Peak experiences are fun, but you always have to come back

“Peak experiences are fun, but you always have to come back. Learning to appreciate the ordinary moments is the key to a fulfilling life.”

Cory Muscara, former monk, mindfulness advisor, and University of Pennsylvania instructor

Image from Unsplash by DocuSign

A coaching colleague of mine is a world traveler, currently on their fourth six-month cruise around the world with their spouse.

Their adventures are captured in a daily blog recounting the people, places, and things they experience with beautiful photos and very detailed reflections.

Over the years, I too have had a good number of adventures that were measured in weeks. Although I remember them fondly, I tend to get homesick for the life I’ve created within my current communities.

A recent highlight was spending a full day alone with my 19-month-old granddaughter, to our mutual delight.


What peak experiences do your recall with great fondness?

How many have you had?

What are some of the many precious ordinary moments you experience daily that don’t require leaving home at all?

Of all the paths you take in life, make sure a few of them are dirt

“Of all the paths you take in life, make sure a few of them are dirt.”

—John Muir, 18th Century Scottish-American naturalist, author, environmental philosopher

Wendy, Ella, Barry, and Weston

For most of my life, my family has spent at least one week in the Pocono Mountains of Pennsylvania. It’s a place I experienced as an infant and camper — each summer until I was eleven — when the camp was purchased by a development company.

This year our daughter Rachel and her two children — Weston and Ella — came along.

Our week included plenty of swimming, walks, playground adventures and even a snake and animal farm.

Sharing the star-filled skies, hearing crickets chirping, and the sounds and smells of fresh air after a rainstorm are some of my happiest moments.


Where and when have you traveled dirt paths in your life?

Where and how can you bring even more of the natural world into your life?

The universe is infinite in all directions

The universe is infinite in all directions. Taking this cosmic approach with lightness and humor makes the trip far more wonderful.

—Calm App Reflection

Image from Unsplash by Jose Filipe

More and more people are flying these days to visit family, meet with customers, and finally to engage in adventures and travels that needed to be rescheduled on numerous occasions.

How many flights do you take in a typical year? How many frequent flier miles have you logged in your lifetime? What status level have your reached with your favorite airline?

Let’s compare this number to the distance to our moon, the nearest planet, the locations of Voyager 1 and 2, or even our nearest star.

When we make comparisons to these objects and the infinite nature of our universe with billions of galaxies, we have far to go. Luckily our minds have the ability to travel the 93 billion light years to span our known universe in the blink of an eye.


How and where would taking a more cosmic approach to your life bring you more peace and joy?

How can you travel with more lightness and humor in the days ahead to make your trip more wonderful?

“We travel not to escape life, but for life not to escape us.”

“We travel not to escape life, but for life not to escape us.”

—Author Unknown

Image from Unsplash by Deanna Ritchie

Did you know that this holiday season, about 45% of Americans—114 million people—plan to travel to a vacation site or to visit friends and family?

Each, statistically, is expected to shell out an average of $1,393 on flights and/or hotels.

Clearly, this level of investment is placing considerable value on either escaping their current life, or perhaps making sure life does not escape them.


Who are the special people you will travel with or visit this year?

What unique and extraordinary experiences are you planning?

Consider discussing these questions and others with those close to you, to make these traveling moments and their memories even more wonderful.

The Wonders We See Around Us

“We carry within us the wonders we see around us.”

—Sir Thomas Browne, 17th Century English Polymath

What does it mean to you to live an extraordinary life? Where do travel and adventure fit into your plans?

Years ago, I picked up a copy of 1000 Places to See Before you Die, and realized I was woefully behind making even a modest dent in the list.

Today’s quote points to the wonderland that is always available to each of us without ever getting into a car, train, boat, or plane.


Consider exploring your own inner wonders of creativity, love, spirit, faith, wisdom, kindness, and inner peace.
What other areas could you explore as you view other wonders in the world around you?

Reading gives us some place to go

“Reading gives us some place to go when we have to stay where we are.”

