Few people can say that within two weeks they traveled in three continents, four countries, Toronto, Montreal, Rome, Capri, Sorrento, Delphi, Mykonos, Kusadasi, Patmos, Crete, Santorini, and Athens. Fewer people can claim they’ve seen incredible masterpieces of man like the Sistine Chapel and Nuvona fountains and works of God such as Mount Vesuvius and Agriovaldi Beach. These destinations are places I had the privilege to visit over the last two weeks, but something I came to realize very quickly are the lessons these foreign, diverse places had to teach me along the way. I wrote out my thoughts throughout the trip in my journal with the simple statement, “Be The Change” etched into the cover. I’ll share them with you now in hopes it can spark some positive change:
1. Love your friends and don’t doubt that they love you.
2. Be bold, confident, and yourself when you’re with people.
3. Don’t forget family.
4. People have lives just as complex as your own.
5. Happiness is great, but joy is GREATER.
6. God is LOVE and will always love you more than you love Him. Strive to love like this.
7. Remember God loves everyone and will find a way into their lives with or without you.
8. Tears are good sometimes, but don’t force them.
9. You know who you are and who you want to be even if you don’t know what you want to be.
10. Risk = Reward (sometimes). Face your fears.
11. Compliment people.
12. Be nice.
13. Network, but because you genuinely enjoy the presence of people, not their belongings or status.
14. Stand up for others.
15. Stand up for yourself.
16. Teachers and mentors are human too.
17. People know when bad things happen, even if they don’t choose to speak of them openly.
18. Circumstances aren’t always as they seem.
19. Reading for your interest is the best type of reading you can do – there is more than fairy tales and non-fiction out there
20. Learning is exciting.
21. Never pressure, always offer to share experiences and handle rejection with grace.
22. Scars are signs of growth and healing, not despair.
23. Education is one of the most important and influential jobs that exists.
24. Yeses lead to memories.
25. Be patient and considerate, your plans aren’t greater than God’s plans (see John 3:6-8)
26. Real work ethic is highly admirable to everyone and will take you further than any short cut.
27. Appreciate cultural experiences and try new ones whenever you can.
28. We feel brokenness is wrong because our soul is anticipating a future free of suffering.
29. “From nothing to nothing is no time at all.” -the wall of a small book store
30. People aren’t themselves when they’re drunk, don’t base first impressions on this and don’t put yourself in a place where all of your first impressions of people are based on this.
31. Tears are real expression of raw emotion you have been dying to reveal.
32. Distance actually does make the heart grow fonder.
33. The moment you accept that you don’t know everything (about a subject or the world in general) you learn more than you ever have before.
34. What people are impressed by is reflective of their character and values.
35. Carpe diem – seize all those freaking diems.
36. Forgiveness is hard, but its benefits are infinite.