Floating down the Mekong. Running past the Vatican. Sitting on the rooftop in Fez, listening to the chorus of calls to prayer. Hearing a new friends life story in the course of a single train ride. Savoring the best hot chocolate in the world at the Museo del Chocolate. Being sung Frank Sinatra songs–in perfectly unaccented English–in Albania. Rounding the bend and running into a llama. Not anticipating snow. Having my breath taken away. Getting stranded in a cafe during the flood. Forgetting about the passage of time in Buenos Aires. Sitting on one continent, looking at another.

I know contentment is an internal state, rather than derived through external circumstances. Could I have this feeling anywhere? Absolutely. Do I love going to Vietnam, Europe or Casablanca to find it? Absolutely.

Part of why I travel is for moments like these. Very few involve museums or typical tourist attractions. Usually it’s when I’m still and open. But sometimes it’s another person that reflects my contentment back at me. They’re hard to predict and usually come suddenly and forcefully. I just look up and realize I’m content in the perfection of this moment.