10 Lessons I learned from Paulo Coelho, Einstein, and Traveling Abroad (part one)


I have always wanted to see the world, but one of my biggest inspirations for actually getting out there came from reading the book “The Alchemist” by Paulo Coelho shortly before I started my travels. The book is a fable about a shepherd who dreams of a treasure waiting for him at the Pyramids of Egypt. Realizing he can always come back to being a shephard, he decides to leave his flock behind in pursuit of his dream. At a time when I was struggling to move my own career forward, it was the exact inspiration I needed to leave my own “flock” behind for a while. With a little planning I was on a plane to Spain a few months later.

I recently came across Mr Coelho’s blog while browsing through Facebook. Funny that I had never thought of adding him as a “friend” before considering what a profound impact his book has had on my life over the past two years. So I thought what better way to show my appreciation than by dedicating an entire blog post to him, who coincidentally was paying tribute to an even more remarkable man, Albert Einstein.


So here are the first 5 lessons combined with my own life lessons I’ve learned. Stay tuned for the second half coming soon.

1. Follow Your Curiosity  “I have no special talent. I am only passionately curious.”

I am surprised by how many things I discovered I liked that I had no previous interest before, and I never would have discovered them had I not at least tried. Case in point, decorating tables and flower arraignments. I don’t claim to have any special skills in that area, but dinner table center pieces became my outlet for creativity at one point, and I soon found myself passionately curious. The same thing holds true in creating this website and blog. While my true passion is writing, I have been consumed in learning more about internet marketing and social media to bring myself up to speed with the rest of the marketplace, reading articles or watching videos of how to do it and then fumbling my way through it. You could never hire me as a web-developer, but I am surprisingly addicted to learning all of the jargon and strategies that at one point was so foreign to me.

2. Perseverance is Priceless “It’s not that I’m so smart; it’s just that I stay with problems longer.”

Which brings me to my next point, which is that if I stay with something long enough, eventually I get the hang of it and gain another valuable skill that I can bring to the market place. Perseverance has always prevailed for me. You don’t know how many times I wanted to jump off that first boat I worked on, but sticking through even as I fumbled around is what allowed me the opportunity to travel independently for the next several months on my own. No matter what, stick through with your goals and don’t quit!

3. Focus on the Present “Any man who can drive safely while kissing a pretty girl is simply not giving the kiss the attention it deserves.”

Originally my goal was to travel to 30 countries in honor of turning 30, but I became so caught up in the goal at times that I wasn’t enjoying what was right in front of me, and although I was seeing and experiencing things many people might never have the chance or opportunity to, I was too focused on the past or future instead of enjoying what was going on right in front of me. Sometimes you have to take time to stop and smell the roses, and to savor each beautiful step along the way. Once I let go, it traveling became an even more rich and fulfilling experience..

4. The Imagination is Powerful“Imagination is everything. It is the preview of life’s coming attractions. Imagination is more important than knowledge.”

The vision board I painted on my wall above my bed studio in Florida is a perfect example of how powerful your imagination can be. Without knowing how I would do it at the time, I have seen or accomplished most of the things on that board. The perfect job (for that moment,) bringing my dad to Poland and going to Auschwitz together, and many other things I am still in the process of. But I will add that you can’t JUST imagine, you have to put inspired action behind it. Wow is it powerful if used appropriately.

5. Make Mistakes “A person who never made a mistake never tried anything new.”

Broken dishes, fried laptops, broken cameras. Yes, I will admit to being mildly clumsily (some of my friends might say that I’m a little more,) and holy Toledo you should have seen the bruises on my body from trying to fit a 5’11 frame into the confines of a tiny boat. Yes, a career in yachting might not be the perfect match for me, but hey, I least I tried. And as another wise man once said, “although success is nothing sure, I’ve  cried. It’s failure that wins when nothing’s tried.” Thanks Dad!


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