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If you had told me three years ago that I would be writing this now from a colonial casita in Merida, Mexico, I would have responded “Yeah, right…”. But just over three months into a seven-month trip, here I am – and I won’t ever say “Yeah, right…” again. Travel has changed my life. And I think it could change yours too.
Travel (especially long-term travel) isn’t for everyone. If you’ve thought about it and are on the fence when it comes to traveling, however, I can assure you that the experiences, benefits and perspective you get are too good to miss. Here are some of the most life-changing aspects I’ve experienced over the past few months:
There are days that your life will change forever, in an instant, never to be the same again. You don’t know it is coming. You haven’t prepared for it. It just happens to you. I had one of those days a couple of years ago.
I was facilitating a meeting for a group of Self Employed Women. As we were having lunch my phone rang and my husband’s name flashed up on the screen. “That’s strange” I thought. He never phones me if he knows I am running a business meeting. But when I answered it wasn’t my husband’s voice at the end of the line. It was a paramedic.
I was watching a movie the other day called, “Peaceful Warrior.” There’s a character in that movie called, “Socrates.” He’s a very wise and intelligent guy. One of the things he said really caught my attention. He said, “Death isn’t sad. The sad thing is: most people don’t live at all.”
Most people don’t live. It seems almost esoteric or new agey to say something like that. But deep inside, I know it’s really true. Most people’s lives flash before their eyes. They go day in and day out just going through the movements. They’re not really… living.
For most of my life, I kept a tragedy to myself. An event that I witnessed at a young age altered my thinking forever. It fueled the way I approach life. In recent years, I began sharing how death changed my life.
When I was a freshman in high school, I saw a good friend of mine die. Paul Kartlick was playing basketball in PE class one day and tripped. He hit his head on the outdoor concrete court and died on the spot. One moment we were playing basketball and the next moment he was gone. He was 14 years old.
Before going any further into this post, I want to clarify two things: 1) This is not a product or promotion I’m pushing that costs $16; 2) This is a very low point in my life that I haven’t shared with many people. Now, with full disclosure out of the way, I’ll tell you what the title is all about.
In the summer of 2008, I worked as a sales trainer for a small marketing firm in Nashville, TN. Although during my career there I would work in over 7 different campaigns, at the time I was selling and training salespeople for a retail promotion involving At&t’s home services inside their cellular stores. Do you remember going into an At&t store and someone coming up asking you about your home phone service? Could have been me or someone I trained.
All I could see was the blank page. I found myself staring at the journal that lay open on my lap. It was the third time in a week I’d made an attempt to start writing in my new journal and I was determined to begin with something other than ‘Dear Diary.’ Several minutes, one headache, and three aspirin later I closed the journal and decided I’d try again tomorrow when I was fresh.
The morning rolls around and I sit staring at that wretched blank page which just stares right back at me as if to say, “How many times are we going to go through this?” Finally I caved and I wrote, ‘Dear Diary,’ in black pen. Suddenly, the words that wouldn’t come flowed easily. I wrote for an hour. Who knew I had so much to say? I was fascinated.