Today my friend and I were walking towards the Edinburgh Castle. For so many people they would consider that a Once In a Lifetime Experience. Edinburgh. Scotland. Castles. Bagpipes. Woohoo! For me it certainly isn’t, as I spend a good chunk of my year in Scotland, and for this friend I certainly don’t think it will be as she loves to travel and is quite young.
Last year my mindset around what a Once In a Lifetime Experience was changed. I’ve always felt that if I liked a place enough I could go back if I wanted to, so for the most part no where was a “Once In a Lifetime” kind of place for me.
At some point during my travels on cruise ships I went from going to places that most average people would find cool, like Hawai’i, Alaska, Caribbean, maybe a little Mediterranean; to going to places a bit further away, like Singapore, Bali, Mumbai, Petra, Bora Bora, maybe a little bit of Japan. At some point it seemed that every day had become an opportunity for a Once In a Lifetime Experience. The thing is, a lot of the time I was going to those places I was at work. But, for a job that was paying me not a hell of a lot over minimum wage, did I really want to miss out on going to the Great Wall of China? What about swimming on the Great Barrier Reef? How could I miss out on these things for a job?
And then, somewhat like magic, or in this case you can substitute “life experience” in the place of “magic”, my mindset changed. Just here me out on this:
The people that you are there with in that place are what make it a Once In A Lifetime Experience. No place in itself is a Once In a Lifetime Experience. Given, if your life is constantly surrounded by people, maybe for you it is the absence of people (or certain people) could be what makes something a Once In a Lifetime Experience.
Throughout my time on ships I have memories of going to so many different places. I am appreciative of every adventure I have been on and everyone who has gone on those adventures with me. Sometimes, the adventure is what bonds people that might not otherwise go together (just think of the Breakfast Club). I’ve also enjoyed spending time alone. One of my favorite travel memories was sitting at a cafe in Crete writing in my journal. It is exactly what I needed at that particular juncture in my contract.
I can go back to the places I’ve visited. In my particular life, where I will be around cruise ships for presumably the next 28 years, I will revisit so many Once In a Lifetime places. The part over time that will make each of those places and experiences a Once In a Lifetime Experience will be the people that I am with.
This coming weekend I am going to Paris with my previously mentioned friend as well as another mutual friend. This very well might be a Once In a Lifetime Experience. Not because of Paris. I’ve been to Paris before, I am entirely confident after this weekend I will go again. But, the three of us going together may never happen again. So, I will do my best to appreciate it for what it is, because that’s what makes it a Once In a Lifetime, the people that you are with.