I used to believe that traveling to different destinations would bring me the fulfillment I so desired.
I set my sights on cities that bustled with rich history, intense flavors, and picturesque landscapes.
Thus far in my young-adult life, I’ve been fortunate to call many a thrilling new place “home”. I’ve been enamored, intrigued, inspired.
It’s funny, however, as I reminisce, I gather that it is not so much the places themselves, as the people I’ve encountered along the way, that have influenced the becoming of a best possible version of “me”.
It was the girls who started as friends and became family. Lulu, Erica, Bri and I ventured into an array of firsts. We exchanged laughs, mostly; we nursed hangovers after lessons learned, and dried tears when times were tough.
It was Irma who demonstrated to me first-hand her ability to care for others; to nurture and enable their personal and professional success. And it was my girl Alizianna, who taught me the true meaning of loyalty; to this day, standing by my side despite all odds.
Randy advised me to “rise above the bullshit”, in moments of brief disparity.
A stint in Chicago brought me closer to Bri; where together, we attempted to navigate the ins and outs of this so-called “real world”.
My return to San Diego introduced me to Marissa; more than a colleague, but a lifelong mentor. The woman who ignited my transformation from eager but timid young hopeful, into strong, impactful young professional.
Most recently here on Maui, I’ve been fortunate to seek inspiration from Shelly, who I continuously admire for remaining true to herself, all the while battling what challenges her without falter, and surfacing better for it.
It is but one word that encompasses the likeness of these individuals: genuine; “actually having the apparent qualities or character“.
I can’t be sure what destinations lie ahead; but I rest assured, wherever they may be, I’ll find myself in good company.
In short, “the greatest value of having good people around you is not what you get from them, but instead, the better person you become because of them” (Pashwar).