Weekend Wanderer Vol. 3 - Rome, Italy
We all travel for different reasons: some to discover unknown realms of themselves, some to escape from daily stresses, some to learn and grow and others to just experience something new. Whatever that reason may be, we must always remember that whatever it is that we seek is already within us. Do life experience help uncover these truths? Yes. But they alone cannot help you realize the greatness that dwells within.
I visited Rome, Italy for the first time a few weeks ago. It took me a while to get around to writing this volume on the experience because I hadn't quite wrapped my head around what beautiful truth I had found within myself. And then, while meditating, it hit me. When I am traveling, I'm not learning things only about myself but about life itself. My quests weren't for me to build a list of experiences but to experience the quest of life. Now, this may seem like something very simple, but to me, it wasn't. I had been in wanderlust for years thinking that my self-realization had a destination pinned to it. But in reality, no matter what my coordinates were on the earth, I had always been in the process of revealing my true self.
This extended period of travel for me has made me notice this one thing: what we look for in travel is not found at the destination, it is already with us when we arrive. What we leave with, on the other hand, is the conclusion that we are as already great as should be at that moment in time.
I always had this grand image in my head for Rome and I must say the city is beautiful and full of interesting history (which, some of it is pretty barbaric but I digress). But what I had expected vs what I experienced were two different things. And that happens sometimes. We get so caught up in the hype of something that we begin to imagine how it may be and then once we experience it, and it doesn't fit our expectations, we find ourselves a little letdown. I was let down in the sense that so much of the magic that surrounds the idea of Rome, where the Romans once lived and built a wonderful dynasty, was depreciated by the money greed. Every moment that I had to check for my phone or wallet or make sure I wasn't getting ripped off took away from my experience there. Yes, we all hear about thieves in tourist towns, but it isn't until we are living in the moment of this reality and distracted by what we should be appreciating. That was what made Rome my least favorite city traveled to in Italy thus far.
But aside from its shortcomings, Rome was a great experience to be had. I really enjoyed Vatican City the most - we decided to go at the end of the day after the crowds of tourists had dispersed. And while we didn't get to see the inside of the structures, we awed at the beauty of them all setting sky. I sat along the large fountain for a rest and let the tranquility of the water calm me. It was something so beautiful about the moment I found myself in. It was as if that moment alone was enough to make up for the chaotic day that I had. In that moment, I felt the gratitude that I intended to find in this trip. One moment was all it took to make it all worth it.