Those perfect moments in travel

When was the last time you experienced a perfect moment? You know, the kind of moment when everything is in sync and where a certain clarity surrounds the scene, setting it apart from the rest of the world.

For those who play sports, this might be at some type of athletic event: at a ballpark on a summer evening or at an indoor basketball court one winter night.

It might be a moment where you turn a triple play or make a buzzer-beating three-point shot to win a championship for the home team.

For me, perfect moments appear while I'm traveling. One such moment occurred in Seville, Spain, while I was winding down a road by a whitewashed labyrinth of homes beyond whose gates were courtyards with fountains and towering foliage.

I rounded a corner and entered what looked and smelled like paradise - a public courtyard filled with the fragrance of the orange trees lining its edges. The trees provided shade for gorgeous tropical flowers and mosaic-tiled benches where, on this particular day, I was treated to the music of a local guitarist strumming his 12-string.

What made it so perfect was that it was totally unexpected.

Traveling creates unique memories, and it is the sense of adventure that makes it so. Guidebooks offer great suggestions. But it often seems that the wisteria-covered trellis that shields the cafe that's off the tourist-trodden path is the one the visitor will most remember.

I've learned to take advantage of these discoveries and stray a bit from the schedule to allow for the gifts of the moment.

If you can't leave home just now, you can let your imagination take you away. Perhaps your memory will conjure up appealing scenes you had almost forgotten.

Until then, carpe diem! In my experience, the perfect moment is just waiting for you to experience, wherever you are.

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