Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Lessons Learned

I learned far more on our bus trip than I could ever put into words, especially in a limited space for others to read, but I thought it would be prudent to go ahead and make a list here, so that others could garnish for themselves, and so that I could look back for myself.

So here they are, in no particular order, the things I can articulate right now, in this forum, that I learned during our year on the road:

1.  Hospitality is necessary for community.

2.  You aren't really friends until you've lived like family.

3.  It doesn't matter when you celebrate holidays, as long as you celebrate them.

4.  It is okay not to have a plan.

5.  Not all hitchhikers are scary.

6.  There is always someone who has less than you do and someone who needs more.

7.  Age has no bearing on maturity.

8.  Passion can be cultivated about anything.

9.  People long to share themselves with others.

10.  Crashing with someone isn't about "leaving no trace" but about leaving positive and beautiful traces.

11.  Clean is relative.

12.  The world is vast.  You can never see it all.  It goes infinitely outward, and inward too.

13.  Humor is priceless.

14.  Social media is wonderful.  It does not rot your brain.  It is a powerful tool for connection and maintenance.

15.  When you go away, and you are "out of sight, out of mind", you have a lot of revelations about who your friends are and to what lengths you should go to be with them physically.

16.  A campfire is almost always the right answer.

17.  You really only need two pairs of jeans.

18.  Cars are nice.  So are bikes.  And walking.

19.  Try everything.

20.  Safety is relative.

21.  Your fears are personal, subjective, and mostly irrational.

22.  Many people are good.

23.  Some people are bad.

24.  A huge percentage of people still haven't figured out that saving the environment is important.

25.  People are not the same everywhere.

26.  We assume too quickly and listen too little.

27.  It is important to see as many stars as possible.

28.  There is nothing wrong with hugging people.

29.  If you are afraid to be vulnerable it's probably not worth your time.

30.  Art is easy.  We just like to make excuses about why we can't.

31.  No person is more or less important or special than any other person.

32.  You might not have a huge special purpose.  You might just be supposed to live your life the best you can and love people the best you can.

33.  Constant goal setting is missing the point.

34.  If you have an extra dollar, you should give it away.

35.  It is important to find the place where strangers smile at you as thought they are welcoming you home.

36.  You can do anything you want to do if you make it your only priority.

37.  There are not many things worthy of being your only priority.

38.  Respect the people who have learned to live in the desert, for they will have water when you have run out.

39.  Drink tea.

40.  Get up earlier.

41.  Stay up later.

42.  Eat local food.

43.  There are lots of different types of Mexican.

44.  Your beauty is not tied up in your physical appearance, but your way of being in the world.

45.  People who offer vehement advice early in your relationship are likely insecure and terrified.

46.  More women should wear ties.

47.  You should stop being embarrassed when you dance.

48.  Fill up the water bottles before the pipes freeze.

49.  There is good Pilot food, and there is very bad Pilot food.

50.  There are solutions to everything, if you are willing to unclench your fists.

51.  Money is powerful.  So is trade.  So is being interesting.  So is compromise, leftovers, and having basic life skills.

52.  Buses are mostly magnetic.

53.  You are just as important as you present yourself to be.

54.  I am allergic to most types of ice cream.

55.  The likelihood of being eaten by a shark is pretty low.  Especially if you never go swimming.

56.  You are braver than you think you are.

57.  Know your limits.

58.  Don't go up unless you can see the way down.

59.  It's okay to be wrong and fail hugely.  To fail is to be human.  To never fail is to be boring, frustrated, and to learn nothing.

60.  Everyone needs a little space of their own.

61.  Mason jars.  Not just for hipsters.

62.  Somewhere around the age of 60 most people stop caring what other people thing and just start doing what they wanted to do in the first place.

63.  No matter how much you love Mother Earth, there are still times when it's more important to use paper plates than to fight over the dishes.

64.  You have to make traditions.

65.  Much of my ability to bake comes with the ability to use a dishwasher.

66.  There is no shame in asking for help, expressing your need, shopping at the Thrift Store, or tipping more than 50%.

67.  When something amazing comes up, you need to remember what you really want out of life, and sometimes this means you have to change your plans.

68.  There's no such thing as "successful".

69.  There's a reason you have a bedroom door.

70.  Making the animals dependent on us for food is terrifying.

71.  Everyone loves to show you what they know.

72.  You will not live long enough to do all of the things you wish to do.

73.  Desperation is unattractive.

74.  Tip.

75.  Jump in the cold water, for the river will never be the same again.

76.  Carry a bandana.

77.  Carry a backpack.

78.  Cell phones are not stupid.

79.  You are going to disappoint your parents.

80.  Don't do things to be "cool" or "original".  There are 1,000 other people out there who have already done the same thing.  Do things because that's what's next on your path.

81.  There is no shame in renting a stroller.

82.  It is sometimes appropriate to drive like an aggressive maniac.

83.  You can get away with more when the police aren't bored.

84.  Children and old people have a kind of wisdom you cannot understand.

85.  You need something thermal.

86.  And a pair of wool socks.

87.  Sometimes it's worth being uncomfortable for a few hours.

88.  Drive barefoot.

89.  Pack a towel.

90.  Bathing suits are overrated.

91.  Just keep the sandbuckets in the car.

92.  Bring water.

93.  Telling someone to "grow up" is stupid.  You're still a child yourself.

94.  Your inner child deserves the very best.

95.  People want to feel important, intelligent, and in control.

96.  You are most appealing to everyone when you are most fully living into the person you are.

97.  "Good" is relative.

98.  The "Purity Movement" was/is mostly a harmful lie.

99.  Knowing something about yourself that you cannot tell some who are closest to you is a special kind of pain.

100.  You can live with even less.

101.  Pull over when you see something cool - you may never traverse this road again.

102.  "Junk" is relative.

103.  Isolation is the antithesis of humanity.

104.  Hatred is counterproductive and generally annoying.

105.  Something that is soul-crushing for you, may not even blip on the radar screen of someone else.

106.  You can't fault people for that.

107.  Always be prepared for a potluck.

108.  If you weren't prepared, eat and be joyful.

109.  Lowes has free WiFi.

110.  Nurture the dreamers, for there lies all the potential for change.

111.  Cabot cheese is the best cheese.

112.  Read the Sermon on the Mount.  Again.

113.  Surprising people is inconvenient for them.

114.  Surprise them anyway.

115.  Bring ice cream.

116.  A game of war can last four hours.

117.  Las Vegas is the new Ninevah.

118.  Fear is the greatest perpetrator of violence.

119.  Do your best to keep everybody fed.

120.  Travel is a grand beginning.

121.  Try the fish tacos.

122.  Don't rub your eyes after slicing jalepenos.

123.  Send postcards.

124.  Don't blink.


TCallihan said...

Everything about your list makes my heart sing and brings a little bit of tears to my eyes. I am so blessed to know you!

Jennie said...

Great list; I particularly like #111. Seriously Sharp!

Cheryl said...

Hey, sweet friend...

I saw your new house on FB so decided to hop onto your blog to try to figure out what y'all are up to!

I love this post...is it possible for you to make a single post public b/c I'd love to share this with some friends.

Hope you and the crew are doing well. Julian and I fly to Australia for 3 weeks on Thursday...wishing I had a blog so I could share my own adventures!


Missy said...

Hi, Cheryl! All of the posts on this blog are now public. Enjoy! Have so much fun in Australia! Also, be on the lookout - we are publishing a book about our travels. It should be out by the New Year!

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