Friends, it’s always fascinating to watch people develop their natural gifts and talents and find their passion in life. And when people work towards making the world a better place while pursuing their dreams, it’s a win-win! I’m writing a new series here on the blog where I interview people that I find interesting, people who have found their purpose, their passion, and have a wonderful perspective towards life. While my usual posts here at Whimsical Blue Living focus on my love of adding whimsy and blue to everything I do, there is that living part that is especially fun to write about!
In this yet-to-be-named-super-fun-series, I’ll be sharing stories and wisdom from people I admire and from whom I have learned so much. It really is such a gift to be able to listen to people tell their stories and share their wisdom, humor, and adventures here on the blog! I recently interviewed a dear friend of mine who is about to go on an exciting adventure, and that is the story I want to share with you today.
I’d love for you to meet my friend David. He and I have been friends since we met in the 6th grade. There was a little group of us that grew up together and have stayed friends for all these years. He is one of those people who has a gift for showing up when life gets hard, listening without judgement and offering sound advice, and making people smile. Once, when we were in high school, he brought my twin sister and I magazines with Brad Pitt on the cover to cheer us up when we’d had a really bad day. That, I think we can all agree, makes him an awesome friend!
It makes sense that as an adult he pursued a Master’s Degree in counseling. And he’s doing something very cool with it. The last step of his program is an internship where he’s combining his love of helping people and of traveling into one grand adventure! Very soon he’ll be packing his bags and traveling to Thailand for nine months to complete his counseling internship with an organization located there!
We talked recently about the importance of determining what you value in life and how that looks different from person to person. For example, he loves to travel and I love restoring old houses. We both have made choices and sacrifices over the years to pursue those interests in our lives, and we both agree those decisions have greatly enriched our lives.
Our conversation reminded me of one of my favorite books, Tuesdays With Morrie, by Mitch Albom. As Mitch and Morrie discuss society and culture, Morrie shares some really interesting insights that I’ve always loved.
“Here’s what I mean by building your own little subculture,” Morrie said. “I don’t mean you disregard every rule of your community… I don’t run through red lights. The little things, I can obey. But the big things- how we think, what we value- those you must choose yourself. You can’t let anyone- or any society- determine those for you… It’s the same for women not being thin enough, or men not being rich enough. It’s just what our culture would have you believe. Don’t believe it….
If we saw each other as more alike, we might be very eager to join in one big human family in this world, and to care about that family the way we care about our own… Invest in the human family. Invest in people. Build a little community of those you love and who love you.”
As my friend David and I were talking about his upcoming trip, I was reminded of Morrie’s wisdom and world view. It reminds me so much of how David has determined his values in life, and how he has worked hard and sacrificed over the years to make sure his life aligns with his values. All of his personal belongings can fit in four plastic totes. He chooses to rent a space to live instead of buying a house, because the whole world is essentially his home! He has invested his money into furthering his education to allow him to help others, and this next adventure to Thailand is part of that journey. At his very core, he knows who he is and what he values, and his life reflects that. I admire that about him so much!
Below he shares some thoughts about life, what is truly important, and his upcoming trip.
“The other night I was opening a bottle of wine with my normal corkscrew and I remembered my friend who had one of those fancy openers that does all the work for you. It was a lot easier. But, the result was the same – I got to share a bottle of wine with friends. I can’t remember the last time I felt like I missed out on something because I choose to live cheaply (or minimally). Being overseas has been a dream for a long time. And now, finally, I am hopeful that it will become more feasible.
It’s the old “picture of pizza” analogy. I’ve seen some pretty appetizing pictures of pizza, but I would rather eat the pizza 10 times out of 10 opportunities. Same with traveling.
I think we always make a way to do what we value. I value spending time out of the country, seeing the world, and so I’ve tried to make that a priority. But honestly, it mostly looks like living simply, denying myself fancy bottle openers, so I can go to Thailand (or wherever).
I don’t think it was a decision as much as it was a value. I value being a part of other cultures and so I try to make that happen. I didn’t sell my stuff so I could go around the world. Instead, I enjoy going around the world, and so I sold my stuff. A small, but important, difference. If our decisions don’t line up with our values then they weren’t really a value in the first place – maybe more of a dream.
It’s hard to say what my strongest motivating factor is. I think it is a lot of things. For me, I feel so strongly that all of us humans are connected. We’ve drawn up lines and call them countries. We have more or less melanin and we call everyone of similar melanin levels a race. I don’t buy it. And so, I enjoy feeling connected. I have a burning desire to help other people… Going to other countries, seeing how their faith and religion is different and the same expands mine.
It’s funny. I don’t feel brave or adventurous. I just feel normal. I actually think I am pretty risk-adverse. I’m the last guy who would jump off the high dive. So, while eating a Samosa off the street in India might seem brave to some people (or just not smart) to me, it seems like a perfectly good idea. But I also know that worst case scenario I’m laid up for a couple of days.
For people who can’t change their lives drastically – We spend so much time, especially in this age of social media, comparing ourselves to other people. My first piece of advice is to determine what your values are. If you don’t want to visit another country? Don’t! And don’t feel guilty about it! But. If you want to visit another country? Then – advice #2 – set some small attainable financial goals. Something like, $50 a month towards the travel fund. In a couple of years you could go somewhere that you really want to visit. Advice #3 – Practice. Before you travel in Europe for a month, go to Utah and travel for a week. Or challenge yourself to not stay at a hotel. There are so many options outside of hotels.
I think this whole thing boils down to values. Stop chasing someone else’s values. I think it is so hard to live according to our values. But, make that a priority. And then, when you catch yourself not living according to those set values, forgive yourself, and get back on it.
I honestly have no idea what life will look like in several years. I hope that I’m spending a lot of time out of the country. I’m hopeful that could happen. But, my life has had a lot of twists and turns, so I try not to get to worked up about setting goals or making too many plans.”
David has always had an adventurous spirit and a love for travel, and he blogs all about his journey over at A Meanderer’s Meandering. I can’t wait to follow along during his upcoming trip!
His advice for determining your values and working towards your ultimate goals is perfect! Seriously friends, if you love to travel, start small. Take a different way home from work. Spend a day exploring a nearby city that you’ve never been to before. Pay attention to the world around you, appreciate the beauty in the ordinary, and practice being grateful for this amazing life! Then, when you do travel the world, you will already be an expert at making life an adventure!
For more inspiration and updates on this yet-to-be-named-super-fun-series, be sure to follow Whimsical Blue Living on Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest. And sign up for our newsletter to receive and email every Sunday morning with the posts from the week. That way you never miss a post!
Here is David’s blog again so you can follow along on his adventures!
Have a beautiful day!