In those two weeks in Providence, our life shrunk down to fit a smaller scale. We didn't get in a car once. Instead, we walked everywhere--to class, the grocery store, the laundromat--all the while admiring the breathtaking historic architecture of this old American city. Walking, going slower and simplifying allowed us to connect with our surroundings on a much more intimate level.
Both Francesca and I were surprised to discover how much we enjoyed living simply. We truly felt the difference it makes to cut out unnecessary elements and live with less.
So, if you can, I suggest a little experiment: simplify your existence for a week. Make a list of the most essential things you need and get rid of the rest. When we stripped down our lives, it became clear how little we actually do need. And, more to the point, without all the other stuff in the way, we were able to see something important: the things that make us truly happy.