So the 12-days in Europe backpacking extravaganza (check out my posts on Munich, Venice, Sienna, and Rome Part 1 or Part 2) is the thing daydreams are made of. What you may not know is that this was our vacation in the midst of a 10-week assignment in Europe for my husband’s job. Being the writer/blogger/editor that I am, I stepped outside my Indiana comfort zone and tagged along for the entire trip.
Now, I understand that 10 weeks in Europe sounds gloriously adventurous–and it is in many ways. But it’s a whole other animal when you’re there to work. There was one stretch of four days where I never left the hotel. Not kidding. Not even to eat. I had peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for breakfast and lunch and dinner at the hotel every night. We were in the middle of nowhere. There were at least two other weeks that were much like this, though not quite that bad. These all came in a string of three weeks end to end, which had me a little down by the end of them.
I have to admit, I’m not always the best about finding a little adventure in my everyday, but I’m striving to change that.
And it was easy to change when I hit Marburg, Germany–soon to be the starring location of book 2 in the International Adventures series! (Book 1, Sketchy Tacos, will be released on February 7th!!!)
Marburg is a beautiful little town about an hour outside of Frankfurt. And it has a castle. The buildings in the downtown area in which we are staying are fabulously old fashioned and a little crooked, which only adds to their charm. I’m taking tons of notes about each walk I take, and a lot of the look like this:
Up the street between the Schlossburg Center and H&M, runs a parallel street named Hoffstaff. It is a lost main street. It’s beautiful! With the cutest shops and cafes, but much quieter and even a little more chic than the streets on the main square—though that could have simply have been the magic and wonder of finding a completely new main drag in the minutes after sun had set, while the street was bathed in the warm glow of the lamplights and the sky was not yet indigo. It was just a delightful surprise and I felt deliciously happy. There was this fabulously chic coffee shop called Cappuccino that I can’t wait to check out and near the end of the street was a little bookstore just for kids and teens. (I almost wonder if Julia could work there instead of with a publisher.)
They’re not all that poetic, but I was just so thrilled to discover this tucked away little street after already having spent two weeks in Marburg! And the only reason I made this discovery is because I set a goal for myself to walk down a new street every day.
It’s so easy to stay inside the areas we know–inside our literal or figurative little hotel rooms. It’s warm and comfortable, whereas the outside… Well, it could be cold or scary or ugly. Exploring could make our feet hurt or our feelings. But without pushing outside of our comfort zone we’ll never experience that “deliciously happy” feeling of discovering something lovely.
In this new year, I challenge you to walk down a new street every day. It could be an actual street, but it could also be a new author or podcast. It could be talking to a new person or stopping at that coffeeshop you always drive by, but have never actually been in. Find your new street and walk it. You never never know what joys you’ll discover.
What “new street” are you going to walk down today? What comfort zone do you need to stretch out of? Share with me in the comments or on social media at @megdgonzalez.