I find traveling away from home and away from things familiar to you is the best way to really discover yourself. This summer, I spent most of July in Europe staying with a good friend of mine from college. My itinerary for this trip was very casual and consisted mostly of living my friends everyday life with him (obviously with excursions and trips to his favorite places to show me) so I will not be uploading an itinerary or how to guide. What I wanted to post instead, is what I feel I learned about myself in Austria.
When you think of countries like Austria or Italy or Paris, historic sites and buildings with old cobblestone streets come to mind. Visiting an Austrian native and getting to experience the life his family and him experience gave me a huge appreciation for modern art, architecture and the value of slowing down.
His parents are art enthusiasts, having their favorite pieces of art hung around the house. Seeing this modern art integrated into someones house so effortlessly was a breath of fresh air. Where I grew up and many of my friends, have living aesthetics full of trinkets and boho vibes. His house was able to maintain a personal feeling without being cluttered or “loud”. The cabinets and drawers for instance, had no knobs and much of the counter top was concealed behind sliding panels. The furniture was linear and modern. I would love to do an entire exposé on their home, but in interest of preserving their privacy I will only post a few photos.
The minimal but thoughtful interior design paired with living out of a carry on suitcase for a month (yes, a carry on that could be stowed in overhead), made me really value how I own so much clothing and “junk” that are simply distractions with no purpose. Their taste in interior design showed a value in making everything have a functional purpose. It also broke the stereotype to me that minimal is boring. As a matter of fact, I realized to an extent thoughtful minimalism is harder to achieve and more elegant. I journaled a lot during this trip and upon arriving home began a major life cleanse.
From his family I also learned the value of prioritizing. They live purposefully, making very few compromises with the things they enjoy. This is not to be confused with entitlement or privilege; no, they have things they enjoy and they invest in those things without apology. This is something I do not think I see people do enough.
If you enjoy waking up to a beautiful view everyday, work hard until you can afford a beautiful view and then make time to drink your coffee and enjoy the view everyday. Build a house, with a large deck and a large terrace and floor to ceiling windows so you can enjoy the view every second.
If you enjoy the feeling of handcrafted leather, invest in a $300 pair of everyday shoes and take the time and care to clean and maintain these shoes. Don’t buy ten pairs of cheap shoes that you kind of like when you could invest in one pair of good versatile shoes.
These are obviously two specific examples, but they share a sentiment I think people can bring to their own lives. Life can be amazing if you put an effort and commitment to yourself. Pack yourself food you enjoy for lunch, save up to invest in pieces that serve value and purpose, and work hard. Instant gratification and clutter are easy, living a purposeful and prioritized existence will bring you greater happiness.
I hope you enjoy these beautiful images from my time in Austria, and I hope you see the value in simplifying your life. This whole post can be summed up with the quote, “It’s the little things that make life worth living.”