably my favorite thing about travel: it’s so easy to be mindful and let everything else slip away. You’re immersed in new sensations that you don’t have any prior associations with. When it’s all new, you’re engaged with all of your senses. You don’t have time to worry, nor a desire to dwell on anything outside of your immersive experience. I love being reawakened and relaxed in those novel settings! I crave exploring new places, and perhaps that has always been why, though my ability to identify it has only come recently. Here’s to looking forward to the next adventure!

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