Stop and Smell The Roses…World Traveler!!!

Peden + Munk

Stop and Smell The Roses…World Traveler!!!

By: Dr. Will Moreland

America’s #1 Leadership Life Trainer


Growing up in Compton, California, I would have bet you any amount of money that I would never eat escargot;  but here I was, sitting in a beautiful small restaurant in Paris eating a snail. As I write this, it brings a smile to my face. For some of you, this may not be a big deal; but this was HUGE for me. Let’s just say I wasn’t one for trying new things. I was your simple “meat and potatoes” kind of guy. So how did I come to eating this small little creature I used to see in my backyard? Keep reading.

Over the years, my work as an international leadership trainer and speaker has allowed me to travel the world to places like Dubai, Spain, Ghana, India, Nigeria, the United Kingdom, Anguilla and Saint Maarten to name a few. Fifty countries and adding more each year.

Early in my career, I have to admit, I didn’t take advantage of all the beautiful places I had the opportunity to visit. I was what you would call a “work-a-holic.” I would hop off the plane, head to my hotel and wait to hit the stage. Once I was done, I would head back over to the hotel, watch a little TV and head back home.

When I would return home, two of the main questions people would asked me: “What did you see and what did you do?”

Boldly and with confidence, I would reply, “I didn’t have time for any of that; I was working!”

After a few years, (hey, I’m a slow learner), I realized I was missing out on a great opportunity to experience new things and to meet new people. I made a commitment to myself that I would give myself the “Gift of Travel.”

For a moment, I started to regret all the missed opportunities I missed over those first couple of years; but I soon brushed it off and just told myself not to let it happen again. I told myself I was going to “stop and smell the roses.”

My next few trips were very rewarding; but I felt as though I wasn’t getting the most from my trips. I thought for a few days on how I could maximize my trips and make them even more fulfilling. If I wanted to get the most from my trips, I needed a plan.

As I started to ponder what really was the “Gift of Travel,” I came up with this one word, EXPLORE! On every trip, I was going to explore the food, the people and the culture. In each new country I had the opportunity to visit, I was going to actually visit. I know, what a novel idea.

First up was Paris. With my newfound commitment to exploring; after my event, I set out to find a local restaurant. I went to the front desk and asked for a few recommendations. Armed with a couple of choices, I settled for a small quiet place off the main road.

Once I was seated, the server came over and asked if I would like something to drink as I looked over the menu. I ordered my usual, coffee. As I looked over the menu, I felt the pressure to go back to my place of comfort. I looked for an appetizer that I was used to back home; but I wanted to keep my word to myself.

It felt like hours; I even think a little sweat begin to run down my forehead as I looked over that menu. Then the moment of truth came. I heard those words; words I had heard hundreds of times, but this time it was different. I’m not sure, but in that moment, I think the lights went dim and it felt like everyone in the restaurant had their eyes on me. In a moment of courage, without another thought, I looked at my server and said, “I’ll have the ESCARGOT, please!”

I’m guessing my server had heard those words a million times; because there were no balloons being released. The chef didn’t come to congratulate me. My server just turned and walked away.

It was at that moment, I started to give myself the “Gift of Travel.” What seemed liked a routine order of an appetizer in Paris has turned into a lifetime of memories, relationships and experiences.

When I travel now, I commit to trying something new; meeting new people and learning about the culture I am in. I challenge you to give yourself the “Gift of Travel” and don’t forget to “Stop and Smell the Roses.”