The Purpose of Hurt

Light can only enter through an opening. People who go through trauma are left with open wounds. When we recover from our traumas and prove to be resilient we are enlightened. The trauma happened but now we have experience, wisdom, and insight. Our open wounds allows an opportunity for our new found light to shine through to show others what we have accomplished. Others who are struggling will see our hurt and how we react to it. If we hide our traumas and never share our stories or experience with others than the trauma had no purpose. Once we turn our struggle into an accomplishment then we can help others get through their current struggle. You cant have a testimony without a test.

We are often afraid to open up because of the fear of judgement. There needs to be a change in our society. Society looks down on those who have negative pasts. As much as we like to think that we are non-judgmental, the truth is, we are!

What drives change?  Change does not always come from an organizational level. Change comes from individuals willing to come forward with their stories and break through walls of silence in order to break open doors of freedom. We all have a story. The most prestigious people that we know have a past that they would never want their peers to know. If those who are in leadership always pretend that their life has always been great, then those who are struggling have less motivation to pursue their dreams because they don’t think they will compare to the current leaders.  Transparency is a must in leadership. The song “started from the bottom now were here”  really does prove that point. When you see a strong leader who has accomplished much in life, come forward with a rags to riches story- that will be a huge inspiration.

If you are struggling and broken, you can be helped. However, nobody will know that you need help unless you humble yourself to ask for help. When you acknowledge your vulnerability, people will be able to help you. We all go through periods of struggle and periods of prosperity. At each of those stages in life we have different tasks. When you are prosperous- help others. When you are struggling- accept help. It is a part of life. We will all need help at some point and we will all be able to give help at some point. Participate in the rotation. Build your community. Life is short- but life is good.

http://www.lavitanova.orgIMG_6733

Life is short….How do you spend your “dash”?

I read of a man who stood to speak
At the funeral of a friend,
He referred to the dates on her tombstone
From beginning to the end.
He noted that first came her date of birth
And spoke the following with tears,
But he said what mattered most of all
Was the dash between those years.
For that dash represents all the time
That she spent alive on earth. . .
And now only those who loved her
Know what that little line is worth.
For it matters not how much we own;
The cars. . . the house. . .the cash.
What matters is how we live and love
And how we spend our dash.
So think about this long and hard. . .
Are there things you’d like to change?
For you never know how much time is left.
That can still be rearranged.
If we could just slow down enough
To consider what’s true and real,
And always try to understand
The way other people feel.
And be less quick to anger,
And show appreciation more
And love the people in our lives
Like we’ve never loved before.
If we treat each other with respect,
And more often wear a smile. . .
Remembering that this special dash
Might only last a while.
So, when your eulogy’s being read
With your life’s actions to rehash. . .
Would you be proud of the things they say
About how you spent your dash?

– Anonymous

One of my favorite poems with such a great message.. thought provoking!

Moments and hi-light Quotes of the Eurotrip:

Most of these are “inside jokes” between myself and Tricia, the girl I went on the two month backpacking trip through Europe with. Some of them are funny standing alone, but most have a story behind them. We had many adventures on this trip that I don’t want to lose memories of so I compiled this list for my future reference. Feel free to read and write me to find out more details of the stories if you are interested in hearing more.

“Your not tired, you are just lonely– come dance with me”
( Dutch boy in berlin after I told him and his friends that we were tired and going back to the hotel )

“You are laughing on me”
( Iran – Ramin)

“Learn the language of Hungary by getting a Hungarian lover for a couple years, live with him, learn the language then move on.”
( Budapest tour guide)

I said to Tricia, who was sitting in the back of the train playing with her phone, in a short frustrated voice, ” you wanna come look at this or what? ( referring to the subway map to see where we were stopping) a sweet dutch girl sitting in front of Tricia gets up and said,”yes I’m sorry what do you need” I said “oh my I’m sorry I was talking to my friend behind you….. That was really rude and I’m surprised you even responded” …I cooled my temper and felt bad. We all laughed.

Everybody called Tricia, shasha, Sasha, Churchill, theresa or Vincent because nobody could understand her when she introduced herself. She just went with it.

