Last year, I crisscrossed the United States more than a few times and traveled overseas. As my Nana would affectionately say, “Girl, you have a lot of miles on your butt!” Much of my travel is attributed to my professional life, but whether I’m learning about new innovations at medical schools or enjoying time off, I look for the small beauties in new places and things. That can be anything from –
- Exotic tree branches or flowers that collectively produce fragrant winds or shade under the California sun;
- The fullness of the trees along the perimeter of Olympic Park in Georgia;
- The perfectly aligned bales of hay along the South Dakotan flatlands;
- The trio of sail boats slowly cruising along the river in Wisconsin;
- The presence of the sun’s shadow as it radiates among Nevada’s popular skyscraper hotels;
- The sensory jolt from the Cajun spice, vibrant jazz tunes, and boisterous locals in Louisiana; or
- The smell of bread and pastry dough from Parisian or Italian cafes along narrow cobblestone streets.
I have definitely been fortunate in my ability to move about the world and explore the definition of life through someone else’s eyes. In each of these places, I’ve met enthused, indifferent, lively, subdued, and impolite people. All with a story (perhaps some far too long for my typical abbreviated Uber rides). All with a perspective. And all with a personal connection to the geographic location in which I managed to temporarily house my suitcase and carefully organized work binder and fact books. But, what I take away from all of my recent travels is the greatness of creation – of things to look at, paths to trek, and conversations with other beings. Because life is not about the number of places you can say that you’ve been but the quality of the connections you make to your surroundings. Hats off to a great year of discovery…and food! Phenomenal food!