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Winning A Trip Led Me On A Journey To Purpose

I believe people enter our life for reason’s unexplained but always with purpose. Maybe it is for us to teach someone something. Or maybe we are in need to be taught something profound that is unseen to us. Like a beautiful young woman I came across and the interaction I witnessed that she had with a gentleman in the Delta VIP Airport Lounge in Rome, Italy  which brought me to tears publicly. But I will get to that in a minute.

The reason I was in Rome is because I entered a contest given by a motivational speaker I follow on Twitter. He is Life Coach, Mentor and Author of A Sensational Salesman, Duane Dale Cummings. I had to write as to why I deserved to win a trip of a lifetime. I wrote briefly about my  life, where it has been and the awakening I felt I was having. A metamorphosis of sorts I was going through and the craving I had to offer something more to the world. I hit the send button and forgot about it. And then one evening weeks and weeks later I received a phone call from Mr. Cummings that I won.

I could chose any where in the world I wanted to travel to. I was torn between the Philippines and Italy. Due to time constraints on my end -having work and a teenager still at home- Italy won. Southern Italy especially. I chose it because of the spectacular beauty, the history, the culture and of course the food!

I left NYC, flew to Atlanta to meet up with Duane and his amazing wife Kimberly. We had talked numerous times on the phone, texted and emailed so I was completely comfortable meeting them and hopefully lol it was likewise. We then flew into Rome together and the journey began.

The book Duane wrote is not just about being a great salesman but how the main character Thomas’s life comes completely unraveled and because of his lies and deceit he loses everything, his career, his fiance, his home, his car but importantly somewhere along the path he lost his integrity. Not that Thomas was necessarily a bad person, he just chose to take the easy way out. One night when Thomas was at his absolute lowest point, a gentleman unexpectedly enters his life and Thomas ends up taking a journey with him simply based on trust. Thomas is shown what’s really important and given the tools to be successful. It’s a story that will make us all look at our own life to see what we can do to make our inner self better. In turn we can enrich someone else’s life. Because isn’t that what’s it’s about?

Duane and Kimberly thought an apartment in Italy would be ideal. I couldn’t have agreed more and was more than pleasantly surprised when I found out we had a 2 bedroom, 2 bathroom, roof top apartment in the charming little Italian village of Sorrento. My bedroom had 3 marble steps leading up to sliding glass doors that went out to a patio where I could see the volcano Mount Vesuvius. To wake up in the morning and breathe in that fresh air was breathing new life into me.

I truly enjoyed sitting outside on the patio talking with Kim and Duane and as we learned about each other’s families we were becoming one. Discussing comfort zones on one of our chats, I was telling Duane about a Network Marketing Company I had just gotten involved in and to my astonishment he knows one of the top leaders in it quite well, called him right then and there, introduced me and I spoke with him on the phone! I ask you what are the chances are of that?

The Sea town of Sorrento sat on the Amalfi Coast and was bountiful with cafe’s and churches that dated back to the 1,500’s.We walked around little neighborhoods exploring this still so ancient world in structure. Everyone that passed us would pleasantly nod their head or give a Ciao in acknowledgement. I knew choosing Italy was the right choice.

While there going to the Isle of Capri was on the top of the list of things I desired to do. So we got up early one morning and made our way over to where we had to catch a ferry. To get to the dock we had to walk down about 2,000 steps. Okay, I might be slightly exaggerating but it really was incredible how many stairs there were. It amazed me how towns were built into mountains of rock and that people actually carved these stairs. At the bottom while waiting for the ferry we had breakfast sitting on the cusp of the ocean and the beauty just left you speechless. As I was taking this all in and feeling abundantly grateful for this gift, I couldn’t help but wonder how we getting back to the top..

We got on the ferry and when we arrived on the Island we then took the funicular -electric trolley- up the steep mountain side to the top of Capri. Like Thomas, I stepped out on fate but traveled across the world and standing on the most spectacular Island lover looking the glistening sea simply based on trust and a will to learn to be the best I can be not just for me as an individual but for who ever enters my life. I was discovering my purpose was greater than me or what I thought it was.

There was a couple taking pictures. Duane of course being as generous as he is offered to take pictures of them together. It turned out they had gotten married -a little later in life and were on their honeymoon. Most the pictures they had were not of them together for obvious reasons. Though  you certainly should have pictures of yourself together in Italy when on your honeymoon. So Duane took quite a few with the beautiful scenery behind them. We all got to talking and they happened to be fellow New Yorker’s. We exchanged contact information, took more pictures, had a laugh and parted new friends. There is more to this amazing couple but I will leave it at what I said earlier-people come into our lives for a reason.

