When you travel–let’s say, for example, you’re exploring a cliffside village on the Amalfi Coast–do you take snapshots of places and things the local people consider mundane?

If you were standing outside a gelato shop, would you point and shoot at the kaleidoscope of colors in the window? (Featured image for this post courtesy of PracticalHacks via Flickr)

When we travel, the smallest details seem worthy of note. This must be a reason people love to roam. Far from home, we see life from a different vantage point. Since we’re out of routine, the world seems fresh.

When I entered my neighborhood day spa today, the attendant led me to a different chair than usual. As I sat in a different place than I was used to, I had a different perspective on the room. During the time that the spa staff pampered my feet and hands, I gazed absently at the wall across from me. For the first time, I noticed the scroll that hangs there.

After the completion of my manicure and pedicure, I used my cell phone to take a picture of the scroll. […] here are the words:

Yesterday is history.

Tomorrow is mystery.

Today is a gift.

Beautiful observations, ones that might well change a person’s life.

Today is a gift … what a truth to reflect on! As I reluctantly left the spa, I resolved to live the gift of today with more intention. To live today in heightened appreciation.

And you know what? A little while later, that scroll slowed me down.

For the past few days, I’d been thrashing over whether I could make time to write in this blog. But after pondering that scroll, I didn’t worry—I just sat down and wrote. (And I hope reading this has been worthy of your time.)

In this Twenty-first Century world, life speeds by at an alarming pace. We seldom jump off the merry-go-round to relish delicacies just down the block. But when we’re in Paris, or Tokyo, or Athens, we walk around alert. We take good notice. We click our camera’s shutter a zillion times.

I love my travel photos, the tons of pictures that crowd my hard disk. They evoke fond memories. And yet, if I were to have the same fresh eyes here at home as I do when I travel, each day would be gourmet, like living a Roman dolce vita.

Why not truly give ourselves the gift of today? Notice the details! Make a pact with yourself: next time you go out, try to see the world with the same fresh look you have when you travel. I’ll try to do the same.

And don’t forget to use that camera on your phone.

Rita Elizabeth is a wife and mother who lives near San Francisco, and who knows you CAN stay at home and still travel the world. You can read her inspiring posts on http://stayathometraveler.wordpress.com/

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