Trip of a Lifetime – Coming soon!

 

   I think we’ve all envisioned what it might be like to travel and experience places we’ve never been before. We fantasize about going to Europe, Australia, or Bora Bora, just to mention a few of the dream locations in the world. We’ve all had friends, relatives or co-workers who report back the fun they’ve had at locations where as they were bowled over with awe from their trip. My own kids have been and seen things in their young lives that I’ve only read or wondered about. From the great wall in China, to the outback in the great down under, to Europe and back. And even in the Americas my kids have traveled to places that make my own life seem boring.    

  As we age, our mind’s dreams of going to such locations grows farther and farther as our priorities change and as the old body just doesn’t have the same spring in the step of earlier years. I’ve always loved to travel. It never mattered what the destination was. Just leaving the comfort of normalcy for a weekender has always recharged my batteries. Always has. And hopefully always will.

   With my bride of 40 years we’ve been a few places when we’ve had the chance, that have provided wonderful and lasting memories. Our travels have taken us to and from Canada both in Ottawa for us both and Saskatchewan for my better half. On our joint trip we came back via Niagara Falls (you have to see it to believe it). We’ve taken time in both northern and southern California and we’ve seen some incredible sights. A few years back we had the opportunity to travel to the northeast, all the way to Maine. It included the wonderful drive through Tennessee, Shenandoah Valley of Virginia and on through the Big Apple. It culminated in old New England. And the return down the Appalachian Trail was wonderful.  We’ve had shorter trips within our own little country, known as Texas.  From the tip top of the Panhandle down to the tip of Brownsville. And even from the southeast shores of the Gulf of Mexico to the dry and dusty El Paso. So even within the confines of the U.S. we’ve really been able to eat a good tasty slice of Americana pie.

So it was with a great deal of amazement last fall that our sneaky kids brought us all together for a Sunday dinner where they presented us with a copy of a large check in an amount beyond belief for a cruise! We were shocked with the size of the gift and how they had been saving for years. The gift is to celebrate our 40th wedding anniversary, that happens later this year. The kids were thinking we might do Europe, Hawaii or some other exotic location, but my very first thought was it HAD to be Alaska!

   The great state of Alaska is still considered a pioneer and pristine destination. It seems to be the only place in North America (and maybe the world) that is virtually untouched by the blight of man. The only experience I have with the 50th state is second hand knowledge from a friend who traveled there as a teenager and from my step dad who traveled there and stayed several weeks camping alone. He had the time of his life. The difficult adventure getting there and back was half of the adventure for him.

   We’ve all seen the photos, travel videos, documentaries, and even quirky sitcoms and dramas with the backdrop of beautiful Alaskan. The views are magnificent, even in photos. Ever been on vacation somewhere and snapped what you thought was an award winning photos only to have your viewers say nice. Nice? The photos and experience to me was WOW and I get a “nice” from someone that didn’t go. They just weren’t “there” and don’t really understand so they? That scenario is probably played out with most vacation photos for everyone. I tend to think after seeing a number of YouTube videos that those really do capture more closely the sights and sounds of the adventure. The missing components from a sensory standpoint is actual sights, actual sounds, and actually feeling whatever weather elements and scents only captured while “really” being there. 

So very soon (less than 3 weeks) we will be embarking on something wonderful. I’ll try and share as much of it with you, that I humanly can.

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Charting Unknown Waters

OK. I just started my journey into the unknown. The uncharted waters of life in my sixties began yesterday. I guess I must have thought that yesterday I would have somehow “felt older” or that my memory would suddenly disappear into the abyss or something else drastic might happen. Well I’m still here today and alive and relatively well (for my age!).

I’m really enjoying life these days. In some ways I’m coasting down life’s highway. But in other regards I am still squeezing out from my resources of memory and experience to eek out a survival in the corporate world. Most days it is still an adventure for me. And other days it seems to have the word “drudgery” attached. But all in all, I’m still having the time of my life and getting the job done in the best way that I can.

I treat my own job and duties with the same sense of drive and determination as if it were my own personal business to care for. And it really is. Perhaps it’s just me, or my generation, or my upbringing. I am hoping it is not just a generational thing that will someday be gone forever. Having this type of mindset should really be the norm and not the exception. Some day I really do hope that someone else will pick up my mantle and carry forward with the same sense of pride and care that I’ve come to enjoy and expect from myself. My faith has played a crucial role. 

Sometimes we sell short the generations behind us as being uncaring or lazy. As with any generation I’m sure there is some of that at play. But I see a bright future in the midst of some shaky and dark things in this world when I see innovators and those that are “up and coming”. Our followers will certainly face new and different challenges in every aspect of life. But I look forward to seeing if what my generation modeled will be repeated or built upon, in new and exciting ways of innovation.

As I begin the fall of my life, my calendar and some days my body still screams that it really spring time. Away with the dead of winter. With anticipation we watch the explosion of newness in everything around us as the plants wake up and start singing. And with the new chorus comes color and beauty and tons more oxygen to fill our lungs again. The whole process is refreshing. Seasonal change is one of the wonders of life (and death). It’s a stark reminder that out of death can spring forth new life.

So even though my driver license now says I’m older, I refuse to fall prey to the dullness and negativity of getting old. I choose to be happy and fulfilled and complete. And out of my own “deadness” I look for new and green and colorful life as I travel toward the winter of my days.