A Traveler’s Terrene

You only live once. What are you going to remember the most?

TED: Technology. Entertainment. Design November 28, 2009

I always admire hearing people’s stories, thoughts and advice so when I ran across, TED, I thought I would spread the word!  This is a great site that has an abundant amount of speeches from some of the most influential and inspirational men and women around the world.


Your Life Descent… November 18, 2009

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If your life was a movie what would you want to watch? If your life was a story what would you want to read? If you think of life this way…that with each second a camera is watching you…a pen is writing what you are doing, you may choose you actions differently. Life is not a dress rehearsal. There is no practice. You need to perform as though you are enacting the grand finale each and every day. Because in all actuality it could be. The crude fact of life is that you may die any second of any day. There is no certainty. Life is like water. Some days it may flow, others it may freeze, and still others it may dry up into nothing. There is no control over what happens to you–whether you become rain, hail, snow, or vapor–but you can choose that in the moments before outside forces enact on who and what you are, you lived your life to the fullest, and made the most of what you were in those moments you fell from the sky.

Life is simple. In the end, you blend into the trillion snowflakes that have fallen before you, the million balls of crystallized ice that have covered the ground, or the uncountable raindrops that have splashed across nameless faces on a warm summer’s night. When you touch your final destination, you become just like everyone else….but as you are falling from the sky, no matter what form or shape you take, you have control of how you fall. Slow…fast…gently… abruptly. You may not be able to change your size, texture or form, but you certainly can alter one thing…your descent.  It is up to you and only you on how you want to fall from the sky and what kind of imprint you want to leave on the ground below.


Remember this:: At Least You’re Living October 27, 2009

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You’re mental state relies on your attitude. If you think positively, you have the power to do anything you want. Your mind is free to create, imagine and enjoy the things around you.  You are able to give your full attention and live in the moment.  When you think negatively; however, it is like a thick metal curtain spiraling down in front of you, blocking your thoughts, your actions, your ability to learn and above all, your ability to enjoy the experience you are in.

Negative thoughts are bound to enter your mind, like weeds in a garden. It’s just part of life.  To keep your garden alive and fruitful, however, one needs to be watchful, attentive and put in some hard work to keep the weeds from seeding and taking over everything you have planted and are trying to grow.  That is the same with your mental state, when negative thoughts pop into your head you need to actively pluck them from where they are before they become rooted in your mind.

Last year during the world trip, Mark, then later Suzanne and I, worked to keep life in perspective. Things didn’t always go correctly.  From missing a train to riding on a bus for 24 hours; from finding our room infested with cockroaches to a pickpocket stealing Suzanne’s wallet—we always tried to keep our problems in perspective. Our trick?  To repeat this little phrase when anything went wrong:  and…we’re not working. Whatever the situation…bring it on, we’d face our problem with a smile on our face because we knew that usually we’d have a good story to tell later on.

But, now that I am back to the real world, what is my little phrase to keep life’s problems from getting me down?  I repeat, this: and…at least I’m living. Regardless of the problems I have, at least I’m alive to have them. We are all going to die in a 100 years or less, so why not just focus on enjoying the days we have, laughing at life’s challenges and just be thankful to being alive to experience them.


Think Like A Kid October 24, 2009

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No matter how old you are, how much life you’ve experienced, or how wise you think you are, you can always learn something from children.  One lesson that was reinforced to me the other day was to: stop thinking so much and just start!

What an easy concept but often in our big adult heads we forget about this simple phrase, and instead of doing we get stuck in the mode of merely thinking of doing because we are either too afraid, insecure, busy, unsure or wanting to perfect the task at hand. Thus, consequently, what we should or want to do, doesn’t get done.

Have you ever painted a picture with a child? Have you noticed that while you sit there with the paintbrush in your hand staring at the blank white piece of paper trying to think of the “perfect image to paint”, the child has already begun and is in fact almost half way done by the time you start?  Why is that? Why are children so quick to start things?

