Tag Archives: journey

Parting Is Such Sweet Sorrow

Departing for a long journey is bittersweet.  Amidst the excitement of the last minute preparations and the anticipation of the journey to come, there is a hint of sadness.  Leaving is tough.  What will we miss while we’re gone?  How will our absence affect our cherished relationships with others?

The days and months seem to race by when we’re away.  Just how long we’ve been gone becomes evident upon our return by how much our friends’ children have grown and changed.  We have transformed also.

We do our best to stay in touch with people while we’re away.  This blog is part of that, along with email and the occasional telephone call.  But it’s not the same as being there to cheer them on their big day, or consoling them during a loss.

In some ways traveling seems a selfish thing to do.  The pursuit of my dreams is self-indulgent, even if I believe that doing so is my way of contributing to the world.

I’m not complaining.  I know that many people would give a lot to do what we do.  I am incredibly grateful for the lifestyle we lead.  But we cannot escape the reality that choosing to travel means giving up on other things.

As we prepare to depart, every interaction with friends and family feels more intense.  I listen more intently.  The hugs get longer.  And then I remember that that we’ll be in Paris soon, and I feel a bit better.

“Parting is such sweet sorrow” – William Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet

Why Live Boldly?

I chose the name Dream Big Live Boldly for this blog thoughtfully. In a previous post, I wrote about why I choose to Dream Big. This post is about the second part, living boldly.

Having dared to dream, some action is required. Clear intention is important but not sufficient.

If you have built castles in the air, your work need not be lost; that is where they should be. Now put the foundations under them. – Henry David Thoreau

Taking action is often the hardest step. It can be so frightening and confusing that many people never risk it. Their dreams are suppressed or forgotten or something that they try to pursue only when death is imminent, but by then it is often too late. There is nothing sadder than a life unlived.

Don’t put pressure on yourself. Pick one dream and take the first small step towards making it happen. Congratulate yourself. Then, take the next step.

Whatever you can do, or dream you can do, begin it. Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it. – Anonymous

Almost by definition, big dreams don’t come easily. Otherwise they wouldn’t be big dreams. We often start out with the best of intentions, but are inevitably met by challenges. The road is neither clear nor straight. Sometimes we don’t even know where to start. Life gets in the way. Faced with an obstacle, it is often easier to retreat, but what lays behind is only shadows. A pale reflection of what my life could be. It takes courage to continue to press forward (Live Boldly). Great things can and do happen if I find the courage to pursue them.

All our dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them. – Walt Disney

Some common barriers on the road are a lack of money or shortage of time for which there will always be hundreds of competing interests. There will be people who don’t support me or who undermine me (consciously or otherwise). I will certainly meet my insecurities along the way, the belief that I’m too old, too young, not smart enough, not strong enough, under qualified, over qualified, etc. This list is almost endless. It’s important to know that all of these are mental barriers or things that can be overcome.

We create barriers for ourselves. We have our own mental barriers. And that keeps us from becoming all we can be, because we say “Well, I can’t do that”. But in the end… you can’t do it unless you can imagine it. And you can’t do it unless you can imagine yourself succeeding at it. – George Lucas

Any life endeavor worth pursuing involves some risk. We take risks every day when we drive a car, go to work, take a vacation, and fall in love. The correct response to life’s risks is not to run away from living, but to feel the fear and do it anyway. In the face of all the risks, I choose to live my life with courage (Live Boldly). Living a life of fear is no life at all.

A lot of people do not muster the courage to live their dreams because they are afraid to die.  – Les Brown

The key is to always keep moving forward. I hold the vision of the dream and deal with whatever is ahead of me. It helps me to focus on where I want to go, not where I’m frightened to go. We all face challenges. What defines us is how we respond to them. I find it useful to believe that things will work out in the end. In my experience, they generally do, and it helps me to get out of bed in the morning when things aren’t going well.

It’s very important that I always remember to enjoy the journey. What’s better than pursuing my dreams? I can’t wait until I have fulfilled my dreams to be happy. That day may never happen, but I can be happy right here, right now.

