A little life lesson before 5am

An idle chat with a cab driver on the way to the airport at 4.45am is one of last places you’d expect to be hit with a dose of wisdom. But this morning that’s exactly what I got.

Having just spent a weekend in Barcelona with my parents, we were talking with our driver about everything we’d done over the past 48 hours. From a sunrise trip to Monserrat to scaling the Sagrada Familia, it had been a busy couple of days getting around all the must see sights of the city.

Our driver was pleased we’d enjoyed ourselves and was impressed with everything we’d accomplished, yet made a comment that lingered in my mind for the rest of the journey:

“You must remember to enjoy what you are doing at the time and not always be thinking to what is next on the list”

Obviously when time is a factor there is a balance to strike between this mindset and making the most of what few days you’ve got. However, there was a lot of validity to his point.

Reflecting back on some of the places we’d seen I couldn’t help think of the urgency some people had to get to the front of a line or take a selfie with a statue they knew nothing about. And despite wanting to be the opposite, I probably fell into this a bit too.

Instead of taking time to be present in a place, learn about it and really take it in, the common agenda with travel seems more about documentation and proof that something has been ticked off a to do list.

The more I travel the more I become disenchanted by this ‘must do list’ idea. Because really, what’s the point?

Travel will always be a personal thing, but in my mind it shouldn’t be designed around a city’s bucket list, it should be about rich experiences and creating unique memories. Something that requires mindfulness, being present and an easy pace to let everything we are seeing seep in.

As our driver drove off after dropping us at the airport I thought how funny it is that people have no idea when the off hand comments they make really stick. While he is off driving more people around Barcelona I’m sitting here in an aeroplane flying to Sicily still thinking about something he’s probably forgotten he even said – and will probably find myself remembering long after the trip is over too.