Go Where Your Passions Take You
What Are Your Passions?
Golf? Ballet? Teaching preschoolers? Skydiving? Reading romance novels? Building models? Needlepoint? Calligraphy?
My passions feature travel, with an emphasis on global adventures in exotic cultures.
Whatever your passions may be, life’s richer when you pursue them with vigor.
It keeps you young, interested, and interesting. I’m not out to persuade you to travel like I do, and I’d actually advise against it for almost everybody.
You see, I specialize in discomfort. I’m passionate about relishing whatever exhaustion, unpleasantness, or hardship is necessary to meet and commune with people whose cultures are very, very different from my own. My idea of a perfect night is hiking to a remote mountain village, conversing in sign language, sharing an unappetizing meal, and being invited to sleep on the floor of a thatched hut. Seriously. Next best is a dorm room in a youth hostel.
Sure, I like comfortable hotels, too. It’s just that I feel most alive, and most passionate, when I’m visiting someplace that almost nobody else would enjoy. The people I’ve gotten to meet “out there” never show up in Marriott lobbies.
Aside from my membership in the National Speakers Association, I’m most proud to have qualified as a member of the “Travelers Century Club”, having so far visited 107 of the countries and territories on their list.
I believe passionately in the club’s mission:
The Passport To Peace Through Understanding”
You see, when I think of places and personal encounters that I remember with particular fondness, there’s nary a Hilton or a conversation with an ethnocentric American on the list.
I do smile really big when I think of:
- The Papua New Guinean boys who explained how their tribal customs determine how they “date” the girls in their village, or
- The ruggedly loving Lepcha porters who helped me cross a treacherous gorge in the Himalayas, or
- The Coptic Egyptian family that allowed me to join their strange bachelor party, slathering the nearly-naked groom with henna, or
- The five-year-old Jordanian boy in the desert out beyond Wadi Rum who’d never seen a TV, but who squealed in delight as he poked the eyes of a goat’s decapitated head while his dad skinned the carcass for their evening meal, or
- The beatific Laotian monk who bowed slightly as he accepted my small scoop of rice while he collected alms along the road outside Luang Prabang
I realize that I’m odd. These aren’t the usual highlights most people remember from their travels. Posing by the Eiffel Tower, or seeing the Panama Canal, or visiting the Sydney Opera House is more like it for almost everybody. I don’t know anyone else like me… and always remember that there’s nobody else like you.
These encounters teach me life lessons, and I share them in my travel blog writing and my videos. And, I believe that I’m personally contributing to a more peaceful world by fostering understanding between cultures; both theirs, and my own.
My Point is Simply This:
You needn’t follow “normal” paths.
Go where your passions take you.
Western media may make you think you should aspire to own a yacht, or hob-nob with influential politicians, or buy this year’s best new car, or live in an impressively large home in an exclusive neighborhood. Has that “normal” path led many to a happy and meaningful life? Who’s to say that the rice farmer living in a thatched hut on the banks of the Mekong, or the coffee plantation worker watching a sunset with his family on a bare concrete balcony in Medellin is any worse off than an advertising executive who lives on Park Avenue and whose limo driver is delayed in a mid-town traffic jam?