The answer: because they don’t worry about being perfect. Children aren’t perfectionists, they are merely themselves.  They are the untucked shirt, snot-nosed, hyper-active mini-monkeys that play, laugh, joke and create. They may be a little messy and rambunctious, but man do they have fun.

As we grow up we tend to upgrade our appearance and sanitary habits for the better; however, we unfortunately lose part of our spunk, our spark.  So, if you feel a little stagnant lately quick thinking so much.  And, instead, simplify things by thinking like a kid and just start.  If you put into action whatever it is that you’ve been thinking about doing, that little spark might just turn into a roaring fire.


Psychological Test October 10, 2009

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Between a group of us friends last night we played a type of psychological test just for fun. Now it’s your turn! It will take about 2 minutes and be sure to answer them yourself before reading mine below. And, remember, don’t analayze…just let whatever comes first in your mind be your answer.

1. Think of a cube.What color is it? What size? Shape? etc.

2. Think of a key that you find on the ground. Do you pick it up or leave it? What does it look like? Does it open something?

3. Think about an image of a horse.

4. Imagine you are in the desert riding your horse. You see an oasis in the distance. Do you stop? Do you ride past? What do you do at this oasis?

5. Imagine that a horrible storm comes. What do you do?

6. Imagine a staircase. What does it look like? Where does it lead to?

7. Imagine you find an old house. What does it look like?

These were my answers:

1. Think of a cube.What color is it? What size? Shape? etc.

::A modern white cube, like a chair you find in a sleek lounge.

2. Think of a key that you find on the ground. Do you pick it up or leave it. What does it look like? Does it open something?

::A large old ornate church style key.

3. Think about an image of a horse.

::A white horse that rides on rainbow in the sky, like the horse from Rainbow Bright.

4. Imagine you are in the desert riding your horse. You see an oasis in the distance. Do you stop? Do you ride past? What do you do at this oasis?

::Stop and go for a swim!

5. Imagine that a horrible storm comes. What do you do?

::Spread my arms open wide and let the wind blow my hair, the rain fall on my face, I laugh and I start to twirl and dance.

6. Imagine a staircase. What does it look like? Where does it lead to?

::A glass staircase ascending up towards the sky

7. Imagine you find an old house. What does it look like.

::The house is in crumbles, there are bricks laying everywhere it hardly resembles a house anymore as it is covered by green grass, plants and moss.

::Meaning::For each answer below you’ll find it’s related significance. Although each answer can certainly be interpreted in many different ways, it was interesting after I took the test that many of my answers also support many of my ideas or beliefs.  What about yours? Were they similar to your ideas/beliefs or conflicting? Leave a comment!

1. What you think about yourself.

2. What you think about your opportunities.

3. What kind of partner you imagine.

4. What kind of relationship you want.

5. How you behave when confronted with difficulties.

6. How you feel about the future.

7. How you feel about death.


Living life like a Mayfly October 7, 2009

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The average lifespan of a human is eighty years. We are born…we live…then we die. That is the nature of our existence on earth (as for life beyond earth, that is a completely different topic and one I won’t get into here…)

Yet, eighty, this number what does it represent? The answer? Time. This is the average amount of time that most of us will have on this earth baring a premature death caused by nature, disease, accident or an act of violence. So given that we both are alive right now–I am typing this blogpost and you are reading it–we are fortunate to have survived another day and continue living towards that time marker.

Do you think eighty is a large number? Imagine eighty sleek super jets lined up on a runway or eighty warm apple pies stacked on your kitchen table. Eighty is a big number. When we think of these objects, eighty seems like a lot. We have eighty years–many years–so we tend to plan accordingly. We push the things we want to do today down our timeline like one would the tiny white scoreballs on a foosball table. Not today…slide…tomorrow. Not tomorrow…slide…in five years. Not in five years…slide…when I am retired. Before we know it, we have pushed everything we’ve wanted to do to our final years of life because we have a lot. We have eighty by all means!

But, what if the human race was more like our closely related neighbor, the chimpanzee whose lifespan is only forty years. That is half the life expectancy you have now. What things about your life would you do different? What things would you change?

