After six amazing weeks abroad in Australia, I’ve finally returned home to my family and friends. I consider myself truly blessed that my home is still standing, both of my children are well fed and content, and my husband seems to have access to all of his mental faculties after several weeks of “Single Dad” duty! After what can only be considered a trip of a lifetime, I am back “in the saddle” albeit a rather different person with a healthy dose of fresh perspective.
I’d like to share just a few of my personal “learning highlights” from my trip “Down Under” in hopes that what I’ve absorbed may bring as much value to your week as I know it has added to my life- not only as a professional, but as a woman, wife, mother, and life enthusiast!
Here are my Top 3 Aussie Insights:
#1: Stop and smell the roses! I had the pleasure of meeting Australians from every economic status imaginable- modest to wealthy- and without fail they all manage to take a break every morning and every afternoon to simply enjoy a cup of coffee or hot tea. Their businesses are just as profitable & their homes are just as organized and orderly- but the people are more relaxed and welcoming because of their ability to switch gears and avoid unnecessary burnout.
#2: Graciousness is an art form and hospitality a gift. I have been humbled these past few weeks to travel with people whom I’ve grown to love and respect deeply. I’ve seen the power that kind words and an open mind can have in trying situations and I’ve seen simple courtesy transform strangers to friends in the blink of an eye. I’ve witnessed the depth of Australian hospitality as people opened their hearts and homes to my friends and I without any expectation of a return greater than friendship and conversation.
And #3: Life is all about making choices. Choosing to spend time with your family and friends without any distractions; making a conscious choice and scheduling time to prepare and eat healthy home-cooked meals; turning off the TV and grabbing the ball to play catch in the backyard with the kids; actively planning your next family vacation and/or adventure instead of waiting until retirement to have any fun; and walking or biking to work daily instead of struggling to fit in a trip to the gym a few times per week- these are just a few of the choices that directly relate to the quality of life I witnessed in the land of Oz. My new friends make a huge impact on their families and friends not through big, overarching decisions, but in small daily choices that cumulatively make all the difference in the world.
Upon my return home, everyone has asked me what my most cherished memory will be- and while delivering a single, shining example would be nearly impossible after so many incredible and unexpected experiences, I can tell you the one element of this trip that will stay with me forever- the people.
Monday Morning Perspective:
“Some people come into our lives and quickly go. Some stay for awhile and leave footprints on our hearts. And we are never, ever the same.”-Unknown
“The more one does and sees and feels, the more one is able to do, and the more genuine may be one’s appreciation of fundamental things like home, and love, and understanding companionship.” -Amelia Earhart
I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, “People make the world go ’round”! I was lucky enough to travel half the world away to meet fantastic people who I’m pleased to now call my friends- but you needn’t catch a plane, train, or car to have the same experience. Being open to meeting people who are not exactly like you will provide you with a growth opportunity like you’ve never before thought possible whether those people are half way around the world or just around the next corner.
Six weeks ago I left home with five mere acquaintances to visit and observe a new culture and country. I’ve returned home with a new appreciation for the blessings and people in my life and something I never thought I’d be lucky enough to have in six short weeks- heaps of new friends, another fantastic “Dad”, and four beautiful “Sisters”- each remarkable in their own unique way. I’m convinced now more than ever before that it’s the people, not the place and “stuff”, that make life worth living!
So what are you waiting for? This week I challenge you to transform a stranger into a friend- it’s easier than you think- just take the time, be gracious, show some hospitality, and choose to arrange your life to nurture lasting relationships. You will never know the immeasurable impact that they can have on your life if you only allow them the opportunity!
Have a wonderful week!
© Crystal Dyer 2011. All rights reserved.