I am not a person of spontaneity, but I desire to be and I knew this was my chance to change my mindset. Life is an adventure. We all are given beginning and end dates that we cannot control, but we can control our dash. This experience, little did I know, would spark a new light inside my soul.
My chance to begin my journey of becoming spontaneous began spontaneously. During a TEDxGrandCanyonUniversity meeting, a coworker of mine asked me, “Want to go backpacking in Europe?” My initial response, in my mind, was no, but for some peculiar reason I said, “Sure, why not?”
Thus began my anxiety.
You see, I hate not being in control of my plans and I hate not having solidified plans even more so, but it was time to mature. Buck up or shut up.
So, for the first time in my perfectionist life, I decided to shut up and let the crew take the wheel. To my surprise, I couldn’t have made a better decision. I learned the power of listening intently rather than simply waiting for my turn to interject.
Unfortunately, the lessons of spontaneity were not easy to learn. We began our trip in Germany. Day 1. We were fined because we didn’t validate our train tickets. Day 1. We were robbed by a man I thought was a magician and ended up being a con artist. Day 1. As a group we lost over 930 euros. I knew I hated being spontaneous. We let these events roll off our shoulders the best we could and continued to look ahead. Albeit, 930 euros poorer. The beginning of having to think on my feet and be spontaneous.
Our next destination was Austria. A serene place of beauty that you must experience for yourself. We found ourselves on the top of a mountain eating the best lasagna we had ever experienced. We climbed to the top of castles and experienced history from over a 1,000 years ago.
Each day I can vividly remember telling myself this can’t get better. That’s exactly what happened. Italy was next. We adventured through Venice and Rome stopping at all of the main attractions. More than anything, Italy taught me family and friends matter – more so than we often understand. At 3 pm, life stopped in Italy. Out came the families, hand in hand, spending time together. Smiling. Singing songs. Kicking soccer balls. Life doesn’t need to be rushed. Life is meant to be enjoyed like fine wine.
France was our final destination. Of course we visited the Eiffel Tower, a true picture of Eiffel’s beautiful architecture. But, what I remember the most of France was a proposal. We were searching for the best spot to take pictures in front of the tower. I remember it so
vividly. I was walking behind the posse quite a bit and one of my friends whispered to me, “He is going to do it!” Way louder than I should have responded, I somewhat yelled, “He’s proposing?!”
Okay. Yes, I almost ruined it – but I didn’t! That’s what matters, people. I turned around and Zach was on his knees proposing to his future wife Lauren. A random act that sealed a not so random fate. Dreams do come true.
Okay, spontaneity. You win.
As you experience life’s trials and tribulations you begin to realize how precious these moments are – memories you will never experience in the same fashion again and Memories that will never be diminished by time.
I promise you this: As you begin the trek through your college career, on several occasions, you will be advised to travel while you can. I second that advice. I would also like to add, never give up on your hunger for adventure. Never allow the rat race of life force you to settle. Always be creative. Always dream big. Learn to be spontaneous.
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The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Grand Canyon University.