My recent adventure ended in the cold, dreary city of Detroit last evening. My flight was a half hour late, my bags were lost for an hour, and I was extremely sad to be separated from something I fell in love with. I could go on for hours about what I felt fortunate to see and experience. In less than a handful of days, I soaked in perhaps my entire lifetime of wonderment. No plans, no set place to lay my head, and absolutely no specific direction. I let the fate of my irrational decisions take full responsibility. I have no regrets and I wouldn’t have changed a single thing, except to stay -Forever.
I met several people who I will never ever see again. Sometimes, in a bizarre kind of thinking, I wonder if they actually existed. As if they were there to just guide me in a particular direction. (See: The Adjustment Bureau or Jeff Who Lives at Home). Fathers and sons, my 84yr old marriage counselor, locals, and a few wild animals – among dozens of others along the way. The path that I was given led me to a life I desire some day. I currently voluntarily exist in a life of craving security, repetition, and organized routines. It’s a comfort level, but what I realized is that it limits me. You’re stuck in this box of complacency that doesn’t allow you to reach your potential. Comfort can be misleading. Getting lost, being wrong, and making a bad decision can be a stepping stone to something far greater that you could not have initially found otherwise. I am positive that I want to step on these stones, and step on as many as I can.
On my way back home, I sat in a reclining chair with a cup of coffee and a small bag of peanuts next to a gentleman watching tv on the back of the chair in front of him. The lady to my left was reading a book on her Kindle and the kid behind me was playing solitaire on his ipad. We were traveling from Denver to Detroit in less than two and a half hours. There were also two kids in front of me looking out the window. No toys, or electronics, and/or any gadgets for that matter. They were staring out the window. Noses pressed firmly against the plastic and occasionally pointing or shouting with the desire to share in what, to them, was pure amazement. Something that we could buy at Best Buy could never offer to any of us. These kids were often hushed by their parents, who were just as guilty as myself of being culprits of this plugged in world.
What happens when we get older? How do we lose the astonishment of flying in a metal object, thousands of feet in the sky, over mountains, for miles and miles in mere hours? Walking escalators, cops on segways, and self check-ins -on and on. Not in the airports, but all around us in life. Everything comes at us in a gradual fashion, and we sometimes don’t realize how far we have come. Because of this, we can chalk up looking out the window of a plane on the long list of taking for granted. How do I regain what I’ve lost?
I finally grabbed my bags, and walked towards the off airport shuttle pick-up -with my head down. I loaded my carry on and my hiking backpack onto the shuttle bus and sat down, by myself. I was the only one on the bus and initially thought I’d enjoy the next ten minutes in silence to gather what I’ve experienced over the recent days. However, I was quickly asked questions. In a tone I may have never heard or felt before. The most genuine, truly interested, and astonishing manner that I have been associated with in a long time. My head raised up, and I began to smile. “Where did you go”? “Did you go camping”? “Yellowstone”? “Amazing”! “Tell me more…” “A moose, fox…..WOW!” He went on to tell me about how he took his family camping in upper Michigan, but they were scared and got a hotel shortly after. He told me how amazing he thought my “adventure” was. How you have to live life and be proud of who you are.
This short-lived ride seemed like a road trip with a close friend that wanted to know everything that had happened. “And don’t leave out any details..” I felt for a moment that I was reading him a book full of my adventures and I peered over the top of it to see the astonishment upon his face. The same look I saw on the kids in front of me on the plane. The look that I so desperately want. “Here you go sir, your car is right over there.” I said thank you and proceeded to put my luggage away and head home toward Rountineville. Quickly, I heard a beep, beep, beep and I turned around. It was him and he opened the double doors on the shuttle bus and said, “Can I ask you a question”? Sure! “Were you safe”? “You know, with the moose and bears, being alone, traveling, and not having plans”? I guess, I mean, I didn’t really think about it. (I could see his eyes turn a little red and I noticed a concerned look upon his face.) “You have family, right”? Yes, they are great. I love them very very much. “This is probably not my place, but I am talking to you as a father, and as if you were my own son.” “Please promise me to just be careful. Life is too precious.” “If something happens to you, you effect your loved ones and I have a feeling that they love you a lot”. They do. “My son is like you, trying to figure out life and be adventurous.” “I shouldn’t tell you this, but I just lost my 24yr old daughter to cancer three weeks ago.” I’m so sorry. “It’s the worst feeling in life to outlive your own children.” “Just be careful. You’re good people.” I will. I promise.
I opened my car door and sat there to collect myself. I swelled up with tears and emotions of what I have experienced. Again, questioning fate and odds. Late flight, baggage….left or right turn- would I have met this person? As soon as I got home I emailed Qwik Park to get his name. I need to thank him, send him a card, and I want to donate money in his daughter’s name towards a cancer fund. I am searching desperately for this genuine human. A stranger that can affect another’s life. Like Brock, a child who I had never met, who recently passed away at the age of 10. He has impacted my life. My goal is to impact someones life before mine is over, and if at all possible, many, many lives..
More importantly, personally thank those who have left an everlasting impression on my own. I need to find him. I need to thank him.. for leaving this lasting impression that I hope to pass along.