10 Life Lessons …from the road less traveled

For me home has always been a feeling, not a place. I take home with me wherever I go; because home is the love I share with my parents and friends. I am Sam and I’ve been out on the road for 2 months, as a explorer submersed in new experiences and new places.

My experiences have showed me the beauty of faith, the unknown, and possibilities. I’ve been my own best friend for the past twenty-six years and the last sixty-plus days I got to spend even more time with myself, watching my own back and living life to the fullest.

It’s more than a dream, it’s been my reality, one that many wish to do but rarely leads to action. So here are a few things that I learned and lessons reinstilled from my “Sam Takes Europe: 2016 Trip.” Enjoy the acronyms and please share your own:

  1. Smiles are Universal: Smiles from Paris with my friend Juan from Madrid


Smiling really is my favorite! I smile when I’m happy and I smile when I’m sad and everything in between. I still smile when that smile is not returned to me. The smile wrinkles have already begun to form. I have birthmarks and I have smile marks, and I embrace both. I’ve always said, smiles, like photography, are universal.


  1. BYOC = Be Your Own Catalyst: Northern Ireland on St. Patrick’s Day


We live our lives in a constant state of reacting to things that happen to us and things that happen for us, it could be one in the same. We spend less time being our own catalyst. We should be more devoted to ourselves: the best thing we can do for ourselves is to better ourselves. We have the power to uproot our lives and become the difference that we seek, for ourselves and for those around us. What true comfort is found in the comfortable? I say do something radical and catapult yourself into the unknown. You can always get back to comfortable. Tip: Start by helping others.

  1. Time = MVC: Most Valuable Commodity: How long would you wait for this Napoli pizza?


What is your most valuable commodity? The truth is we spend most of the time waiting, waiting in lines for purchases, waiting in the traffic of the work week, waiting for that three-dollar coffee. I think that there is great potential in making time our friend, making time work with us. And of course, I believe in efficiency.

I also believe there is a beauty to waiting, to slowing down. When we take pause in the moment, true clarity can be found. One aspect of Europe I enjoyed was that time falls away. Pizza can last a few hours in Napoli, while in New York City I’m rushed off of a bar stool to finish my one dollar slice in mere minutes.

It’s up to us to become masters of this balance, to find value in time, the cost of time and time’s worth; all different things. I personally discovered that I am patient beyond measure, it’s the eternal optimist in me — and it’s been extremely empowering. I’ve navigated new territories like I was Pocahontas, who’s to say I’m not? Time is my friend, is he yours?

  1. We Own Nothing: Everything I needed for my trip, in a backpack.


We own nothing but our soul. Everything here on earth we are paying rent for, rent to use while we are alive. One day we will abandon our body. When you think with a mindset of rentals instead of ownership, it makes it easy to purge, to let go of what we don’t need. It’s all about necessity vs. luxury, there is no in-between.

  1. Faith Knows Everything: In the Vaticano, Saint Peter’s Basilica.

#5. Faith Knows Everything

Yes I am a believer, a true eternal optimist. There are many things I choose to believe in. The thing about your faith, whether it be faith in a higher power or faith that your favourite coffee’s taste will never change, it knows everything about you. It knows when you may be doubtful and when you are wavering, but true faith does not abandon you, and in faith you can always find yourself.

  1. We are Mark Makers: The London Bridges Have Not Fallen


Have you made your legacy? Who you are today will shape how you will be remembered. Sure, you may work hard and be extremely dedicated to the job you love, but are you helping the rich get richer? How are you giving back on the daily? You can always do more. I can always do more. Start with your heart, never wait on change and Smile On!

  1. We are Traveling Tourist: View from actual ledge I climbed at the Colosseo

#7. We are Traveling Tourist

Every traveler is a tourist. Every tourist is a traveler. And it’s fine to be both, don’t try to draw lines, it’s exhausting. I like being both a solo-traveler and solo-tourist because if I see something I like I can go explore and discover something new at a moments notice, I don’t have to tell anyone “hey, be right back I’m going to climb this ledge,” (I’m sure I just gave my mom the chills!) I will say I’m not team selfie stick.

  1. We are Citizens of the World: Small Sam, big world – sitting in Mazzorbo.

#8. We are Citizens of the World

We are all global citizens, and we have the responsibility to be good neighbours. One thing that turned me from Southwest Florida, particularly Naples, was that the daily struggle was hidden. Poverty there is a problem, as is homelessness and hunger – but only if you look hard. In a city, like Roma or Philadelphia, you cannot hide the daily struggle. You come face to face with it every day, and that is the kind of community that I want to be a part of. One that embraces the struggle, not one that serves it up at a networking event just for the feel-good.

I was born in the developing country of Bolivia, and though you might take me out of the ‘third-world,’ you can’t take the ‘third-world’ out of me. It’s who I am, my molecules are my own. I know that I am who I am today thanks to those who have supported me, here at home and abroad.

The world gets smaller every day, yet expands when we stay in our own circle. My soul-sister Pocahontas always said, “you can own the earth and still all you’ll own is earth until you can paint with all the colors of the wind.”

  1. Keep the Pursuit: Just go to Paris; my sketch of The Winged Victory at the Louvre.

#9. Keep The Pursuit

The majority of those I’ve met out on the road understand that to travel when young is essential, and that those who wait on time that may never come are the ones who are losing out. The future is never guaranteed and everything is temporary. Life is meant to be kept fresh, and the key to fresh life is to keep the pursuit of those hobbies that ignite your soul.

  1. Love is all there is: Just spreading the love in Verona

#10. Love is All There Is

If you remember anything from this blog post remember this: Give endless love to everyone, whether or not you think they deserve it (they do!).



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