“Paradise is not a place. It’s a state of mind.”
I have visited many places that could be labeled paradise. I’ve even made my home in a few of them. And the above words couldn’t be truer. I have found paradise hiking through moss-covered trees across the Pacific Northwest, explored underwater reefs from Asia to the Caribbean, visited many famous museums across Western Europe, and ridden fresh powder on many a Colorado mountain bluebird day. There have been so many moments of sure bliss that overwhelm me with feelings of gratefulness. And yet I still believe that it wasn’t the place, but the feeling I had inside that created that paradise.
I loved who I was in those moments. I felt pride that I had found my way and didn’t let fear and self-doubt stop me. I was accomplishing goals I never even knew I had. But that wasn’t always the case.
Growing up in a small town has its advantages and disadvantages. One of the biggest advantages was the tight community of people I grew up around. You knew everyone and every knew you. I was part of a neighborhood gang…aka a bunch of bike-riding, rollerskating hooligans. I never dreamed of anything else. I had my friends and I had my family. And yet I also had my dreams and a voice that kept asking, “Isn’t there something more?”
From the moment I graduated high school, all I wanted to do was escape. But how? I’d never “been” anywhere, unless you call camping all over Oregon “seeing the world.” (Actually, it’s pretty damn cool! Put it on your list. You won’t regret it). I’d never even flown until I was 21 years old. That’s right…Twenty one. And of course it was to Vegas, like that’s the adventure of a lifetime. Ok, maybe it was for a 21-year-old! But it wasn’t until I quit my job and had some freedom in my life that I saw things a little differently and realized the world went further than the borders of Oregon and Washington. A lot further. So, off I went to Colorado. More about this journey in my “Itchy Feet” post.
Well, long story short, that was the first step that led me to where I am today. I’m hesitant to say I have been all over the world…that place is BIG…but I’ve been a lot of places and I’m still left yearning for more. So, paradise….although a “state of mind,” is still on my TO DO list. There are people, places, and miracle moments that await us. And time is of the essence….we have just this one life to live.
This is where I’d love to hear from you! Where have you been that set your soul on fire? What do you want to see or do before you die? Where have you found your paradise? And if you haven’t found yours, what’s stopping you?
I’m just some girl from a small town in Oregon. I’m not rich, not overly intelligent (don’t tell my husband)! I just have dreams and a belief I can make them come true. If you need a starting point, check out Saving for Freedom for some ways you can start.