Sometimes all it takes is a different view, or a change of scenery, a change in lighting, or a change in elevation to see things otherwise. Sometimes just the view can change your perspective; it can change your heart. It can even change your life.
We are lost in a century that looks at the world through screens and avoids locking eyes with strangers. We walk like ghosts from point A to point B. We are always heading towards a destination, but how often are we focusing on the journey?
It took me an hour and a half of getting lost through the narrow winding streets of Alfama in Lisbon, Portugal to get to the view I was told was a must see. I put my map away and just embraced every cobblestone, every wrong turn, and every staircase leading me God knows where.
I got lost, but I found free wine along the way, and that was a plus. I got to see how people really lived across clotheslines and not against the main road. I got to touch the tiles that shouted sagas of the country’s history. I got to learn that being carefree isn’t as scary as I once thought it was, because, eventually, you always find you way.
As I did, to here:
I’ve seen better views (to be frank), higher elevations, and more dramatic scenery. Yet, this view unequivocally stole my heart. I found it by not looking for it. I followed my intuition on the street signs I couldn’t read and was greeted by the red roofs of this gorgeous city, whose glorious ocean neighbors my home. It was breathtaking. More than that, it was life changing.
Of course on the next day it was revealed to me that it was a straight shot from my hostel, but I just laughed it off because the journey getting there was what made the view so epic. It also allowed me to splurge on ice cream after capping out on 36,000 steps that day.
That excursion taught me that great results should not be easily attainable. The finale needs to be earned. It needs to be worth its grandeur. It’s about taking the stairs in the life versus the elevator. It’s about hiking the mountain versus taking the cable car all the way up (there are exception though, people).
In Montserrat, a cable car took us to the Benedictine abbey at about 4,000 ft. in elevation. However, we walked the 40-minute uphill battle to a peak, and we skipped the cable car option there. This gave me time to joke with my dad, to photo-shoot with my sister, and to run from whatever I heard in the bushes and laugh about it later.
The slower journey made the time matter, and it made the view a treasure worth witnessing.
This takes me to my latest view, the one from my balcony. This is my new beginning, my fresh start, and my new perspective. And it wouldn’t mean half as much without the memories in neighboring streets, or mistakes wedged in the sidewalks, and the successes floating at the very edge of the water.
No. This wouldn’t be the release and the relief without the miles my feet strode and the steps my heart took. It was the journey to this new set of keys that makes the change in scenery a change worth having. It is mine, and I can truly say that I deserve it, after all.
I deserve the upgrade because I put forth the struggle to get here. I didn’t take the easy way – I simply don’t believe in those. I went heart first, as I always do, and I dealt with the consequences. I dealt with each turn, tumble, and twist as anyone would on a journey of self-discovery.
With this one, though, I had no set “point B.” I was naively circling point A asking, “what’s next for me?” Well, all I had to do was look. All I needed was a different attitude to see that my perspective had altered, because life had changed and I was missing it wondering when it would.
It’s in the view you let yourself take it all in and realize that you are just fine. You are going to be fine. Yet it’s the journey, the bruises, the fresh picked flowers on the way, which build the character of the person who reaches the top. It changes them so they can see past boulders, clouds, coasts, and high-rises.