—Mason Cooley, Late American Aphorist

Image of a man reading at a bus stop

Photo by Laëtitia Buscaylet on Unsplash

My mother, Rose, was the most avid reader I’ve ever known. As a boy, I would frequently go with her to the library where, every three weeks, she would pick a new batch of 12 books. She devoured them every evening after dinner.

I recall her frustration on one occasion, in that she could not find, in our small local library, enough books of interest that she had not already read.

Although she was never a world traveler or college graduate, she took countless trips with her vivid imagination – wherever her written portals to adventure would take her.


Consider visiting your local library or bookstore to pick up a book that will take you on a great adventure, from the comfort of your favorite chair.

The Knowledge of the World

“The knowledge of the world is only to be acquired in the world, and not in a closet.”

-Lord Philip Dormer Stanhope, 4th Earl of Chesterfield

Image of Milford Sound in New Zealand

Image of Milford Sound from Flickr by Bernard Spragg

What do the following places have in common?

  • Bay of Islands
  • Milford Sound
  • Auckland
  • Dunedin
  • Tauranga
  • Wellington
  • Akaroa

For those who wish to travel more, these are wondrous destinations in New Zealand.

I visited these amazing places as part of my 60th birthday adventure. Getting out into the world can be transformational! In just a few weeks, I felt I took a quantum leap in my awareness and knowledge of geography, history, culture, plants, animals, and many other subjects.


How and in what ways can you investigate and explore your world more fully to add and expand to you awareness and knowledge?  Consider scheduling one of your most exciting “Bucket List” travel adventures soon.

“A mind that is stretched by a new…”

“A mind that is stretched by a new experience can never go back to its old dimensions.”

—Oliver Wendell Holmes, American physician & poet

Photo from Flickr by Moyan Brenn

Photo from Flickr by Moyan Brenn

My trip to Europe last month was definitely a mind stretcher. Relatively unaware of this region of the world, I was somewhat embarrassed by my ignorance of the languages, customs, architecture, and of course, history.

Seeing the churches, castles, cities, towns, villages, and of course the people, made me realize that I am a not-so-worldly citizen with much to learn. I also now can see that both my roots and Wendy’s were formed to a good degree through the lives of previous generations of our families, who came from Europe.


What new experiences have you had recently, or are about to experience in the next month or so? How can and will you make the most of these mind-stretching opportunities?

“Traveling: it leaves you speechless, then…”

“Traveling: it leaves you speechless, then turns you into a storyteller.”

—Ibn Battuta, 14th century Moroccan explorer

photo from

photo from

One of my favorite books by Dr Seuss is Oh The Places You’ll Go, often given as a gift to high school or college graduates as they step into their life journey.

For many of us, this sense of adventure and excitement wanes as we settle into our day-to-day lives, work, and other more routine responsibilities.

Perhaps this is why most of my coaching clients have travel, adventure, and fun as things they want more of as they move forward. We simply want more WOW moments that leave us speechless. When we tell these “wow” stories, they often ignite the flame in others, causing them to more fully experience life, too.


Where have you longed to travel? Find someone who has actually been there – or perhaps a few people – and let their stories ignite a spark in you. When you make your plans and go yourself, consider what stories you will share that would benefit others.

“Travel and change of place…”

“Travel and change of place impart new vigor to the mind.”

-Seneca, Roman statesman & tutor to Nero

Photo from Flickr by Eelke de Blouw

Photo from Flickr by Eelke de Blouw

Traveling in Europe was a learning smorgasbord. I did all I could to taste the variety and abundance of its offerings, including:

The variety of languages multiple currencies
Jaw-dropping architecture Local customs & traditions
Music & art Great food and drink
Business & commerce Politics & religion
The natural beauty & history of the region

As an American, I was shocked at how my mental models and perceptions of the world have limited me and kept my world reasonably small. As a business and personal coach, I plan to take the blinder off, in particular with my coaching colleagues who live beyond my doorstep.

How can you more fully benefit from your own travels and change of place to experience greater vigor in your journey of the mind?