Duane seemed to have this affect on people where ever we were. He would tell me, “Everyone has a story.” Some stories were delightful like the couple we met on Capri and some not so much. Like the woman from Queens, NY we met on the bus. I heard that NY accent and said hello and we got to talking so I asked her what brought her to Italy. Sadly she lost her husband and she was trying to learn to enjoy life without him. He always wanted to go to Italy but was never able to. So she traveled there with his love and dreams carried only in her heart.

Duane hired a private driver one day, Andre who was a former pro-racer. He met us early and took us all around the Amalfi Coast -in comfort I might add-in his spacious Mercedes Mini Van. We were at the top coasting along the edge on narrow, winding roads 1,000’s of feet above sea level with breath taking views of all of God’s creation. We were making our way to the bottom where the sea met the earth. Stopping along the way where a man had a small fruit stand and fresh juice and another person was selling turquoise jewelry. Near by was a massive statue of the Blessed Mother Mary that stood with eminence over looking the town of Amalfi that goes back to the 9th Century.  I said a prayer or 2 and then we took pictures of the scenic view. Andre drove us down as far as he could then we had to walk the rest of the way. When we got to the bottom the water was aqua blue with little small boats out in the water. In one boat there was a man and his dog fishing to sell the fresh catch to restaurants and I thought that actually didn’t seem like such a bad job to have. It appeared so peaceful.

As I turned around to look up at the mountain side that cascaded above us I noticed the back of Duane and Kim’s jackets that read, A Sensational Life. I had such an epiphany in that moment. I am so blessed to have received this incredible gift and the experience of having my very own personal life coach who traveled across the world to teach me and guide me. I’ve learned that everyone lives life but not everyone knows their purpose. And that was a huge moment for me. I don’t want to just live my life I want to live it with purpose, my purpose. I want to live my one life sensationally.

We were starving at this point so Andre took us to an incredible place to eat in Positano off the beaten path, called El Pirata. It sat on the coastline at sea level literally. Carved out of rock, like a cave rather with part of it outside and that’s where we sat taking in the mesmerizing beauty of it all. We enjoyed the most incredible lunch ever with fresh tomato’s, bread drizzled with olive oil and Seafood Risotto. Our waiter Johnny had the most gracious smile. He has been a waiter for 30 years and loved his job simply because of the people he gets to meet from all over the world and the relationships he has developed with them.  Sitting there, it was of course another moment that I relished. So much so, it’s hard to describe those emotions when you are in such a place of gratitude and euphoria.  It became a special place in Italy for me that I feel compelled to return to.

After lunch we walked around the town, took pictures and talked about our experience so far. Duane has this amazing way of relating my experiences in Italy to my own life so I was able to have (many) ah-ha moments. Sometimes I would get quiet and Duane would comment on it. I would just be thinking how blessed I felt and how much this dream come to reality meant to me. How thankful I am but knowing there was nothing I could say or do to show my gratitude to Duane and Kimberly. Except to use all the tools they gave me on this trip and utilize them in my life and maybe, hopefully one day be able to pass this gift on to someone else. Help someone discover their purpose because mine is certainly not what I thought it was.

At the end of the day Andre drove us the 3 hour trip up to Rome to our hotel. Sadly we said our good-byes, checked in, and having a second wind, dropped our stuff off at our rooms and then went for a bite to eat in a traditional little bistro on a side street where they didn’t speak English but brought the right food. Rome was absolutely astonishing. To be able to explore all the incredible history. Walking through Old Rome, the Colosseum where Caesar ruled. Walk on black cobblestone streets that were hand laid one by one in Biblical times, to walking through Vatican City was just surreal.

While in Rome it was my birthday and I actually forgot about it. Kim and Duane did not and they made it extraordinarily special. We spent the day exploring and we walked until we couldn’t walk any more. A surprise rain storm had perfect timing in the evening and we stopped to get a meal at a quaint Bistro that had an awesome tarp roof so we could still sit outside. We had another great dinner, a birthday drink, took funny video and it was the best down pour I’ve ever been caught in. A birthday I will truly treasure for the rest of my life.

