I went to Europe for a month. I saw famous buildings and monuments. I stepped inside mesmerizing cathedrals, museums, and unforgettable places. But, it was not the “famous” that took my breath away. But rather, I found beauty in the unremarkable, the “unforgettable,” and the common places.This past month I was given the opportunity to travel. I was given the opportunity to see significant buildings, monuments, and places I had only read about in history books. But, to my surprise, it was not the “famous” that caught my eye. Rather, I found beauty in the common places. I found beauty in the flowers, which cascaded down the side of a house on the hillside of an island in Greece. I found beauty in a park, which lied in the center of a chaotic street. I found beauty in the views from the side of hilltops. I found beauty in the details.
In all honesty, I don’t think I saw this coming. When our trip to Europe began, I was prepared to be blown away by the buildings I had learned about in previous history courses, but it never happened. I was never blown away by their beauty or grandeur. Yes, I was impressed. But, for some reason I was never overwhelmed. But, I was overwhelmed by the beauty in a small garden, the magnificence of a little café, and the chatter of children in a gelato shop. It was the little details that caused me to catch my breath. It was not the historic, or famous that pulled me in, but rather it was the common and the everyday culture of the places we occupied that sent me into a trance for what seemed like hours.
I guess I learned a little bit about myself along the way. Because of this experience. Because I was given the opportunity to travel abroad, I learned that I’m not one to gravitate towards that which is already known. I’m not one to fall in love with a building just because of the “famous” label that has been placed upon it. But rather, I fall for the unremarkable. I get lost in the beauty of the common. I go crazy for places, cities, and buildings that allow me to make my own decision. I fall for places where I can honestly say, “I was here, I saw it, and it mattered to me.”