I'm going to share a very special secret with you all today.
I think I've discovered the secret to a happy life of travels, and the key ingredient is simply this: curiosity.
Think about it: isn't one of the most underrated parts of our childhood how insatiably curious we were about everything? Life was never boring when we were kids, because we were constantly asking questions, and were fascinated by every single thing we saw. Why is adulthood not more like that? I had an epiphany today that it should be... and it's this attitude that I intend to carry with me throughout this entire Photo Tour.
You see, one of my biggest fears going into this experience was that I would fall victim to burnout. Constant travel can be an amazing experience, but one that equally presents its challenges. Today, I caught myself with a bit of a sour attitude as we embarked on a day trip to the Blaye Citadel. After 2 weeks of non-stop travel, sights were starting to blur together, and I wasn't super excited about seeing yet another set of ruins. When I arrived though, the entire site was crawling with young kids, presumably on a field trip of some sort. With scavenger hunts in hand, these hordes of children bolted from point to point, giddy at the opportunity to explore. Their genuine curiosity and excitement were a much-needed reminder to never stop appreciating, and to never stop being curious.
And you know what? After this realization, I saw the experience in a whole new light. In reality, the Blaye Citadel is far more than 'just another set of ruins', its entire history is absolutely fascinating. As a short recap: the citadel was a project of Vauban, a former Marshal of France recognized as one of the most talented military engineers of his time. Despite the enormity of the project, it only took him ten days to draw up plans for the entire citadel. Even more impressive, the entirety of the structure was constructed in just three years, with over 2000 people working on it every single day. Abosrbing these facts and having a curious attitude allows you to appreciate the uniqueness of what you’re seeing, whether it’s the 1st destination of your trip, or the 100th.
I really believe that the ability to approach every situation with a curious mind is one of the most important skills you can teach yourself. While in life, feeling burnt out or overwhelmed is inevitable, what's crucial is that you never lose your sense of wonder. If you're not constantly falling in love with the world, then you're doing something wrong. Let experiences blow you away, because when you do, you'll be able to appreciate the world around you with a contagious excitement that propels you forward, no matter how much of the world you've seen.
I think that’s what I love about so many of the people I’ve met on this Photo Tour… No matter their age, these passengers have maintained their curiosity throughout their entire lives. Meeting 80+ year olds who are still keen on exploring the world, now that is inspiring.
... And the crazy thing is, these river cruises are full of people like that! You'll never go through a meal period without hearing some amazing story that starts like "this one time, in the Amazon..." or "this one time, while trekking through the Alps...". I feel so fortunate that on these cruises, I am exposed everyday to new places, new sights and most importantly, new people, who continually allow my sense of wonder to be renewed.
Tomorrow, we’re off to spend the afternoon in Saint-Émilion, a tiny masterpiece of Romanesque architecture, winding alleys and lush vineyards. I really can’t wait. When you take the time to stay curious, I promise every day is filled with excitement!
Talk to you all soon!