Recently I posted a link on my Facebook page to an article that is so profound that I want to write a little bit about each of the things to do that we won’t regret later.
#1: Traveling while you had the chance.
It’d be hard for me to log where all we have traveled. Travel is a vital part of mine and Sharon’s lives.
Travel is not just the fact that you’ve traveled, it’s enjoying the planning and the journey. Travel exposes you to other people and that connection is integral to our growth and our satisfaction as humans.
Travel is trying a buffalo burger in Wyoming, a 2″ porkchop at Patty’s or jerked chicken from a pit in Jamaica. Travel is listening and watching other people talk and learning that YOU are not the only ones. Travel is humbling. Whether it’s staring down into the vastness of Grand Canyon, camping under an orange tree in Bakersfield or flapping around in the waters of Beech Lake, we must get up off the couch and enjoy this brief life while we can.
In 17 days, I see a foot and ankle specialist at Vandy over some tendon disagreements inside of my left foot. This has caused considerable changes to the ankle structure and requires that I wear an ankle brace/wrap and a buildup in the shoe or, well, I can’t walk. But with my lace-up leather boots on I can dance like DWTS! So I can personally attest to the need to get up, put down the remote and enjoy mobility in life while we can.I NEVER thought I’d have foot problems and how debilitating that it can be.
These 2 size 14s have danced the night away two-stepping at the Roundup in Texas, trekked through 2000 year old redwood forests in California, they have rollerboogied till they couldn’t boogie no mo and they have went on several walkabouts in jungles in Mexico. They have scaled the side of a pyramid on tiny steps built for tiny Myans with a tiny size 7 foot. Each place I recall now with great memories of travel. It wasn’t just the feat of the personal experience, it was the connection to the people there.
Travel is the human connection to Clovis Treasure who was the guide that I hired while we were in Jamaica. I hired Clovis the first morning we were in Ocho Rios to be our personal guide and he took us to many places that most people wouldn’t ever have the chance. He was an amazing man that taught us a lot about Jamaican culture. I actually met Clovis on that first morning as I walked out onto our balcony in nothing but my underwear and was stretching, enjoying the view and all of a sudden I hear ‘good morning mun’. I couldn’t see anyone, anywhere and then a bronzed arm popped out of the leaves of a coconut tree right in front of me, waving at me. Clovis had just been sitting in a coconut tree watching the ocean and then a tall white man in his blue BVDs interrupted his morning. Clovis was our guide, protector and our friend for that week.
In June of 2007, we knew the kids were getting older, as were we. So we planned for awhile and saved and planned some more. Then we took the whole month of June off of work, took the kids and we camped out west for the month. I towed that 21 foot Outback camper for 6,421.7 miles and 16 states. To this day, that has been one of the most memorable things in mine and my wife’s life. And the kids still talk about it. The people we met. The things we did, the time together connecting with each other. The freedom of the open blacktop ribbon in front of us. The love inside of that Chevy truck and the sound of the sea lions barking behind our camper on the California beach of Morro Bay..these are the things I hope to remember in my last moment.
So many people have said to me ‘I wish I could do that trip!’ My reply was ‘You CAN! I give you permission!’.
We are planning a trip to Europe next year with some lifelong close friends, Nancy and Curtis Choate. We have wanted to do a European vacation for years. I had a call to arms when Nancy texted me last Saturday and said ‘We need to plan a European cruise. We’re not getting any younger!’. And she was indeed right. The time is now. And planning is half the fun.
So, start planning where you’ll go today. It doesn’t have to be fancy or expensive or in another country. It can be across town. If you’re like me , there are things in your own town you’ve never done. Get out. Connect. Live. While we can.
That’s the best that I can tell about it.