Note — If you haven’t seen it (or haven’t seen it recently), I highly recommend watching Randy Pausch’s Last Lecture.  Randy was a brilliant professor at Carnegie Mellon University who touched the lives of many, even when his own was ending.

Preparation — Diane’s Perspective

To say the last month has been stressful would be a bit of an understatement. As Patrick already told you in his blog post, things have been a bit crazy for us. He has worked extremely hard getting things ready for our trip, finalizing stuff for his parents’ estates, etc. Yes, we’ve done lots of shopping which under any different circumstances, I would say would be terrific. However, with a list that measures as long as the height of Kilimanjaro (4 miles), I don’t think that even Paris Hilton could go the distance. One list after another and I thought that I might lose my mind. After organizing, sorting and reviewing several times it was afternoon on Saturday (departure day) and we were finally ready to start packing. I must say that even I was a bit impressed with our ability to get everything into two 38 litre packs. This really was due to Patrick’s attention to detail and endless lists, but boy oh boy it was a tough process for me. You will need to check back with me in a few months to see how I am faring with only one pair of shoes, a pair of sandals, and limited clothing.

Patrick and I had lots of help from family and friends in preparing for our world adventure. I want to tell you all again how much we appreciate your support along the way. Even my precious Skyler thought he should test out my new down North Face jacket for comfort and warmth. I think he thought that it would pass the test. What do you think?

Patrick and I also tested out our stuff by washing and wearing it several times to make sure that everything fit right and would be appropriate for our trip.

Waxing our boots with the use of Kevin’s hot air gun worked great and hopefully this will keep the rain/snow out when we climb Kili.

But by far for me, the most challenging part of preparing for this trip was saying goodbye to family and friends. The goodbye parties were greatly appreciated and we both feel extremely privileged to have such great family and friends. We love you all and will miss you.

I know that we are blessed to have an opportunity to embark on such a fabulous adventure and we are both looking forward to sharing our experiences with you. I am sure that I will be feeling home sick much sooner than later so please feel free to post your comments and send email.

Until next time, lots of love,
Diane

Preparation

By Patrick

The last few months have been extremely busy and stressful for me. Getting ready for this trip, in addition to the many other things going on in my life, has been exhausting. It has been the most sustained period of intensity and hard work I’ve ever experienced. The last month especially has been a whirlwind –- my father’s memorial; my parents’ estates; setting up our lives so they run on auto-pilot while we’re away; planning, shopping, and packing for our trip; gathering information from other travelers and connections; and good-byes with family and friends. I’ve been running on about 5-6 hours of sleep a night for the last month, and busy every other minute. There are bags on the bags under my eyes!

In order to have any chance of making it, I tracked the key activities on a spreadsheet. Here are the final stats:
· Completed – 219
· Canceled – 41
· Do when we return – 26
· Ask Diane’s sister Shelly to complete – 5
· Do while traveling – 6

Perhaps the most frustrating and tiring was the shopping for our travel items. After about the 20th trip, even Diane said that she was tired of shopping! I’m pretty sure that this has never happened before.

And what did we pack you ask? Well, I have a list of that also, of course, but I won’t bore you with it. Here are pictures of everything we brought – before and after packing.

Before….

And presto, chango, ala kazamm… after!


Our packs are about 18 pounds each when configured for flight, and easily passed the carry-on test.

The time spent planning, shopping, and packing was all to achieve our goal of having the smallest packs possible. Benefits include:
· easier to carry, especially in the heat
· the ability to walk and carry our packs ourselves, rather than needing transport or assistance
· no checked baggage means no lost bags during flights, and no need to wait for bags in airports
· no risk of losing bags off bus roofs or by theft while in transport
· the ability to carry our bags while visiting attractions en-route between locations, if necessary.
Anyhow, I’m so glad that all the prep is done and that we’re finally on the road. I’ll probably need a week or 2 to recover, but I’m confident that it will all have been worth it in the end.

Thanks to everyone who supported us over the last few months. Your assistance is greatly appreciated, and helped to make our trip possible.

Patrick