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Learning the Language Deepens Your Experience of the Moment

EscapeArtist is all about connecting our readers—wherever they may be—to the world. Through our various media outlets we share stories from our members and contributors about their experiences. We aim to provide a better understanding of the opportunities and challenges out there, and perhaps inform our readers of new and exciting things that some might add to their bucket lists. For those stories that don’t make your list, they can be a great two-minute break from your busy routine.

I’m a member of the EscapeArtist team, and you might think that I’m out there traveling the world and bringing back these amazing stories and opportunities for our readers. Well, we do have people on the team for that, but usually it isn’t me. Recently, I did have an awesome opportunity to attend the Excellerated Business School’s Money and You conference at the Bahia Principe in Tulum, Mexico. Not only was the conference an unbelievable, life-changing experience, but it was like a mini-vacation in a 5-star resort. After the conference we got in a bus and drove 20 minutes to a Mayan ruin near the resort. Here is a picture of the gang:

Money and You group at Tulum Ruins

I can share more about the resort and the conference another time, but I wanted to tell you about something I learned on the trip. There is always so much knowledge that can be gained by listening to tour guides and reading brochures, but what I want to share is something I learned by having the experience of being present—present in the physical sense, as well as present in the moment.

Of all the places in the world I could be in November, I’ll admit that Tulum, Mexico, was one of the most amazing. I expected a sandy, dusty, scorching hot place. I had seen pictures and read stories, but after living in central Texas, I imagined that Tulum would be similar. I was pleasantly surprised to discover Tulum’s lush green forest, the turquoise blue ocean, the beautiful natural sink holes called cenotes and, of course, the mystical Mayan ruins. I was due for a good trip away from my computer more than I realized. Images and memories from the trip still pop into my mind and make me smile.

This trip was a great reminder that anyone can look at pictures in books or online and even watch video clips, but there is nothing that can take the place of being there in that moment to feel the warm breeze, to hear the waves crash on the shore, to take a refreshing dip in the cenote, or to explore those ancient ruins. Nothing captures the true colors or gives you goose bumps like being there in person. As I’ve gotten older, some of my memories have faded, but those memories that remain sharp and clear are from those moments associated with a physical feeling or emotion. That’s why, even though this fall season shows its brown grass and bare trees at home, I can close my eyes and see that blue sky, feel that warm sun, and imagine what it must have been like to live in those bustling Mayan cities.

This great experience makes me wonder why people don’t travel more often. If it’s the language barrier, I’d say learn just a little and go! Every local I encountered was friendly and courteous, even when they didn’t understand what I was trying to say. I don’t speak Spanish, but I have picked up a few common words and phrases during the years I lived in South Florida. My recent trip to Mexico has inspired me to learn the language.

I expect to be taking more trips to Mexico, and I plan to enhance my next experience there. Feelings and true meanings can get lost in translation from Spanish to English, just as a picture of beach can’t capture the feeling of standing in the hot sand with the cool ocean water running across your feet. If you translate a Spanish love song to English, it would surprise you to hear words used in such a way that was so heartfelt and meaningful. I learned that in their language, words can hold so much more meaning than what the English words can explain. There is a feeling tied to words that can only be felt, and an explanation of the words just doesn’t do it justice. So, to get a deeper understanding from my interactions with Spanish speakers, I intend to learn the language.

If you could learn Spanish would you give it a try?
Click here for the details.

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