We were walking down an alley in Amsterdam and a guy standing outside a restaurant and said to me ” Can you please make a picture with me? Your hair is very beautiful.” I stopped and smiled next to him for the picture and walked away. When we walked past again he said, ” please you must understand, you are exactly my type. I would like to make marry with you”
Then we walked further and a guy stopped Tricia and asked where she was from. She told him she was from Canada. Then guy said he wanted to go back with her because he loved Canada. A couple walked by and he stopped them and said, “excuse me have you ever met anybody from Canada, because I just did and I love her but she doesn’t love me yet”

Then we walked further and somebody asked where we were from with our blonde friend and when we said that we were from America, he got excited and started jumping around yelling America and began pelvic thrusting into the air several times.

There was a guy in Venice we met while getting in a water bus. He said that he wanted to marry me and that he had the money and to meet him at st macro square at 5 pm.

Then we met a couple guys we were talking with and they said, “ok, so you will marry us now”— this is the third time people have said that to us. I don’t understand! Is that a thing? Must be!

Then in Budapest we met these Australian guys who came up to us and when they said hello, they grabbed our boobs and said that is how they shake hands in Australia.. We weren’t buying it. We left very quickly

Then when we met the England Rugby players after walking around London all day, we sat down with them for dinner. We were having a blast at dinner telling stories and laughing. I had my tan hiking pants on and when I stood up from the table the main player who joined us said, ” woah, whoa sit down, you look like you are on a safari” they still let us come back to their private club with them for drinks after regardless of looking like hikers ha! A photographer came by to take pictures and they just ignored him. They said it happens a lot

In Amsterdam we met soccer players from the England team that had played in the World Cup, we talked with them for a while and they wanted us to come out with them to a bar. I was exhausted and knew the ” to what end” of that scenario and kindly declined. I got the whatsapp number for one of them but never wrote him. They yelled at Tricia when she was taking a video.

When we got on the bus in Ireland there halfway to our hotel a hot guy got on and say a few rows up from us, Tricia leaned over and said, ” this is my shot, would it be obvious if I got up and sat next to him and asked if anybody was sitting there” she didn’t but it would have been hilarious. Then legend of Dracula started playing loudly on the bus TVs out of nowhere.

In Slovakia, when I said that my hip surgery cost around $40,000, our friend Tomas said, “for $40000 in Slovakia they will make you from male to female”.

A German guy we talked to said, nobody should treat me for my meat”
In Austria the Finnish guy said, ” I don’t feel very normal, I am still drunk” we didn’t understand what any of that meant lol

The swingers in Amsterdam there talking behind our backs and said that we would make beautiful babies for them and they would adopt them. Woah! That really happened… What a night

Rome- couchsurfing host ” that light was not red. For me and my lawyer it was green”

Are you married? Not recently!- George from London ( the guy we met in florence who was siting in the grand hotel lobby when we walked in to go up to the bar. We started talking with him and he came to the rooftop terrace with us for a drink. Then he had to leave to catch his flight that was leaving in an hour).

Yolo, is that Mexican? Italian man

” what happened to the banana ” what the Hungarian man said to the Italian girls after they fried a banana on the stove, he apparently did not like it.

Hitchhikers we picked up in Ireland who were from Germany – Alex and Rafael 18yrs old and 19yrs old. They budgeted 17$ a day and ate PB&J 3 times a day. Very nice

Tour guide in Dublin said to the other tour guide, ” those Italians came over to me”

We walked to Kate Middleton’s place where she lives with prince Harry with our ” private tour guides” we saw all the embassy’s…. That was a random night. We walked up her driveway to the gate. The people we were with gave us the insiders tour. We can’t say the names of the people we were with for privacy purposes, but we met them on the roof of a Ritz Carlton in Barcelona and they invited us to dinner in London. It was a great experience. They ave us the background information on princess Diana and all the gossip of the times over there that most people don’t know.

