An audio and video podcast of my trip hitchhiking around the world by sea.
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Life as I see it…

It’s hard to save the world when you can feel your family falling apart. I wrote recently of the “burden of love”. Of helping carry the burdens of those closest to you. Sometimes in love there is no burden at all. Sometimes love carries your burdens. Those are the times poets dream about. The glow of love. When life is full and beautiful. When you wake up smiling for no specific reason. But there is another side to love. The side that says no matter how dark it gets, “I’m here.” The side that says, “Yeah, this is ugly… but we’re gonna get through it.”

I don’t have a wife. I have no kids. Not even a girlfriend. So the most I know of love is my family. But I have one heck of a family. A sister, brother in law, niece on the way. Some of the finest grandparents to walk the face. A mother, I would give the world for. So for me, there is a moment when a personal adventure needs to be placed on hold, and family difficulties given proper attention. That’s where I’ve been (off and on) for the past couple weeks-with family. Which is why I haven’t been writing much. Frankly my creative well has been running low. But it’s good. It’s hard, but it’s right. And already things are little better.

I’m not the kind of guy that can sit back at a distance and watch things happen. I have to do something. And in the end, even if that something did very little, I can at least rest in the fact I tried. That I did in fact try to make a difference. Now without sharing details, I can say I breath a little easier. Things are not right but better. Even if I had to take a break from the “adventure”, when it comes to my family… it’s worth it.

The good news is life can offer as many lessons in the walls of your home as it can in the middle of the ocean on the other side of the world. What’s interesting is they are similar lessons. Here’s a few I’ve been reminded of:

Lesson #1: Communicate. It is the key to life. If you ask someone for salt and they give you pepper, it can mean one of two things. Either A. The person is an abhorrent jerk without a soul. (Which is what we often assume.) Or B. The person simply misunderstood, either what you asked for or what salt is. (Which is often the case.) Our assumption will determine our reaction. Our reaction will spur on their reaction. And the cycle begins. In short, assume nothing. Step back and try to understand just what it is the other person is thinking. This is a lesson I think will go a long way whether we are asking for a roll at the dinner table or a baguette in Parisian bakery.

Lesson #2 (or #1 in importance): Live without regret. There’s a lot involved in this one. Priorities. Dreams. Action. Passion. It applies to every part of our lives. What is important in your life? Is it love? Is it adventure? Is it achievement? Is it family? …Is it obvious? Your dreams will never go away. They may subside, but they will return whispering “what if” for the rest of your life. And when they do you will forever question yourself and your decisions in life.

Lesson #3 (which is really more of a footnote to 2): Do the right thing. I know that’s a loaded statement, and there are many who would counter there is no “right” or “wrong”. So if it’s the term that holds you up, maybe we can at least agree on “appropriate”. Sometimes it’s not easy to know. Sometimes it can mean two opposite things depending on the context of the situation. But it is an important lesson and closely connected to living without regret.

You see there is chance when in life you do follow that “dream” and it’s not quite the dream you thought it was. The reality is not quite as colorful as the postcard. The stage is not big. The lights not as bright. The guy not as charming, the girl as sweet. The fairytale becomes human… but here’s the catch, you’ll never know unless try. But when you try,  when you set off down that road, don’t burn you bridges as go, because there’s a chance you’ll want to go home when it’s all said and done.

And that is life as I see it. It’s been an emotional couple of weeks, but not without lesson or reward. When I look back at the end, I’ll be happy I came home. But I also think I’ll be happy I went to Africa… which is where I will be in 3 days! Oh yes, life is changing. The adventure must go on! I have got some explaining to do, but I’ll save that for my next entry…


1 Ima Traveler { 05.05.08 at 9:51 am }

prolificness at its finest

2 Joel Auernheimer { 05.06.08 at 11:31 am }

Great principles for life. The world could use more empathy and integrity. And some adventure-seeking shouldn’t hurt much. 😉

3 jani { 05.15.08 at 8:30 pm }

Your lessons in life are very true, especially # 1. Enjoy what the world offers, seek beyond the horizon, and never stop.


Janinatt Viteri

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