October 27, 2016

Living in a city, the same city I grew up in, with half a million people, you would assume one would feel constant connection. However, somehow along the way I have lost that sense of connection with not only those around me but also with myself. In late September, I consciously disconnected from my life in Baltimore (and my social media life) in order to reconnect with myself and those around me. I chose to visit the magical Mediterranean island of Sardinia for this mission to disconnect in order to reconnect. Over the course of 5 days, I made friends with strangers, unplugged my phone, traveled without a plan, played with gravity, explored the world, dropped my fears, pushed my limits, got uncomfortable, got up close and personal with nature and followed my passion creating new dreams along the way. All of this was made possible thanks to the amazing team at NuAdventure who have made it their mission to show people the power of nature and togetherness as a way to reconnect with ones true self. Below I will share my top 5 lessons learned over these 5 days in Sardinia!

Lesson #1:
Do what you love and do it often!

Make a list of all your favorite things, those activities that bring you joy. And then make a point to do at least one of those things every single day. It doesn’t have to be something extravagant, like traveling to another country. Maybe it’s just taking long hot shower or drinking a cup of coffee while reading the newspaper. For me, I know that getting on my mat or playing with my dog every single day will bring a smile to my face and joy to my heart. Keep doing the things you love and joy will find you!

Lesson #2:
Don’t worry, be happy.

Not only did this song play on repeat in the NuAdventure van, but it truly embodied the spirit of the week. Having a bad day? Don’t worry, tomorrow will be better! In life we have lots of ups and downs but “when you worry you make it double” so, don’t worry, be happy. Don’t worry, be happy. Just keep repeating this mantra to your self until it is true.

Lesson #3
Explore More

To explore means to travel through an unknown place to learn about or familiarize oneself with it. Exploration makes me feel alive and full of energy, it brings out my sense of curiosity and a feeling of freedom.

Every time I travel I feel more alive and more present than ever, and it’s because I am exploring a new place, somewhere completely unknown. But, can’t we explore more in our own city? Our own state? Our own backyard? As I continue my life back home in Baltimore, I vow to #ExploreMORE at home. To go to a new park, new cafe, new hiking trail at least once a week. I commit to exploring the places around me and exploring the unknown right within my city. We don’t have to travel to far away places to explore and find that sense of freedom that comes with it!

Lesson #4
Create

Life is about the people you meet and the things you create with them. So go out and start creating. Meet people and create meaningful connections and unique experiences. I am so grateful to have met Fabrizio and Lohene (it all started from an Instagram photo and an email) and cannot wait to continue to create amazing experiences together. When people follow their passion and live their dream there are endless possibilities and opportunities for collaboration.

Lesson #5
Exit Your Comfort Zone

It had been a while since I tried something brand new, something scary, something completely out of my comfort zone. When I first arrived in Sardinia I had never heard of the term via ferrata…in fact I was convinced it was an Italian thing and it didn’t exist in the US. I was wrong, and a few hours after hearing the word for the first time I got to experience it for myself in one of the top 10 most beautiful places to climb. I quickly realized how humbling it is to do something for the first time, to do something that I wasn’t good at. I didn’t think I was afraid of heights, but standing on top of a cliff overlooking the Mediterranean Sea, I realized that I was filled with fear to do what I was about to do- scale the side of the cliff. Part of me wanted to cry, part of me wanted to run back to the van. But once I strapped on the harness and buckled my helmet I had committed. I had to step out of my comfort zone in a big way and after 2.5 hours of climbing I felt exhilarated and proud of myself!

We live our lives in the confines of fear, in order to move past those fears we have to get uncomfortable and try new things, even things we’ve never heard of and things we are not good at!

BONUS Lesson!
Nourish your body and soul.

In Italy, meals are about much more than just putting food in your body. During my time in Sardinia with NuAdventure meals were a time to connect, a time to share stories, a time to enjoy being with new friends. One of my favorite things about traveling in Europe is that restaurants never, ever rush you through a meal, in fact you have to ask to pay/get your check, they are not trying to rush you out the door. Eating fast is simply not part of the culture. Meals are meant to be relaxed, savored, enjoyed. Even lunch, businesses close so that workers can go home and enjoy the meal with their family. Food in Italy is about love first, then nutrition second. Whether we were enjoying an 8 course “typical” Sardinian dinner or a long and leisurely breakfast on the terrace our meals were made with love and meant to be enjoyed with those at the table. NuAdventure places a lot of focus on nourishing your body and your soul and your heart through their meals. I see food as the single best unifier across cultures. Food feeds the soul and creates a shared experience and opportunity for connection.

by Jessie Benson  (FloYo)

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