A Personal Story: The Journey to a New Normal

The Power of Transformational Travel

Traveling to a foreign country and staying for an extended period of time is a remarkable transformational experience. It’s right up there with any self-development course you invest in that evolves you.

In travel, you are required to let go of your agendas and usual habits and behaviors that were your “norm” and comfort zone. There is nothing like re-learning basic living skills like washing clothes, grocery shopping, speaking a foreign language, finding your way along foreign city streets using your GPS phone map and more that makes you vulnerable and primed for change.

This is exactly what happened to me during my month long stay in beautiful Florence, Italy. My intention to go was to fulfill a life-long dream and to add the laptop lifestyle to my current business model so I am enjoying my work even more. By experiencing new cities, new cultures and being influenced by the texture of a “high-frequency” location, my work was more inspired as was my personal and professional growth. All of that was accomplished during this trip to Florence and Rome. That is transformational travel.

It’s quite remarkable. You absolutely have time to examine your life, examine your needs, what’s working and what’s not working and get to know yourself again. One of the more profound shifts I came home with had to do with boundaries and tolerations in my life. What was I truly tolerating that was knocking the wind out of my sails every time I allowed that annoyance to continue in my personal or professional life? Prior to traveling, I truly did not give myself the luxury of time or inspiration to even do this.

It was in the moments of walking the stunning art inspired streets of Florence, Tuscany, and Rome where the change in my dignity, my heart, and my soul began to shift. It took two of four weeks to break down the wall of stress in my body from months and years of constant never-ending pressure to perform and produce.

I can tell you exactly the day I felt the anxiety, stress and demands of life melt away and open to a new normal of living life. It was in my Airbnb apartment and I awoke one morning two weeks into the trip with this internal calm and new sense of love for self and life. It was the Italian way of life that changed me. The people, culture, art, architecture, food, all combined that showed me there was a different way to live based on quality; not quantity.

Manarola, Cinque Terre, Italy, Aug 2017

It was in that moment I began my new normal of requiring joy and happiness to be my guide; not pressure and stress to inspire me to take action. Now, three weeks later, I find myself protecting my joy and happiness like a gatekeeper to a treasure. I no longer tolerate my old habits that kept me stuck, people who I tolerated just to be nice, and activities that really did not align with my joy.

My tolerations list sits front and center on my goals list as I look at it every day eliminating several each week feeling liberated and more dignified and calmer than ever. Now, I have to work at it. It’s not easy; but it’s deeply imbedded in my soul where I notice immediately when someone or something does not FEEL right because it’s not in alignment with my joy and happiness.

See if you can resonate with the new mantra I live by; “Respect yourself enough to walk away from anything that no longer serves you, grows you, or makes you happy.”

Do you have a transformational travel experience to share where you returned home with a new normal and life changed for the better as a result? Do share ☺

With love and respect,


  1. Stacy Podres September 21, 2017 at 7:39 am - Reply

    Love this Marla!! So inspiring!!

    • Marla Diann September 21, 2017 at 6:38 pm - Reply

      Wonderful Stacy! Thank you for letting me know! Hope you can apply it to your life 🙂

  2. Diana Sabatino September 24, 2017 at 8:38 pm - Reply

    What an amazing experience Marla …Europe is a wonderful landscape to evaluate what we want in life… I lived in Europe for 3 years and the lifestyle is one of enjoying all the small pleasures of life. I believe someone said…” enjoy all the small moments, because one day you will find out they wer e the big ones,,” not sure if that was the wording but I think you can get the meaning…
    We dont know how far along we are in our journey… we could be just begining or perhaps we are close to the end… I love what you said ” respect yourself enough to walk away from anything that no longer serve you, grows you or makes you happy.”. I am in the process of changing.. evolving… transitioning.. its been very difficult to let go of my norm and allow myself to move into this new being… so your words came to me at the right moment… thank you for sharing Marla.. xxhugs Diana

    • Marla Diann September 24, 2017 at 9:35 pm - Reply

      Thank you for your lovely comments Diana! Since you had the luxury of living in Europe for 3 yrs you know what I mean by transformational travel.

      My August trip to Florence is the 1st of many with my new Laptop Lifestyle business model. I live here in CA and work/live in Italy a few times a year. That’s the goal and plan! I’m so grateful to have done the 30 days well intended for transformation. Much needed! I’m a new woman with a new life. Appreciate your thoughts and care. xo Marla

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