The importance of a smile :-) A thought for Christmas

In July 2001 I sat on a mountainside watching the sun rise over Machu Pichu, illuminating each carefully designed point, creating one of the most magical moments I have witnessed in my life. It is something I will always remember, not just for the sheer beauty of the moment, but for something else: the feeling of being truly alive, when the emotion is so strong that you feel it deep inside your chest. The blood pumps, the heart pounds, and every breath brings a smile to your face.

Sitting there, I felt as if I was witnessing something inconceivable, almost perfect. It was the first time in my life that I experienced that feeling. Words cannot really describe it, but there are other moments when I have have felt that same elation, or quickening of the heart. And that is what I search for every day on this journey…

It doesn’t have to be something as grand or monumental as Machu Pichu, because sometimes the most simple moments can be the most beautiful…when you simply realise that you are happy to be alive, and appreciate the moment!

A sunset which captivates…

Sunset from the ferry, with the island of Ponza in the distance
Sunset from the ferry, with the island of Ponza in the distance

An unexpected meeting and making new friends…

I stumbled upon a Salsiccia and Funghi Sagra (sausage and mushroom festival)  and made some new friends over lunch in Mazzano Romano.
I stumbled upon a Salsiccia and Funghi Sagra (sausage and mushroom festival) and made some new friends over lunch in Mazzano Romano

Having fun with old friends…

Headstands on the beach in Sperlonga
Headstands on the beach in Sperlonga

Or simply taking time to appreciate the beauty all around us…

Tuscan Countryside
Tuscan Countryside
Sunlight breaks through the early morning mist in Tuscany
Sunlight breaks through the early morning mist in Tuscany, illuminating the fields and plants

This is the period of the year when people gather to celebrate, taking time to have fun, enjoying time with friends and those close to us. So I thought I would share with you all some things that have brought a smile to my face over the last few months, and I hope that they do the same for you!

One of my favourite things to do is swim in the sea in winter. On January 1st, in Montpellier, I took a dip in the icy water to welcome in the new year. And it obviously set the tone for 2013 because on Christmas Day I did the same. The sun was shining here in Paestum, so I decided to go for a morning run, especially after dinner the night before, and the prospect of more food at lunchtime. I followed pine forests, fields of artichokes, lemon and orange groves, and then passed the ancient ruins before heading to the beach. When I arrived it was virtually deserted, apart from 3 Ukrainians who were celebrating Christmas with a beach fire. I headed straight for the water, stopping to remove my shoes before running and diving into the transparent water.

Ok so this was actually a week before but you get the idea :-)
Ok so this was actually a week before but you get the idea 🙂

Jumping in the sea is wonderful at the best of times, but post-run, on Christmas Day, surrounded by beautiful mountainous coastline, is extra special. I stood there, immersed in the cold water, breathing in that same feeling of being alive…and couldn’t stop smiling.

May you have a similarly magical moment this Christmastime!


2 thoughts on “The importance of a smile :-) A thought for Christmas

  1. Merry Christmas to you too!!
    It´s funny how I did have the exact same feeling of being there, not in the past, not in the future, when I was overlooking the ruins from the Machu Picchu peak 🙂

    Like

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