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Wise words - "Count experiences, not countries"



Jonathan Hanson posted this short, but great reminder the other day. It’s something I think we all know, but it bears repeating. I’m taking the time to type this up to share as much as so I remember the lesson. I think the “overland” world is quite filled with list checkers. To each their own, but I think it’s good to make an effort not to get caught up in it.

I often hear people asking how many lockers, how big of a fridge, how expensive of a roof tent, how many trips offroad, nights camped, countries visited. Then you see the crazy smiling bastard who just road his 50cc Honda scooter cross country. He’s got the stories, he’s got the experiences to share. I think the list checking comes from an innate sense of desire to win and be validated that inhabits all animals. The problem with life is that you can’t win, you will surely, as will all living things, lose in the end. (Unless there is some amazing technological breakthrough extending life to infinity)

So, knowing that time is limited we can either run around feverishly trying to fit in all that we can with our focus on the quantity or make sure that each moment is enjoyed completely as it happens with quality.

Personally, I learned this lesson at 30 years of age. I was laid off for the 4th, or was it 5th, time as the last bank I ever worked for went under like the rest. I lost my home to foreclosure, deservedly so, since I couldn’t pay my mortgage. I even cashed in most of my 401k saved thus far in life. I had a half paid off 4runner and a mountain bike. All of life’s other possessions had been sold to pay for basic life costs. A simple walk from home to find a geocache in the alley behind the local REI or a mountain bike ride in the local preserve became an adventure. A day or week spent exploring back roads not far from home became “big” adventures to be cherished and a trip out the state was a MASSIVE expedition.

Now, 8 years have elapsed, a new home and a new career things are certainly better, but I enjoy walking from my office over a lunch break in a similar way I enjoyed walking down streets in Cuba last month. It’s all interesting. It’s all an adventure. If I can’t do a far away trip next month because things change, I’ll be okay as long as I can go for a nice long walk somewhere nearby. Soak it in and don’t get caught up in the lists.

The article referenced and some much more articulate writing can be found here:

http://www.exploringoverland.com/overland-tech-travel

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#Tim