As I strolled through the crowded streets in Vienna, I reminded myself, “Not everywhere you go can be your favorite place.” Some places feel like home on the first visit, others offer a jolt of new experiences and richness, but some disenchant.
Perhaps we can blame outside factors such as weather or internal aspects like mood. Although, on this beautiful June weekend the weather pleased, offering a mélange of both sun and a light breeze. When I stepped off the train in Vienna, I brought an excited outlook and good company.
Outside the train station, a somewhat drab big city awaited. “Beautiful Vienna is just around the corner,” I stammered with uncertainty. The 24-hour visit included trips to the oldest zoo in the world, beautiful castles, cute cafes and mesmerizing churches.
Yet, I can say resolutely that Vienna will not make my list of favorites. Henry David Thoreau once said, “Though we travel the world to find the beautiful, we must carry it with us or we find it not.” Thoreau got it right here: we must continuously chart new territories with an eye to see the best.
When we look around and notice something less than the paramount, let it remind us of the beautiful favorites we have collected like stamps on our passport.
The winding streets of Venice, the small cafes in Paris, the overhead views of Budapest: these are a few of my favorite things. I am thankful for a weekend of imperfection to remind me of the random beauty. It is not about the destination, but the constant search for something worth seeking in future decades.