We have said it before, and we’ll say it again: taking small regular steps toward your ideal life – even just dipping in a little toe – has rewards that are exponentially greater than the effort. Read on to see what I mean.
Identifying your tribe
Last week we were staying with our friend Sam, who works in Windsor, and we planned to hitch a ride into work with her one day to visit Windsor Castle and be tourists for the day.
Sam is the friend who introduced us to the fabulous Wanderlust Magazine while we were on the trip to Antarctica, and even though it is geared for UK residents who travel abroad, it has fantastic information for anyone who wants to travel the world. We spent quite a bit of time last week going through Sam’s back issues to do some future trip dreaming.
As part of our “ideal life” strategy, we like to surround ourselves with people who inspire us to do more. Wanderlust definitely inspires us to see more of the world, and we knew meeting the people behind it would be a good thing. When Warren discovered they were based in Windsor, he sent a Twitter message to them asking if we could come by. They were a bit taken aback since no traveler had ever asked to come visit the office, but they were game.
Meeting your tribe
We stopped by on a sunny Friday morning and went on a tour of the office with Simon, who had just returned from a trip to the Sudan with Editor-in-Chief Lyn Hughes, and we enjoyed meeting the rest of the team. Editor Dan Linstead gave us some tips on Windsor hotspots, which was pretty neat. After all, Dan wrote the Cool Places travel guide on Windsor and Eton for the iPad/iPhone.
As we were heading out, Simon recommended we have lunch at the Two Brewers pub at the end of the Long Walk at the other entrance to the castle. We thanked him for the recommendation and set off to see Windsor Castle.
The problem with this plan? The queen was in residence and awarding OBEs that day, so we were not allowed in (I was slightly devastated to discover I wasn’t on the list to receive an OBE – it would be cool to force everyone to address me as Dame Betsy instead of the usual, “damn, Betsy!”). It was only 11:00, so we stayed around for the changing of the guard and then left for the pub to contemplate our plans for the rest of the day.
The Two Brewers was a fantastic pub, and we sat outside sipping a real ale and wondering if we should get on the double-decker tour bus to enjoy Windsor on a sunny afternoon or go back to the lane of shops where they had olive and cheese stands setting up to do some tastings (yes, we have tough decisions like this to make every single day).
Recruiting new members
A trio of people with a small child and two frisky dogs came to sit at the table behind us. Being suckers for dogs, we immediately began playing with the puppy and struck up a conversation with the humans.
Denise is an American living and working in Windsor for the last 8 years, and she and her adorable daughter and pups were out sightseeing with her boyfriend and his visiting sister from South Africa. As we talked, we found we had lots in common, and we chatted for an hour before we found out that Denise is actually Wanderlust editor Dan’s next-door neighbor. There are 30,000 residents in Windsor plus tons of tourists every day, so the odds of meeting Dan’s neighbor were quite small, especially on a Friday when she would normally be at work. By the end of our chat Denise and Warren were talking about working on a website together and we were making plans for a dinner party together when we return to the area in 6 weeks or so.
As if that wasn’t interesting enough, two women sat at the next table and we immediately noticed the Texan accent of one of them. We began chatting, and it turns out she lives in Warren’s hometown in Texas. How is that for a small world? They knew some of the same people and chatted about community changes since he moved away 20 years ago.
The day turned out completely different from our initial expectations, and we were again reminded of the lesson that saying taking even small steps toward your ideal life and saying YES to new opportunities will almost always bring a bigger reward than the effort expended.
- Reaching out to meet the team behind a magazine we love meant great advice about Windsor, a fun conversation about travel and life choices with interesting people, and the opportunity to contribute an article about our own trip at some point in the future.
- Following Simon’s advice about where to find a good beer led to meeting Denise and her boyfriend, whom we hope will turn into new friends as we join them for dinner with Wanderlust editor Dan when we return to Windsor later this summer. It was also a bonus to spend quality time with the cutest puppy in the world, Harry.
- Denise is a photographer who needs a new website she can control. Warren is a WordPress website developer. You see where this is going.
I could tell you that this kind of stuff just never happens to us, but I would be lying. Not every day of course, but often enough that it is really not a shock anymore, more like a pleasant surprise. I love that this is our new “normal.”
Our day in Windsor just goes to show – again – that saying yes, taking small steps toward living the life you want and surrounding yourself with the people you admire, will pay off in big ways for even the smallest effort. The key is to create these small opportunities for yourself (by doing something as simple as reaching out on Twitter or Facebook to someone you want to meet), saying “yes” to new experiences that arise from it, and doing your part to help other people reach their dreams.
Are you taking small or large steps this week toward your ideal life, or are you standing still?