20140826-212206.jpg

Barcelona – Paris- Geneva

Barcelona- Paris -Geneva

BARCELONA- The language spoken in Barcelona Spain is Spanish and Catalonian. For the most part it is easy to understand locals because they are taught English as a second language. There were a lot of tourists in the main city centers so to find the locals you have to venture outside of the city. At nighttime the younger generation will go out at 11 pm for dinner and drinks to prepare to go out to the “disco” at. 1 am. There were these discos ….or nightclubs so to speak…. Everywhere! The nightlife was quite eccentric!

Food- there was a lot of tapas places ( Spanish appetizers ) so we ate a lot of ham and bread and patatas bravas …. but mainly Paella ( this is rice cooked with meat or seafood in a big platter) I am not a fan of crab or shrimp in the shell but here they were cooked in the shell and brought out to you as such. I would request the kitchen to take off the heads back there before they brought them out to the table. For dessert a big item was Churros- usually dipped in chocolate.

Tourist sites- The La Grata Familia is the historical church they have been working on for years. Definitely worth seeing. Also there is las hambras which is the downtown area where there are a ton of restaurants and shops. This is very busy and very touristy. I stayed at the Hotel Arts Barcelona ( Ritz Carlton property) this was right by the marina….this was a great area. I walked to mostly everything. Public transport was also readily available.

PARIS- Can I say beautiful?! The city definitely was charming. The sites were breathtaking. The Eiffel Tower of course was beautiful day and night…..the downfall is that there were lines for hours to get in to see that or any of the other sites. Norte dame was a long wait as well but well worth it. The Arc De Triumph was cool to walk to and take pictures next to. The Louve museum — where the Mona Lisa is was a huge sight to see….plan on spending hours in there. We went on a Wednesday which is the day it is open the latest.
—- behind the louve is a downtown area full of nightlife and young people. This was my favorite area to hang out in.

Around the Eiffel Tower and other historical sites, there were men selling purses and keychains and sunglasses. Anytime the cops walked through, these men would grab their belongings and start running and the cops would chase them. One time I saw a cop catch the guy and take all of his keychains. The guy was so sad because that was the way he was going to make his money that night

Food- I was not impressed with the food. I ate a lot of crepes with Nutella and banana and a lot of bread baguettes with meat and cheese in them. For breakfast they ate croissants and espresso. It was on average $12 for a croissant and an espresso. They ate a lot of duck there and a lot of goat cheese.. The goat cheese salad I was okay, but the duck…not so much.

People- I have heard it said that the French are rude—- I disagree….I wouldn’t say that they are rude but rather that they are busy. It reminded me of being in New York. Everybody was on a mission. Busy people don’t have time to talk. and when there is a language barrier it makes it tough. Not very many people spoke English so that made it difficult to interact with the locals. But for the most part, as in any country you will go to, if you approach somebody with a smile and you do not have a barrier up, they will be warm and open to you.

SWITZERLAND- Geneva was a last minute stop on the trip. We didn’t know what to expect. We ended up getting hosted by a local off of the Couch surfing website. He was from Italy which was really cool to get his perspective on the city. He showed us around the town and we rented bikes to go around lake Geneva. He even cooked for us 😉 he was very nice! There were a lot of people from around the world here as opposed to Swiss people. Most spoke french. I didn’t meet very many natives in the city. It was a very expensive city to live in. Minimum wage there is $25. A small pizza cost $23 and a bottle of juice was $8 the cost of living definitely matches the higher wages. Overall the city was beautiful. We went to the city celebration with our host and it was a huge rave- techno fest. There were 5 Starbucks within walking distance of each other in the city center.

Everybody in Switzerland walked around with tiny dogs. The street signs were on the walls of buildings. We are used to them being on the street corners so we got lost a few times. People were usually willing to help. Most of time they would point to a direction because they didn’t speak our language. The Swiss people have international schools. The families tend to have lots of children, the reason being…. the economy is doing so well there they feel that the kids will have a good future there. The children are taught three languages. English, German and French. Our host walked us down the red light district and didn’t tell us that we were there until halfway through. It was a very seedy area.

