Back in May, I wrote a post about life lessons learned from the road. Well here’s an updated version of that post since I have now been on the road for over four months. It was also one of my presentation at the Horizon Unlimited California event last month.
Life is too short – I remember seeing a quote running around on Facebook that read as “Normal is getting dressed in clothes that you buy for work and driving through traffic in a car that you’re still paying for in order to get the job you need to pay for the clothes and the car, and the house you leave vacant all day so you can afford to live in it. [Ellen Goodman]. This quote really struck a cord with me because it’s true. Society teaches us at a young age, that in order to be a somebody that we must go to college, get a career, get married, get a house with the white picket fence, have 2.5 kids, send the kids to college, build a nest eggs and then maybe get to retire at the age of 67.5. But sadly 43% of American spend more than they earn per year trying to achieve this and can’t afford to retire. So the reality is there is never the right time to pursue your dreams so why not make it happen now since you might not get the chance to do so later.
Flying Solo – Traveling solo on this journey has been a huge challenge for me in so many ways. One was learning how to be more free-spirited in my travel than my usual structured mission oriented personality. Also learning how to balance the two personality within myself. Russ was the free-spirited one and I was the structured mission oriented one. Over time we learned how to keep each other in balance. Now I had to learn how to do that alone. I bet some people thought I was crazy when I was talking to myself all the time. Secondly, traveling alone as a deaf person has presented some few challenges for me. Such as not being able to hear a car horn while riding. Another is not being able to hear if someone or something is outside of my tent. Lastly knowing if there is a mechanical problem developing with my bike because I can’t hear the different sound it makes. Lastly, the biggest challenge was learning how to maintain my own motorcycle. I didn’t realize how much Russ did whenever we took off camping on our motorcycle. We always his and her chores preparing for any trips we took. I now wished that we switch roles every now and then so we could have been more prepared. Even if you’re not traveling solo, you never know when something might happen to your partner and you have to take over the rest of the trip.
Expectation – The biggest thing I learned is that nothing is as it seems. Especially the weather, never ever trust the weather report. In another word, hope for the best but expect the worst. For example, on Fourth of July, I stopped in a town called Havre, Montana which is famous for the Wahkpa Chu’gn buffalo jump, or bison kill. This location is over 2,000 years old, it is one of the largest and best preserved buffalo jumps anywhere. In prehistoric times, Native Americans would drive bison over the edge of the cliff, killing or severely injuring the animals. Afterwards, the Native Americans skinned the animals and preserved the meat. The buffalo jump is now an archaeological site and a small tourist attraction. I found camping at the fairground which is a great source for cheap or free campground. I was also excited to learn that the firework would be launch off at the fairground as well. The weather predicted a storm to be arriving late evening with fifteen to twenty mile per hour winds. That is nothing compared to the winds we get in the desert. The campground had very little trees for shelter so I decided to move my tent to under an awning at one of the 4H building to provide additional shelter from the storm. While waiting for the fireworks to go off, the sirens went off. As I run back to the campground, I already saw that my tent sliding across the patio. There was not much I could do but sit in my tent and hope for the storm to quietly to blow over. Luckily for me the sheriff and the maintenance crew from the fairground came to help me break down the camp and evacuate to the nearest shelter. As it turned out, it was a seventy mph tornado like storm which knock out powers and destroyed several building in the area. Also, the poles on my tent became warped. Thanks to my brother, I received a new tent when I arrived at his place a week later so I can continue on with my trip.
Camaraderie and Humanities – It seems that the newscast, social media and YouTube video rating are higher when they show that the world is a cruel, dangerous and an unforgiving place out there. So if it is on the media then it must true? I actually found it not to be the case. I have met the most kind and caring people on this journey. I can’t tell how many times, I have had been invited over for dinner by fellow campers seeing that I was only eating a dehydrated meal. Or how many times, I have listened to caregiver or cancer survivor tell me their stories of courage, strength and hope. Or me giving those who are struggling my stories of courage, strength and hope. Or when I drove through the most dangerous neighborhood in Chicago and getting thumbs up by local gang members. The world is not as bad as it seems on the news. Maybe we should give more thumbs up to the good hearted stories than the stupid or bad ones.
only lessons. There is no such thing as a negative experience, only
opportunities to grow, learn and advance along the road of self-mastery.
From struggle comes strength. Even pain can be a wonderful teacher”