An Amazing Life

We’re currently in Lakehills, TX, outside of San Antonio. After New Orleans we went to Lafayette, LA for a few days, then headed west. We spent nearly three weeks in Willis, TX, outside Houston, then a glorious week in Austin before coming here. In a few days, we’re headed to Roswell.

The park had a huge free dinner tonight for Memorial Day weekend. Dad and I sat with a couple who have been full-timing for almost a year. They’re still learning the ropes, so we shared some tips from the road–balancing costs, staying in hostels, all sorts of things. We also shared some road stories.

Finally the wife could no longer contain herself. She blurted out, “You really have an amazing life! I hope we get to do all those things!”

Seeing my blank look, she explained. Apparently in the previous half-hour, we had started stories with the following:

When we were fording three glacier streams in Alaska…

At the youth hostel that used to be a brothel in Atlanta…

One of our dearest friends was the top tarot reader in Jackson Square in the French Quarter…

On our most recent cruise…

I hadn’t even realized we had done that, and I certainly hope she didn’t think we were bragging (though they genuinely seemed excited about the possibilities that lay ahead for them). It’s just my life, and just like any other life, it’s easy to get caught up in the day to day minutiae and forget to look around and enjoy it.

Her words did remind me of a conversation we had on a cruise ship a few years ago. We were speaking with another cruise passenger. Clearly she had the money and the interest in travel, or she wouldn’t have been there. But we were sharing stories of our experiences, and she blurted out “Wow, I thought I had a cool life. Mine’s got nothing on yours! I wish I could travel all the time!”

Dad and I really do have a cool life. There’s no other way to describe it. On any given day, we might awaken to find deer outside our door, or catch a parade in the middle of the afternoon, or touch a moon rock, or celebrate Australia Day with a bunch of Aussies. We might get stuck in rush hour traffic in a city we’ve never seen or accidentally find ourselves on a narrow, winding mountain road (both of which happened just this week, thankfully not simultaneously!). We might share a jigsaw puzzle with a brilliant child or gorge ourselves on a banana split (both of which we did today). Or just wander the streets of a Wild West town and pick up a 1930s guide to New Orleans at the used bookstore (that was yesterday).

A dear friend suggested on Facebook several days ago that we should all try to flip our filters. Instead of constantly posting “I hate my life” entries about the negatives of the day, why not post “I love my life” entries focusing on the positives?

So here’s mine for today:

I am blessed to be able to travel the world and get paid to write about my adventures. I am blessed to be able to share those adventures with my father, who also acts as my photographer. Most people never get this opportunity, and even fewer get to share it with a parent. I love my life!

To you, my dear readers, a question and a challenge:

Are you doing what you truly, deep down, want to do with your life? I don’t mean the material trappings: the house of your dreams, the car of your dreams or the white picket fence. I mean the work you do, your hobbies, your day to day existence. Are you filling your hours with the things that mean the most to you?

If not, then I challenge you to simply begin. If you love dance, sign up for a class. If you love art, start painting or drawing. If you love poetry, then start writing. A wise man once said, “Do what you love and the money will follow.” No, don’t go quit your survival job. But quit putting off what you enjoy. Fill every moment you can with the things that you treasure most. Life’s too short to keep putting it off.

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