Today is my birthday…I’m 32 years old. As I look back over the last 12 years of flying, I cannot help but to be incredibly thankful.
In 2006 the only countries I had ever been to outside of the USA were Mexico (for an hour into Tijuana) and Canada (for an hour onto the Canadian side of Niagra Falls).
But in 2006, I finally left the nest and spent the month of September in Europe…oh what an eye-opening trip that was.
The trip included Germany, the Czech Republic, Austria, Switzerland, France, Italy, Belgium, and the Netherlands. That may sound like a lot in a month, but we took it easy, taking in some of Europe’s most historic cities. About half our time was spent in Germany.
As I look back 12 years later, I am grateful for that opportunity. I traveled with a friend from UCLA and the military on the trip, Tim, who recently passed away. He was far too young to die. He grew up in Berlin and we enjoyed a wonderful time exploring new places and trying new food (for me at least).
12 Years Later
This trip helped me to understand, for the first time really, that there was a whole world out there just waiting to be experienced. I may fly for the sake of flying sometimes, but the sights and smells and personal interactions in the 130+ countries I have visited over the last 12 years have been one of the biggest blessings of my life. Travel is far more than a job…it is a conscious lifestyle choice and deliberate engagement with the world.
Now I have a young son at home, who I look forward to taking to Europe when he’s old enough to appreciate it. He’s already been to Europe four times, but I want to show him the Berlin Wall, the canals of Amsterdam, the Acropolis in Athens, and the Eiffel Tower. Oh how I look forward to showing him Europe, just as Tim showed me Europe.
We went to Europe without a plan. Each day was a spur of the moment trip. And I loved that. While carefully-planned vacations have their own advantages, there is nothing like winging it for a few weeks in Europe. We never went to bed hungry nor found no room at the inn.
I guess what I’m trying to say is how thankful I am for all the blessings in my life. My faith, my wife, my son, my friends, but also just the simple pleasures of life in this beautiful world. There is a duality to this world: hatred, strife, and sin…yet beauty, grace, and forgiveness. It has been a fun ride thus far and taking one day at a time, I look forward to what is to come.