Appreciating the Journey

The countdown is on: one week until I’m off to Paris. It’s a mixture of excitement and nostalgia right now. These past three months have flown by, and I couldn’t possibly be more eager to head off for more adventure, but I’ll miss this place and the friends I’ve made. I’m also saying goodbye to my laptop this weekend, so this will likely be the last text-heavy update for quite awhile. Touchscreen phones don’t tend to lend themselves well to lengthy prose. Still, I’ll try and share a few observations here and there.

I finished my documentary on the Cardiff Devils. Seeing the creation process through from start to finish was a great experience — from spending plenty of time behind the camera to learning how to do different bits of animation. I’ve also been able to finally see more of Wales. My parents and I went to Caerphilly Castle, the Gower Peninsula, and Brecon Beacons. In the span of three days, we saw golden beaches surrounded by steep cliffs, cascading waterfalls in moss-covered forests, and goats grazing on snow-capped mountains. Crazy.

A couple observations from the past few weeks:

1. A good hostel can make a world of difference.

If I had to choose, I’d say my three favourite cities so far have been Edinburgh, Copenhagen, and London. I don’t think it’s any coincidence that these cities also had the best hostels. As a solo traveller, any type of facility that actively encourages backpackers meeting one another is a welcome experience. Clean beds and showers are a nice touch, too.

2. On appreciating the journey…

I came across this post on Facebook recently, and I enjoyed it a lot:

True happiness? I’ve always been a big goal setter. Thinking things will be better and I’ll be truly happy when all the hard work pays off. When I get that TV hosting chance, the opportunity to write for such and such magazine, appear in a commercial or when I sign some endorsement deal I’ve been dreaming about forever. Well all that happened and I still wasn’t content or happy…

I realized being happy wouldn’t magically happen tomorrow, not if, or when something monumental happened. I was finally content when I looked around at what I already had and truly appreciated the blessings that were right in front of me. I realized that for many years I’d put my life on hold waiting for something instead of appreciating the moment because all we really have is today.

I still have big personal goals but enjoyment now comes from the daily grind, seeing others succeed, building people up, giving, helping a friend or seeing my kids smile. Happiness isn’t just about attaining something, it’s about appreciating the journey. (via)

I’m a goal-oriented person, and I’ve been pretty good at attaining the goals I’ve set out for myself, but it can be so easy to get caught up in the pursuit of an end goal, and in the process, forget what motivated you in the first place. I wished away a good deal of my university career thinking this way. To an extent, I probably wished away parts of my time in Wales too. Thankfully, I’m able to appreciate those moments through reflection, but it’s a worthy exercise to enjoy things in the moment — something I’m constantly practising. There’s plenty to cherish and be thankful for right in front of you.

My three favourite photographs from the past week or so (and the stories behind them):

1. Nyhavn, Copenhagen.

Fact: it is scientifically impossible to take a bad picture of Nyhavn. This is the view I came to Copenhagen for, and it definitely did not disappoint. I made several trips to Nyhavn during my stay in Copenhagen, but this photo was taken on my last visit, right before heading off to the airport. I was planning on going straight from my hostel to the metro station and to the airport, but after stepping outside and seeing the sunrise, I knew I had to see this view one last time. I’m glad I did. Also of interest: It was on this street that fairytale author Hans Christian Andersen lived in the 1800s (his window would have looked out onto this exact view).

2. Frederiksberg Have, Copenhagen.

I got lost trying to find this place. One of the coolest things about this park is that it backs on to Copenhagen Zoo. You can see the elephants from the park. It’s also a very old park: it dates back to the late 1600s-early 1700s.

3. Morning in Copenhagen.

I woke up to this sunshine on my last day in Copenhagen. In the picture, I’m standing in Amagertorv, one of the city’s oldest squares. In the mid-1400s, it was called the Fishmonger’s Market. It’s right smack in the middle of Strøget, Copenhagen’s pedestrian street. The tower on the right is Nikolaj Kunsthal.

I don’t know what form my next update will take, but I’ll be back with more sometime in the next couple weeks. Stay tuned.

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