And I’m leaving tomorrow…

This song pops into my head every time that I hear an adventure calling out to me!

The song is cute and the cup routines are awesome, but what I really love about this video, ‘Cups-When I’m Gone’, is when she glances up from her work table and sees the travel postcards taped to the wall. If you were to stop the camera at the exact moment that it panned back to her, you would see me—impatiently finishing what I have to do here, so I can set off my next adventure. I have an intense, sometimes unexplainable urge to travel and explore. A hobby? Maybe, but I would probably call it more of a passion. Do I love coming home? Yes, that’s a big part of it, too. It’s the ebb and flow of challenging and pushing myself in new directions and then coming back to what I know and love. It’s about stepping out of the box that we, as humans, tend to create for ourselves.

It’s about loving where I come from, but also loving and appreciating other places. It’s about truly understanding that although each country and place has different cultures and traditions, that we are more alike than different. It’s also about pushing myself to try new things—food and drink are the obvious answers here, but I mean something deeper than that. I mean putting myself in a position where I have to rely on myself. It also means being clever enough to ask for help when I need it. It’s not about stepping on a tour bus and looking at the sites as they roll by, but rather, stepping into a culture.

I have to use my skills and talents to navigate 300+ miles on my own, deal with strangers, understand people who speak a different language, cope with varying weather conditions, deal with fatigue and injury…and the list goes on and on. How can I expect to grow as a person if I don’t continuously challenge myself?

This video, like any book or novel, will be interpreted differently by the person observing or reading it, but for me it says that there’s a great big world out there. Do whatever it takes to be a part of it and don’t get stuck in the day to day rut that we mistakenly call life. It’s not your job (no matter how important you think it is), how many digits that you have in your bank account, or the size of your house—living, truly living is discovering yourself.

I know that many of you are aware of my upcoming hike, but for those of you who don’t know what I’m doing…here’s the low-down. Tomorrow I’m leaving the country and I will be gone for the next six weeks. I will be in the Netherlands solo-hiking a long-distance trail call the Pieterpad. It starts in Pieterburen in the North, and runs 304 miles (489km) to the bottom of the country and ends in Maastricht. After the Netherlands, I’m heading to Iceland, where my friend Debbie will join me. We plan to eat, laugh, and relax!

When I hiked the Camino two years ago, I dedicated my trek to my son Tyler. This walk is dedicated to my younger son, Keegan. He will be graduating from WVU in December, and as he steps off into his life, I hope to pass on to him the very ideas and principles that will bring me success on my hike:

  • Ignore the naysayers—unless they are telling you not to jump into shark infested waters—then and only then, I want you to listen! For the most part, they are projecting their fears onto you. Fear will hold you back—always!
  • Have fun! Laugh!
  • Challenge yourself
  • Ask for help when you need it
  • Follow your passions—which of course means that you first need to know what you’re passionate about. Some people never find out! Don’t waste time on this one!
  • Lead—don’t follow (The view is always better from up front!)
  • It’s okay to fail—but just don’t let it dissuade you from trying again!
  • It’s never okay to fall into a rut and stay there—climb out, brush yourself off, and keep moving!
  • Be aware of your surroundings—always!
  • Take nothing for granted—a soft pillow, a kind word, a smile, a friendly gesture.

The list could go on and on, but in honor of brevity, I will end at ten. In closing, I have found that most people are good. Look for the good in them and sometimes you have to look long and hard, but it’s there—and allow them to shine. It only makes your life better! Keep on trekking!

For those of you who read this to the end—thank you! I plan to post updates of my hike when I can, but it will of course be contingent upon the availability of technology. I hope you enjoy following my adventure this summer, and I wish upon you many fun adventures of your own!

“And I’m leaving tomorrow. What d’ you say?”

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