Thursday, August 29, 2013

So Far... (2013)

So far, I have learned a few things which I should never forget:

Some of the greatest finds are unexpected. Appreciate beauty in all of its forms. Study what interests you, and even some of the things that don’t. The airline may forgive your tardiness, however showing up the next day is just stupid. Look out for big metal poles in playgrounds when playing with children or driving your truck in reverse. Sometimes you must recant. Say thank you. Best intentions matter little to: thieves, women, cancer, customers, and Samuel L. Jackson. If your uncle calls you on his birthday, you could probably be a better nephew. Most opportunities are created. You must be present to win. There is no shame in losing, only in not learning from defeat. Sometimes it’s better just to take a cab. Call your mother. Life is temporary – treat it well. Angels exist. Go out and meet the world, because it really wants to meet you. Never trust a Greek cab driver at the drop-off point of the bus from the airport in Athens. It’s easy to wake up early when you sleep in your car. Narita Airport does not have 24-hour public transportation into Tokyo. The train station in Rome closes. Feed people. 21st Century technology is no substitute for face-to-face communication. Give up your seat for a lady. Don’t spend all your money on a first date, even if she’s worth it. Get out and walk. Teach others what you know, and always be open to learn more. Love is a decision, as well as a commandment. Never trust the people at the drive-thru to get your order correct, without checking, if it’s that big a deal. You must be an active participant in your own rescue. Empathize. Say what you mean. Laugh. Smile. Watch out for motorcycles.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Wildest Moments

Attention all world travelers: what you seek may not be found in books or on maps. There is a good chance you are looking for moments. You know, those moments when you realize you have found something uniquely special that you are certain you will talk and think about forever? You know when you are in the moment, however it is oftentimes difficult to discern when that moment begins and when it ends. Of course, some time after the fact, you may be able to pinpoint the duration of your moment with precision. Sometimes you decide. Other times, you simply enjoy it for what it is. Still others, you hang on for dear life like on a roller coaster or in a great movie. The wildest moments are just that - untamed and out of your hands. You can pray to be able to hold on or revisit, but the wildest moments are completely unpredictable... and they are precisely the goal of many a world traveler. This is not to say you seek out fleeting moments, but rather welcome the experience that others dare not - the best or worst in this world - and are willing to take the chance for that journey. The wildest moments are indeed a gamble, but they are the wind in many a sail. In many cases, they are your inspiration. The best, they become your reason.

Monday, August 5, 2013


I was thinking about how strange it is for us to accept change. People are always saying, "change is good," but in my experience those are the same people who either are trying to convince themselves of it or those who are trying to impose change on you. Consider David Hasselhoff going into singing, Justin Timberlake taking up acting, or Paris Hilton... becoming a businesswoman; we're skeptical, and for good reason. I have already mentioned in an earlier post about how the entire cast of Grey's Anatomy breaking out into song one episode gave me the heebeegeebees. There is a certain transition that needs to take place in our minds from the known to the unknown. Hamlet struggled with this notion, as evident in his famous "To be or not to be..." soliloquy, and I believe it is quite a universal quandary (maybe not the whole suicide/death thing, but, you know).

Now, certain changes just happen - perhaps not spontaneously, however - due to unexpected (or even expected) variables, and there is nothing that can be done about it except accept the transition as truth. These changes are forced. Other changes are decided, planned, and executed. Oftentimes, these changes are more difficult.

I learned a lot from my time as a high school soccer coach. My determination was inspired by those girls and their potential for something great. Odds were that none of my junior varsity players would go on to play for the national team or have professional careers in the sport, so I made the focus of our training about learning how to win. Much of our discussions hinged upon a personal decision to reach our goals; I realized early on that girls and boys approach sports differently, yet this intrigued me as universal. One thing my players taught me was that it was impossible to force my will on them, whether it be to have a game face or to have a league championship be the only acceptable conclusion to the season. So, it became my duty to try to inspire the fundamental ability to change one's behaviors in a positive manner when on a quest for anything worth conquering. I gave a lot of advice from as young as eighteen years-old that I think, even at the time, would take a strong constitution to live up to - certainly stronger than I exemplified - yet I knew we were all on a mission to someday grow into the people we needed to become.

While change takes place constantly, for better or for worse, I think it is always important to recognize our capacity for it. Indeed some of the best changes occur when we confront our obstacles and decide to overcome them for some greater purpose. I am always thankful for those angels charged with inspiring such action, even when it is not pleasant.