Our friend John has returned from his trip that we have been chronicling in a series of “From the Road” posts. His dispatches have been insightful, corny, hilarious, and reflective. He is a gifted writer in that it has felt like we were along for the ride. We know he envisioned this trip as a life-changing experience. It was something he just had to do. I have been eagerly awaiting the opportunity for a conversation about that. This morning, a summary, so very, very John, arrived:
It has been a little over a month since I’ve assimilated back into my typical routines and I have been reflecting on what I may have learned on my odyssey and how I might live differently going forward. As a reminder, my previous lessons shared were:
1. Don’t get too comfortable, the “check engine” light just came on.
2. Do your best, be nice to those you meet, and enjoy the trip.
3. You would be surprised at how many firsts are really just repeats.
4. Everything can only go so far.
5. Hot and cold are an example of how our experiences are just a change in the status quo.
6. It is better to use your stuff and break it than to keep it ready for another day.
7. Don’t hesitate to ask.
8. The best plans change.
9. Posing can cost you the prize.
To these I add the following:
10. When you cut through the distractions we allow to clutter our days, the choices become clear: faith in a god, an ideal, or a purpose larger than yourself; devotion to family and traditions; integrity and loyalty; having fun and keeping things simple.
As the old saying goes “we are all alone in this together”. Yet I met the following 25 wonderful people who made my odyssey immensely better: Larry, Stacey, Keith & Trina, Dan & Laurie, Wayne & Nina; Marvin, Mur & Pat; Craig, Mike, Joe, Tom, Bert, Jeff, Mark & Lana, James, Ken (ASP), Tom & Jean, Shari, and Julia. I hope I was as generous to them as they were to me.
We saw 43 notable animals along the way including: 1 elk; 6 moose; 12 black bears; 7 grizzlies; 3 eagles, 6 loons, 1 osprey; 2 humpback whales; 2 wood bison; 1 stone mountain goat; and 2 stone mountain sheep.
We learned the following 9 Canadian sayings: Eh and Right (everywhere); Mydear (New Foundland); Tied-Up (Alberta); Beauty Right (Prince George); Blubbering A Bib Full and Chewing the Rag (Vancouver Island); It’s all good (Yukon); and Slippy (Prince Edward Island).
The lessons I hope to keep applying include:
* Daily activities are at best a distraction, and more likely avoidance, from the reality that few of us are really prepared to survive.
* Happiness is real only when shared.
* I don’t feel as old as I look.
* Stop, look, listen, and ask.
We are all traveling in a circle.
For some it is like a merry-go-round in that every day they travel in a very small circle. For others it’s more like a rollercoaster with ups and downs and twists and turns that seem new each ride. Regardless we are all born, we live, and then we die. Since that cannot be escaped, we need to break out of our circles and take time for those side trips, eat at different restaurants, try new activities, and talk with strangers.
You cannot imagine the adventures that await.
I thoroughly enjoyed writing these emails to share with the 141 people on the distribution list. Knowing that each of you was waiting to read the next update made me pause and reflect on my daily activities and for that I thank you. Cortney had a 22 minute movie made from some of the pictures and video taken on the trip that is awesome and a wonderful keepsake. I may post it on YouTube some day. I leave you with 4 last pictures from the 436 we have in the photo album.
Its all good – eh.
Photo Credits: John Wayne Barker