It’s taken me longer to decide what I wanted to write as closing thoughts to the blog. It’s not for lack of ideas or inspiration — in fact, I’ve probably started four times. But nothing felt right. It’s not easy closing a chapter like this.
I’d like to close on three observations:
#1. Adventure is important. We fall into ruts, most of our own making. We so fear losing the status quo that we miss out on a whole range of experiences and opportunities that would almost certainly enrich the current if not land us in a better place. Obstacles that would not stop us if we embarked stop us from embarking. I talked recently with an executive who spent a week in the Middle East pursuing his lifelong dream to drive a Formula One car. His thrill of passing 300 kmh before a hard brake and a left hand turn were palpable. I hope each of you can pursue that adventure that will help define your life’s passage.
#2. I continue to believe the UWCSEA scholars are a highly worthwhile cause. I had dinner with about 15 scholars late last week; what a pleasure it was once again to see the value each student places on having a UWC education. Eli’s story of taking multiple 8-hour bus rides to and from the capital city to interview with UWC with no certainty that she would be successful. The sheer joy of watching many of the students eat prawn and crabs for the first time, with complete gusto, I might add. The knowledge that this is a gift that could pay off for generations, across communities, not just individuals.
#3. I’m really grateful for the camaraderie and friendship of my “Bike Across America” colleagues. It was a far more enriching, enjoyable and safe experience because of the group. My curiosity about other people has been heightened; my desire to understand what makes them tick, why they make the choices they do, has increased. Here’s to Father John, Dianne and Stacey in particular for making sure I became the last person to the hotel every day. We started out thinking it was about the destination, but it was really about the journey. And a shared journey is just a lot more fun than a lonely one.
So am I a changed person? One has to put this little trip into context — I did not circumnavigate the world in a sailboat, climb Everest or cross Antarctica. I do not think at any point I put my life at risk. No blood or tears were shed. It really just took tenacity and about 250,000 calories. But there is a part of me that is less satisfied with the status quo. I want to think bigger, push myself a bit harder, get closer to or even cross points of failure more often. And I want to live each day with as much gusto as I can.