Now, cut that in half again and we are at twenty years, the life expectancy of a penguin. I am 26. I would hypothetically be dead right now. In my first twenty years of my life did I try to do everything I wanted? What would I have changed if I were to relive them all over again? What would I have done differently if that was all that I was given?

Now, let’s talk about the lifespan of a Mayfly. This beautiful little insect experiences our world for 30 minutes to 24 hours, depending on the species. That is their fate. That is there window of opportunity to experience life on earth before they die.

So, what if human life expectancy was the same? What if scientist’s framed our average life expectancy to 30 minutes to 24 hours, instead of 80 years? Would that change the way we think about our time? Would that change the actions we make in life?

What did you do for the last 30 minutes to 24 hours? Are you content with how you passed your time? Or, are there things you would change? Ask yourself this simple question every half hour, or at the end of each day. Imagine that your lifespan is that of a Mayfly and strive to live life with a fiery of passion to experience the day to its fullest, love with intensity and richness and use the time you are given to do the things that mean the most to you, because, right now, these moments are the only secure time you have.


Truth through Simplicity September 23, 2009

There is something about the sense of freedom and adventure that makes my heart jump and wild butterflies soar around my tummy like that of a first kiss. The idea of letting everything go and falling into the unknown is exhilarating–it makes me feel present in this world, it makes me feel alive.

Small things can spark these feelings of liberation: a powerful push of a car’s accelerator, an unexplored hiking trail, a secluded swimming cove or even a simply designed movie poster.

“What is so special about this movie poster?” one may ask, “it is just a house suspended in air by a bunch of balloons.”

“Oh, my dear friend,” I would like to say. “This illustration represents freedom. Imagine for a moment that you could just leave everything behind and explore the world. And, not even in the traditional sense–you wouldn’t need to go through all of today’s politics of selling your house, packing your things, organizing your accounts–oh no, you could simply tie balloons to your house, lift off and be gone. No hassle. No fuss. Simply–a flight of freedom.”

Now I haven’t yet seen the film–it will be released next month in Italy–but, you can bet that I will be one of the first customers in line when the ticket booth opens. Like Disney/Pixar’s last film WALL-E which contains important messages regarding environmental destruction, reliance on technology and obesity; Up also contains messages about today’s American society, and specifically about our common state of thinking in the Future instead of thinking in the Now.

In this story, Carl and Ellie meet as children, fall in love, are inseparable throughout adulthood and share the same dream from when they were young–to explore the South American jungles. But, jobs, health issues and daily life get in the way and before Carl knows it he is old and widowed and has yet to fulfill his dream. Yet, although life sometimes gets away from us, there is always the Now to make a change. And, at 78, Carl decides that Now is the only time he has. So geared with thousands of balloons tied to his house, he let’s himself be lifted UP…UP…and AWAY, to start his adventure and to finally live out his dream.

This message, although told through a simple animated film, is an important one. Each day we have the opportunity to live life how we want to live, yet many of us let go of the balloon we hold in our hands–our dreams–to fulfill the practical side of life with the intention that “someday I can hold start living, someday I can hold that balloon again.”  But, this is pure madness. You don’t hold in your hand, “someday”, you hold in your hand “now.” That is all you have or will ever have. It’s as simple and as complicated as that.

Think about your dreams. Don’t let them float away like a stray balloon; instead, take those dreams, hold them tight, and let them carry you UP.


Belief September 19, 2009

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Do you ever feel like you are treading water through life? You are working as hard as you can just to stay afloat but in return you are just exhausting yourself? Instead of swimming for the exercise or towards a destination you go nowhere. Or, instead of lying on the surface of the water and letting yourself relax and float, you stay rigid, body half immersed in the water, head cocked up looking in each direction while just kicking your feet. Life becomes neither an adventure or a comfort, instead it becomes a constant struggle just to live and at some point it seems almost easier to just let go and let yourself sink.

