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It’s late afternoon and we’re 1,500 meters above sea level, surrounded by the mighty Trentino mountains and their snow-dusted peaks. We’ve already spent the entire morning mountain biking and the afternoon hiking uphill to our current destination.
Everyone is worn out physically from the activities of the previous few days, and mentally from the conference the weekend before.
Despite the late hour of the day, it’s still almost 30 degrees outside and the group are starting to slow down and question how long is left of today’s adventure.
This is when our enthusiastic and considerably-more-fit-than-us Italian guide, who’s English up until this point had been somewhat limited, took us all by surprise with this one sentence…
“All beautiful things require hard work”
Some time later, as we reached the end of our journey and sat down to a home-cooked dinner in a cosy alpine cabin, watching the sun set over the bold silhouettes of the looming mountains which still surrounded us, I reflected on how very right he was.
Many of the most beautiful things I have seen or experienced during my travels so far have definitely been the ones which required the hardest work to discover.
But it was so much more than the literal meaning of this phrase which got to me.
Just like a beautiful view may require a gruelling uphill trek, so many other beautiful things in life require hard work too.
This is something I have learnt all too well over the last few years…
A beautiful career requires hard work.
It’s so easy to look at someone with a great career and think that they were lucky or that they were in the right place at the right time. And this is particularly true within the world of travel influencers. I was a culprit myself of looking at other bloggers and YouTubers with amazing careers travelling the world and thought that it all happened overnight for them. But the more I’ve got to know many of these talented creators, the more I realise that it took them years and years of seriously hard work to get to where they are today.
Similarly, when I first quit my office job to pursue freelancing and blogging full time, I spent the first few months waiting for things to fall into my lap. But it wasn’t until I started to work ridiculously hard that I really started to see the rewards come in.
Now I’m in a really great place career-wise, and my followers can watch online all of the cool events I get to go to and the beautiful destinations I get to visit. But what you often don’t see is the 15 hour days I work and weeks without much sleep when I’m trying to get on top of posts or working on a tough project for a client.
Building a beautiful career that you love undoubtedly takes a lot of hard work.
Beautiful friendships require hard work.
For me, friendships are one of the most beautiful things in my life. I am lucky enough to have so many fantastic friends who are there for me through thick and thin and make my life as exciting as it often is.
But what I’ve learnt over time is that friendships do require hard work too. They require taking time out of your busy schedule to help someone else with their problems. They require dropping everything and travelling across cities (and sometimes countries) to be there for someone during a difficult time.
Not to say that that’s all friendships are. Of course, friendship is also enjoying each others company and experiencing amazing things together. It’s motivating each other to become better people and being genuinely proud of each other’s successes. But for me, getting to know someone on that deeper level, trusting them with your secrets, and being able to talk to them about absolutely anything and everything is what true friendship means.
When hard work goes into establishing a friendship, that’s when it’ll last a lifetime.
“A loyal friend laughs at your jokes when they’re not so good, and sympathizes with your problems when they’re not so bad.” – Arnold H. Glasgow
A beautiful relationship requires hard work.
As nice as it is to believe that real life is like a fairytale or a romantic movie, this is unfortunately rarely the case. A beautiful relationship is totally possible, but for most people, it requires considerably more effort than love at first sight followed by happily ever after.
A beautiful relationship requires taking time to get to know someone for who they really are and learning to love their flaws as well as their best traits. Often it requires a lot of listening, compromise and self-sacrifice.
And sometimes you can put in all of that hard work and it leads to nothing more than a broken heart. But all that means is that you’ll need to put even more hard work in to repair yourself and learn to love again.
From someone who has been through it all relatively recently, let me tell you, picking yourself back up and reshaping yourself and your life after a tough break up is one of the hardest things in the world. But when you come out the other end and realise that it was all for the best and that you’re ready to move on, that’s the most beautiful feeling of all.
A beautiful sense of self-worth requires hard work.
Self-worth is defined by Merriam-Webster as “a feeling that you are a good person who deserves to be treated with respect”.
It’s such a simple thing but unfortunately something which a lot of people struggle with.
Like many young people growing up in the world today, I have been through many phases of struggling with my self-worth. I’ve felt anxious that I’m not good enough, I’ve sought too much validation in other people’s approval, and I’ve definitely tried to change myself to become someone I’m not.
But you know when I felt best? When I just stopped giving a s**t and embraced who I am.
I stopped feeling the need to coat my face in make-up every single time I left the house. I started working out because I wanted to be fitter for myself and not skinnier for other’s benefit (this has worked a treat FYI). I stopped caring about being ‘weird’ in front of other people and instead just found a community just as weird as I am. I stopped trying to base my whole life around social constructions of who I should be and what I should be doing. And most importantly, I stopped allowing people into my life who made me feel any less than I deserve.
Of course, this has all taken a lot of hard work, but having a beautiful sense of self-worth is definitely one of the best things you can ever do for yourself.
“You can search throughout the entire universe for someone who is more deserving of your love and affection than you are yourself, and that person is not to be found anywhere. You, yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection.” ― Sharon Salzberg
A beautiful life requires hard work.
News flash – no one is perfect.
No matter what you see on Instagram, no one has THE perfect life.
And for those who are d*mn well near, it’s because they’ve worked insanely hard for it!
A couple of years ago, I wasn’t the happiest with the way my life was going. So you know what I did? I took risks, I threw myself into uncomfortable situations and I created the life I did want.
Now when people come up and ask how I get to travel the world as a career and do all of the amazing things I get to do, I’m honest and I talk about all of the hard work it’s taken to get here.
If the last couple of years have taught me anything, it’s to fight (and fight hard) for what I want.
I fought to create the career I wanted, I fought to find my tribe and become a part of the most awesome travel creators community out there (thanks Traverse!), I fought my way out of depression after a break up which tore me apart, and I will continue fighting to make my life as beautiful as it can possibly be, because “all beautiful things require hard work”.
Isn’t it crazy how much some fresh mountain air and a simple comment can get you thinking?
My time exploring the beautiful Trentino mountains certainly gave me some time to step back and reflect on the way my life has changed over the last couple of years, and (if you can’t already tell from the post) I’m pretty happy right now with the direction it’s going in.
But this certainly doesn’t mean I have reached my final destination.
My time in Trentino, and particularly at the Traverse 19 travel creators conference in Trento, has also given me my yearly dose of inspiration and motivation to keep on working hard to create the best life I can.
So thank you Trentino, and thank you to the hiking guide (who I shamefully don’t even know the name of) for introducing me to my new life motto.