Saturday, February 16, 2013

Dream Bigger

Three years ago, I had a respectable list of dreams.  I wanted national certification in my profession, to do a Figure show, to travel solo, and maybe get a tattoo just for fun.

On a whim, I attacked the Figure show goal at the age of 31.  I dieted, worked out, registered for a show, & got the fake tan.  To my surprise, I did it.

Feeling confident, I got my first tattoo.

I then arranged for my first solo trip - to Bali no less.  I'm happy to report I survived & had an amazing time.

Upon returning & with support from colleagues, I began the process of attaining my national certification - a written & performance exam.  Shockingly, I passed!

Since these awesome events, I've traveled just to see a concert, stayed overnight at an ice hotel, driven in a foreign country, hiked the Cinque Terre, started this blog, Couch Surfed four times, among many other awesome things.

Now what?

I must dream bigger.

I've experienced some amazing things, but that's not why I'm writing this piece.  

What are your dreams?  Have you attempted even one of them?  What are you waiting for?

I'm willing to bet it's easier than you imagine, more fulfilling than you can envision, & best of all, it will give you momentum to go after the next - and the next...  Ride the wave of successes.  Before you know it, you'll be forced to dream bigger, too.  Not a bad problem to have.

As for me, I'm planning my next adventure & maybe, just maybe, my next tattoo.

* I highly recommend a book "NOW: No Opportunities Wasted" by Phil Keoghan to develop your "List for Life".

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Developing Appreciation

An elderly woman harvesting rice for $5 a day.  A mother hand washing her clothes in running water along a village road.  A fire pit centered in a small room serving as a stove.  Families piled onto scooters like a mini van.

I have crossed paths with all of these in my travels - in "developing" countries.

Upon returning from these trips, I have experienced a paradigm shift.

I've glimpsed outside our comfortable boundaries to witness how many around the world live.  No Googling to answer inane trivia, no coffee shops to caffeinate the masses, no granite counter tops, no Volvos or Mercedes. 

I once reserved my shock, & a possible tear, as a new acquaintance showed me her home on one of my travels.  The conditions were below what I could have envisioned as minimal & sanitary.

However, my new friend smiled & genuinely appeared happy despite her environment.  The woman working in the field waved to me as if we had known each other for years.  The woman washing clothes on the side of the road smiled warmly as I connected with her for a brief moment.  The woman cooking on the fire pit offered me food as we exchanged a few friendly words.

I realized most of my stuff is merely an upgrade - optional.  If I was pared down to the minimum, I could still find a natural joy in life.  When faced with what I perceive as challenges, I envision these people surviving happily on much less - valuing their family & community above materials & wealth.   

They have unknowingly taught me many lessons - a reality check of sorts.  

I challenge you to step outside your comfort zone, & explore how others live.  I hope it opens your heart & mind as it has mine.