Next week Gregg and I will be leaving for a self-guided bike tour in Italy to celebrate our 25th anniversary! Although we love Vermont in the fall, we are ready to trade our colorful hillside for a few weeks of Italy’s lush vineyards, ancient villages and vibrant culture.
And we’re been preparing for this adventure by biking every chance we get. We’ve decided not to opt for e-bikes, so we’re hoping our bodies will rise to the occasion with sufficient pedal-power!
Yesterday we did one of our local loops in the opposite direction from what we usually do, seeing the route from a very different perspective. Predictably, we noticed new things, and found the ride to be particularly joyful.
Maybe part of the allure of travel is related to the way we use our attention. When we’re in a new place, we are more likely to be present. And when we’re present, we are more likely to feel happy. Research has shown this to be true, whether you’re standing on line at the supermarket or riding through the Italian countryside. When we use our senses and wake up to the immediacy of the world, we are happier than when we’re spinning in our minds.
So let’s be on the lookout for “stopworthy” situations that may justify a pause . . . just because. When biking, it’s easy to remember that we have time to savor the world. That is, to a large extent, what a bike ride offers. But in everyday life we may have to be more deliberate in order to cultivate this habit of mind.
Okay, so here’s one to get things rolling, so to speak. I think the name “Alberobello” is stopworthy. Before leaving that beautiful name behind, try saying it out loud a few times. Allow it to become melodic and bring a lift to your spirits. It probably won’t take long. Alberobello. A small but stopworthy moment, in my book.
Linda Anderson Krech, LICSW, is Program Director of the ToDo Institute and has been a frequent contributor to Thirty Thousand Days. She is the author of Little Dreams: A Practical Guide to Spiritual Parenting and has been teaching Japanese Psychology for over 20 years.