My breath fogs the air, mixing with the morning mist, as I climb out of the camper. The morning sun is peeking through the trees, causing flashes of light to reflect off the lake. Jim and the dogs are still asleep and I stand in wonder at the absolute silence surrounding me.
At moments like this I’m always struck by the beauty of the simple things in life, and astonished by our continuing ability to ignore it’s power. We spend our lives fighting a simple life of happiness as we strive for more, bigger, better. As I sit alone in the still of the morning, my mind wanders away from this scenic lake in Oregon to reminisce about some of my favorite memories, all of which had nothing to do with grand monuments or fancy lodging, and everything to do with meeting the locals, good food, and unexpected magic.
Memories of an evening spent around two small hot plates, in the tiny, rustic kitchen of our desert camp in Rajastan where an Indian man taught me how to make mutton curry for the entire camp.
Memories of countless meals perched precariously on child-size plastic chairs, eating our way through the street food of Asia. Simply prepared, expertly seasoned, I’d take a bowl of slurpy noodles over a Michelin starred dinner any day.
Memories of a lone woman carrying a basket along the beaches of Lake Malawi at sunrise.
Memories of the simple bamboo bracelet, given in friendship, by the young girl living far outside Angkor Wat’s famous ruins.
Memories of avoiding the tourist parade and spending a morning drinking tea and smoking shishas with the taxi drivers on the West bank of the Nile in Luxor.
Memories of our perfect week in a ramshackle, beachfront shack in Goa.
And, in the end, it doesn’t get much better than toes in the sand, an ice-cold Corona with a wedge of lime in hand, watching the sun set over the horizon in Mexico. Take a moment to back away from all the stuff cluttering up your life and just be IN the moment, appreciating each precious minute. Don’t let the consumerism overwhelm you. At the end of the day, you will remember the human connections and unexpected moments more than you will ever remember the things you’ve acquired along the way.