A Traveler’s Resolve for the New Year

Happy new year

Champagne corks cascade their cannon fire.  Girls are kissed as Auld Lang Syne dances the clocks into another year.  For some it’s another day.  For some it’s a fresh start.

For most, it’s a moment where we resolve to be our better selves.  For a sacred second we are caught up into the bigger story.  In those spaces, we see clearly.  Time waits not nor cares not the slightest for her effects on us as she silently determines to carry out her duty.  Another year passes as we realize:

We are the ones who get to choose.

Choose our legacy.  Choose our attitude.  Choose our adventure.

There’s enough in this world to oppress us into cowardice and fear.  We get to choose otherwise.  We can take hold of life and embrace it in all its messy, hurtful, beautiful, weird, poetic brilliance.  Traveling sets a sublime stage for such bold encounters of abundant life.

And no matter what last year looked like for us, we can choose to make a change.

Resolve To Live For Today

My friend recently told me the future is a figment of our imagination.  Alive only in hopes and dreams.  What we truly have is today.  Today’s choices and actions and words and satisfactions.

I really had to let that marinate for a while.

Some questions might be helpful here:  “What do you want out of life?”  “What kind of person do you want to be?”  “What are you doing to make those ‘ethereal’ wants a ‘flesh and blood’ reality?”

These are the exact questions which motivated my wife and I out the door of the safe direction we were headed, onto a road full of unpredictable yet enthralling possibilities.  Has it been perfect and flawless?  Certainly not.  Is it for everyone?  I would say probably no.  But it’s what we wanted.  More importantly, travel is what we needed.

If nothing else, January 1st gives each of us the unashamed ability to reflect and ask these kinds of questions.  If we are unsatisfied with the answers, the next step is believing we can do something about that.  In fact, we don’t have to keep living the way we are.  Wise discernment will guide us through the seasons of our lives, but courage will take us to new heights.

Now, as we look forward into the great unknown, not only do we welcome the prospects, but through our experiences, we are better equipped to handle the challenges which will come our way.  Travel has grown us in ways far exceeding our initial daydreams, largely because we recognize that no matter where we are, today is our future.

Today we become.

Today we live.

Resolve To Face Your Fears

Leaping Legends
My wife and I stand and watch as strangers jump off the diving platform.  Nearly 3 seconds of silence until – SPLASH.  As the adrenaline pumps through our expectant hearts, we know that it will soon be us facing our fears and taking the plunge.  This is my kind of thrill.  Not so much my wife’s.

When we left home to travel the world, we decided to be more the kind of people we want to be.  To be bold and courageous and try new things and take risks and thoroughly Thoreau all the marrow out of life.  In a word, we decided to say “yes” more.

That little word is changing our world.

The companions of “no” are comfort, security, and fear.  “I don’t feel like it.”  “I don’t know how.”  “What if I fail?”  “Others will laugh at me.”  “I can’t be bothered.”  Sure, you can choose that path, but you may look back on life and wonder what it would have been like with fewer regrets.

“Yes” keeps us open to possibility.  It’s an admitting to ourselves that we are unfinished, yet eager for the transforming prospects of this moment.  When getting up and climbing higher and speaking out and taking that first step win out over our fears, we discover that we are strong.  Even when we fall, “yes” picks us up off the floor into a brighter tomorrow.

As my wife stood on the platform and jumped into the arms of the waiting water, we both knew the truth of this moment.  She wasn’t just facing her fear of heights.  She was embracing the truth of who she was made to be and finding out she was strong – much stronger than she had previously known.

Resolve To Seek Understanding

Before it is anything else, travel is always, necessarily, and primarily about ourselves.  We leave is search of something.  We desire to fill our five senses to capacity in hopes of stirring our souls to greatness.  We want and so we go.

The real question is: do we live with eyes open or shut?

This world is full of diverse cultures, exotic foods, strange customs, weird words, and incongruent lifestyles.  Wherever we go, we will encounter differences from how we have grown up or what we recognize as “normal”.  Too often when we’re faced with those differences, we put them into “right” and “wrong” categories.  It’s our natural yet feeble attempt to make sense of the unfamiliar.

How about this year, we set aside the categories which would alienate in order to understand?

Because there are things in this world we don’t yet know of, haven’t yet experienced, which are altogether better ways to live.  Before we can make a difference in the world around us, we need to hear where she’s coming from.  In her own voices.  We need to understand why these people live the way they do before we rush in to judge their actions as less-than.  We need to hear how the same words mean completely different things, because only then will we realize communication runs two ways.  We need to adopt enough humility to recognize that we are not superior to the world, but a collaborator in the unfolding of history.

We have something to offer.  But so does everyone else.  And our greatest contribution will come when we listen, truly listen, that we might understand.  This year, let us resolve to value understanding over being understood.

Only then are we ready and able to contribute our full offerings to those we encounter.

Resolve To Participate

And you have much to give.  You matter greatly to those you’re around.  To silence your voice, to subtract your presence, is to take away what cannot be replaced by any other.

It’s a ploy of evil to speak anything contrary.  The great tragedy is that too many of us have bought into the lie that life is about us and we don’t seem to matter much.  And so our traveling centers around our self-centered ambitions while our residing centers around our selfish un-satisfactions.

But not this year.

This year we resolve to give the best of ourselves, even as we journey to discover what that is.  We stop playing the victim, stop acting like needy children, and we share the talents and love and passions placed in us by the Divine for the betterment of the world.  We take hold of our true identity and speak into the broken and hurting; light into darkness.

We stand up for those who can’t.  We pick up those who are down.  We fight for something worth fighting for.  We venture past our fears into places of strength.  We discover beauty and share it.

Maybe you believe what I’m saying about who you are and maybe you don’t yet.  You get to choose.  You’ve always had that right.

But today, all things are new.  Today, the choice rests in your hands.  Today, you shape the future.

Let’s resolve to make it a good one.

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