After a few months of treading water where I was exhausting myself but going nowhere, I let myself sink. I stopped writing. I stopped studying. I stopped dreaming. I stopped pursuing. And, instead, I started analyzing. I started critiquing. I started doubting. I started diminishing my goals and choices. And instead of filling my mind with productive thoughts, using my mind for creative outlets…I questioned myself: what is the point? What is the point of writing a book? What is the point of learning a language? What is the point of constantly challenging myself when I could just relax and lead a life of indifference?

But, a life of indifference is a life without belief. And, a life without belief is a hollow existence. Belief gives meaning to the day’s otherwise trivial events–because when it comes down to it, life is just life. But, when you believe in life, when you believe that the things you are doing are important than life itself becomes a life of purpose, not just a life spent treading water.

If you believe in the choices you make, you will find satisfaction with your results.  And, if you aren’t sure about the choices you are making then change perspectives or alter your beliefs–just don’t lose your ability to believe in something because that takes away the happiness of living.  For example, look at children when they play, they seem to always be happy and it’s not  because of the toy they are holding in their hands that makes them laugh and smile, but rather the belief they have in that toy to be something they created with their imagination. The toy car becomes the get-away car for their JI Joe or the toy doll becomes a magical fairy that flies through the clouds.  The object it not significant, rather the belief in what that object can do makes it significant.  

Children make the world how they want it to find happiness. So can you. Get interested in something, and believe in what you are doing. Instead of spending your time living, why not spend your time creating?


Life’s Possibilities… June 3, 2009

Before I begin this post, I would like to say a short prayer for the victims of a horrible car accident that took place last weekend.

God, I pray that you are with each person filling them with the strength and courage towards a fast recovery. Please help them to be okay.

Now…to start at the beginning.

I arrived at the local pool (which is turned into a bar/discoteca at night) with a group of friends, but since it is a small town ran into different friends and acquaintances I’ve met over the past few months living here.  On this particular night I saw a girl I met a month or so prior.  She has an extraordinary effervescent and friendly personality and is fun to be around so when she invited me to join her four girlfriends to go to another bar I momentarily thought about going–after all, I love spontaneity and what she was suggesting sounded like a lot of fun! However, after a moment’s consideration I decided to stay, after all I didn’t want to ditch the group of friends I originally came with.

“Definitely, another time,” I had said before they left.

The following afternoon I received a phone call from a mutual friend informing me there had been a car accident leaving all of them in the hospital. My first thought was for them—are they are okay? My second thought was a flashback to the night before–that could have been me….

One constant aspect of life is that there is always possibility. Possibilities are both a beauty and tragedy in one. Being an optimistic I tend to think more about the beautiful possibilities in life: finding true love, making new incredible friends, witnessing a natural event etc.

Yet, thinking about the negative things in life and what if scenarios are extremely important: what if the plane crashes, what if I choke on this food, what if I get in an accident and lose a limb? These are definitely not warm fuzzy feelings, but it helps to reign in to the present and to GIVE THANKS for everything you have in this moment: my plane didn’t crash, I’m not choking and I have my arms and legs in tact. In this moment, I give thanks for the beautiful life I am living. In this moment, I forget about stress from work or petty feelings towards a friend.  In this moment I remember that here, right now, I am extremely fortunate for all that I have because from a moment from now–everything can change.


Pursuing your Passions May 4, 2009

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Pursuing your passions is not easy. In fact, it is hard work. Yet, as all athletes know, the sweat, tears or injuries are well worth the sacrifice for that moment of glory when you win the game. The feeling is orgasmic. Brief, powerful and gives you insurmountable pleasure and a hunger to feel that way again–if only for a moment.

“But, why live your life devoting so much time and effort towards achieving a feeling that only lasts a moment?” one may ask.

Well, a life lived without these pulses of glory is like making love without reaching a climax, it just doesn’t feel complete without it.

Let yourself pursue your passions, whatever they may be. The road you’re travelling may be taking you straight up hill, or a mountain even. You may be tired, hurt, want to rest or give up–but, don’t. Keep in mind all of the feelings that you know will consume your body when you reach the peak, and it will help motivate you to keep on pushing on.