There was a big lake with a connecting river with many bridges. There was one bridge where the locals would come to after work and go swimming. And they would jump off the bridge into the water and the current would take them downriver. Then they would run back to the bridge to jump off and do it again….Those are the types of places you find when you walk away from the tourist areas and find the roads less traveled. .It was a lot of fun! Now— off to Italy

Wanderlust-The incurable disease many of us have

Wanderlust, like many diseases, comes with its own symptoms and side effects. Like a plague, it comes down on some with a vengeance and may never be cured. It can leave those stricken with lifelong symptoms and years of money and time spent trying to diagnose the incurable disease.

It leaves children and adults impaired, unable to function properly through their daily routines many of us take for granted. Because, like any sickness, its side effects can be damaging.

The wanderer cannot help his or her sickness any more than someone with the common cold. It’s a bug that takes over and flushes itself through the system, yet this one refuses to leave after a few days of Emergen-C and hot water with lemon.

It’s damaging to the brain, the body and the mind; it takes hold and refuses to let go. It’s a disease inflicted by ourselves on ourselves,

and there’s really nothing we can do about it, but hope to pacify the side effects.

We must learn to live with them, the way one learns to live with pain. It’s a constant ache that becomes part of our existence, like a bum leg. So for all of you trying to diagnose those aches and pains, here are the signs it’s probably just wanderlust.

Constant Yearning

The wanderer craves foreign lands the way a diabetic craves sugar. Though it may not be life or death, wanderers feel like a part of their soul is dying if they’re not able to cross oceans or reach new lands.

This yearning is usually brought on after a trip or before, when it seems like their hearts are swollen with the promise of a new land or the remorse of leaving.


Itches You Can’t Scratch

No matter where you go, it will never be enough. The downfall to traveling is there will always be a place you haven’t been. This itch will follow you throughout your life, like a bad rash, the only ointment and relief will come from momentary trips and plans of new ones.

The itch will make people wonder where you’ve been, what you’ve touched and just exactly how you contracted it.


Hazy Vision

It’s hard to see the world when you’re always thinking about another one. Another side effect of the wanderer is an inability to enjoy the present moment because wanderers always want to be in another one.

Unless they are dancing in Ibiza or eating pizza in Rome, wanderers will never be satiated with the present and their vision will always be skewed by the things they could be doing and places they could be going. Their judgment of the present moment is constantly clouded, like a fog that sits over a gloomy city.


Swollen Memories

Engorged memories of better days fill the mind of the wanderer. Wanderers have no ability to cope with the present when they are constantly thinking about the past.

Memories of past trips will haunt them as they wish they could relive them, or at least try and find something to replace them. Their head feels swollen with memories, good times and better days.


Tight Budgets

The plight of the constant wanderer is the inability to afford medication. Like the costs of most vaccines prove, there is a high price to pay for health.

From airfares to hotels, the wanderer gets no help from insurance companies or the government, but must find a way to pay for all treatments out of pocket.


Utter Discontentment

Disillusion and depression will forever be side effects of the wanderer who cannot wander. These people will never be happy where they are unless they are somewhere else and this keeps them in a state of discontent for most of their lives.

This side effect can be one of the most unbearable to live with, as wanderers live with the notion that life is always better somewhere else. This depression keeps them from enjoying all of life, mainly the parts that don’t involve crossing oceans or visiting uncharted territories.


Lucid Daydreams

Fantasies, mirages and hallucinations plague the wanderer on a daily basis. Unable to stay awake and alert, these people dream with their eyes open and their realities compromised. They sleep in other worlds and are constantly berated for their inability to live in reality.

They do not know how to cope with the real world because they’d rather be living in another one. This can many times keep them from maintaining jobs, relationships and commitments.


Fatal Nostalgia

Whether it’s following the scent of Indian spices into a dangerous neighborhood or tracking down some local, but unsanitary fish that reminds them of their time in South Korea, the wanderer will do anything to feel the way he or she once felt.

Wanderers will cling to people, things and notions that they should no longer rely on so heavily. Their nostalgia overcomes them, squeezing their hearts until they are choking on feelings and memories of things they will never have again, or at least for a long time.

As I prepare for my 42 day backpacking trip through Europe…these words speak to me

Image

This was written by Lauren Martin on  and was posted on Elite Daily. I resonate with this 100% and felt the need to share it with my readers.