I was sitting there in the cafe at the art museum. It was not yet noon, and it was raining. There we were—my sister and I sitting across from each other. Sans children, sans school, sans work, sans home with it’s to-do list and daily maintenance.

And suddenly—it hit me. This was the first time in what what felt like forever as an adult and mother that I realized something. I wasn’t thinking about the next thing I needed to do. I was sitting there, eating, looking around and talking to my sister. I was not thinking about the next place I needed to go, what I should start working on as soon as I was finished nor even how many hours I had left in the day to do x amount of things. For the first time in a long time, I was present.

For the first time in a long time, I was present.

Sadly, I don’t know if this is a plight of modern adulthood or modern motherhood. We have time saving apps, so we can use more time saving apps. We have Pinterest boards for every thing. We have planners and bullet journals. We are exhausted, stressed out, overwhelmed and over-scheduled.

Maybe this sudden feeling of being completely physically and mentally present was simply the result of being “on vacation” or maybe it was because we had never been to California before. But I suspect it was more.

Did we subconsciously choose to “switch off?” Was the beauty around us an incentive to be more physically aware? Or was it that our surroundings had no expectations, no “need” of us as we were so used to being on “on call” at home?

As I’ve remembered that moment and tried to pick it apart to see if I could replicate that same “aha” moment that I had on that rainy Friday afternoon in San Francisco, I’ve realized I learned something about travel and why it matters to me. Travel awakens a part of me that remains dormant otherwise.

Travel awakens a part of me that remains dormant otherwise.

It’s a hard thing to pinpoint or put into words until you have a new experience, thought or “aha” moment away from your normal surroundings that allow you to understand it. Our little weekend in San Francisco was hardly restful.

With a departure flight of 3 a.m., two days and a time difference these student mothers left possibly more tired than when we arrived. Yet, we left with something newly awakened within us, a sense of it’s possible. “It” meaning that it is possible to be present in a moment without thinking about what comes next or what you have to do next.

It is possible to be present in a moment without thinking about what comes next or what you have to do next.

Maybe I could have learned the same thing without flying to California for the weekend and believe me—in normal life, I don’t fly anywhere for the weekend. Yet, that rainy Friday afternoon taught me how worthwhile it is to get away from your normal surroundings for even a short while. You never know what new experience, thought or moment will be waiting for you.

What has travel taught you about living in the moment? How can we be more present in our daily lives?

Images via Trever Hoehne, Darling Issue No. 7

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