It was time to leave Italy and I was leaving an entirely new person. While there I had renewed thoughts, ambitions and goals. Duane coached me to seeing what I could improve on and lets face it we all could improve somewhere in our life, whether with work goals, parenting issues, relationships or time management to name a few. He has opened my eyes to me seeing where I need to step out of my comfort zone and I realize now when you stay in that zone you are inhibiting yourself from going further in all aspects of your life. You have to write your goals and make a plan to achieve to them. You also have to lead by example.

While waiting for our plane at the airport in Rome we were sitting in the Delta VIP lounge finishing up complimentary coffee, eggs, croissants and fruit. As I’m sitting there after an amazing, life changing experience in Southern Italy. A young girl in her early 20’s working there picked up our cups and dishes. She made no eye contact with anyone in the lounge but just walked around continuously picking up after people. She emitted a sadness about her.

Duane said hello to her, she looked surprised but grinned politely. She walked away and when she circled back through Duane said, “Signorina, excuse me can you come here please?” She came back looking puzzled or nervous like she possibly did something wrong.

“Yes Sir. What can I do for you?”

Duane looked at her and said, “What is your name?”

“My name? My  name is Cynthia.”

Duane said, “Cynthia, what is your dream?”

She inhaled quickly- just short of a gasp- crossed both hands over her chest, looked up as if she was silently speaking to God, then looking back at Duane with tears instantly filling the rims of her large almond eyes she could barely get the words out, “My dream… No one… ever asked me that.. before.”

I felt a lump in my throat and as I looked down to the floor because I could feel my own tears swelling up. I noticed her tattered shoes. My mind raced with thoughts of how her life was and is.. What struggles did she endure in her life? What were her dreams. What was holding her back from achieving them? Duane’s words, “Everyone has a story.”

Duane asked her, “Do you have a dream?”

“I want to go to America. She paused, or any where. I want to teach.”

I sat there wiping a tear away feeling  so very thankful for my life and for why I was sitting in that Delta VIP lounge with the 2 beautiful people I was sitting there with. Duane asked her if she could read English and she said she could.  He reached into his bag giving her a copy of his book, The Sensational Salesman and then he gave her his business card and told her, “I want you to get in contact with me.”

I thought the tears were going to bust out of me when she grabbed the book and held it close to her. She looked at his card and while continuously nodding her head she just kept repeating the word yes with a certain excitement. Kind of like the night I learned I won the trip. I looked at Kimberly who was obviously feeling the same as I. Cynthia left to go put the book away and I looked at Duane and whose eyes were also slightly watery he said, “You never  know someone’s story. I hope she reaches out to me.” Duane entered her life for a reason greater than she knows, just like he entered mine.

The announcement came on for us to get ready to board so we gathered our belongings and headed to the gate.  I walked and thought how lucky was I to win this trip. entering a contest held by Author, Motivational Speaker and Life Coach, Duane Dale Cummings. I was selected out of thousands of people and spent 8 gracious days in Italy eating delicious food, seeing amazing history, going off beaten paths and experiencing Italy’s true culture but more so exploring my own life having been given the gift of having my own personnel Life Coach and having lessons on how to better myself as a mother, a team leader, a boss, a neighbor, a woman, a friend, a daughter, a partner. Conversations that will stay with me. Lessons that have become apart of my everyday living. Most that I have implemented into my life and a few I am still working on.

On a last note, we met a group people in line at the airport. Duane and a gentleman started up a conversation. Their group was returning back from a relatively dangerous missionary trip to the Middle East.And because of fate one of the women, Karen from the group sat next to me on the flight home. When I say people come into our lives for a reason she is an example of that. A lovely lady from Florida who had chosen to go to the Middle East to help women and children before starting treatment for Breast Cancer. Ironically it was Breast Cancer Awareness Month and the stewardess had mentioned in an announcement that there was pink lemonade for sale and all proceeds would go to that. Karen and I had great conversation, very touching and personal at times where we made each other cry. We were suppose to meet at the airport that day and we were suppose to sit next to each other on the plane. When I say people come into our lives for a reason, this is an example of that. It’s just so profound.

Later on the plane the stewardess-who is a breast cancer survivor- had to make an announcement that a gentleman on the plane had purchased all of the pink lemonade so it was completely free to anyone that would like a glass. I have a suspicion I know who that could be…

I just want to add that if you read this I hope you got something out of it aside from the fact that I had an incredible holiday in Southern Italy with Kim and Duane. I want to ask you; Do you know what your purpose is? If so I would love to hear about it.

Blessings xo