Monday, August 22, 2016

Questions from a young lady in England

This is Mike...
Most times, I allow a reader's questions to become part of an entry so that the reader may see the answers without making it obvious to others. Well, today I will break tradition and respond directly to a 12 year old girl from Newcastle upon Tyne, England. Something about how she wrote with such honesty and wonderment caught my attention. She wrote of her days in England and how she looks at travel blogs untold hours for inspiration. Well, one day, I can assure you that you too will see the world, if that is your desire. The older I get, the more truth I see in sayings like, "Energy flows where attention goes."
   As for what sort of tea I enjoy. Well, funny you should ask, we very much enjoy a tea made from dried hibiscus blossoms. . Not tea in the purest sense, since it comes from steeping of flowers and not leaves, but tea of grand flavor none-the-less. We prefer the tea chilled and with a touch of sugar to lessen its tartness. Believe it as you may, we pour the hibiscus tea over ice cubes here. It is quite refreshing on a hot day to drink such a beverage.  Most people in the New World drink coffee rather than tea, but I assure you, it is still remarkably easy to find a gorgeous spot of Indian tea almost anywhere.
   As for whether I have a proper office. Well, I added some pictures below to help demonstrate, in one sense, my office is quite proper indeed. I have a writing surface, laptop, and a wonderful place for inspiration. On the other hand, my office, if it is to be called such, is loud and at the base of the staircase, in the middle of all manner of action. My children, like you for your parents, make this incredibly beautiful music, it is called laughter. The days of youthful gaiety are short and I hope you find great reason to laugh with your parents. Be boisterous, be gleeful but most importantly be you. There are millions upon millions of other people but only one young lady like you.
   As for whether you are feckless and dreaming your life away. Most certainly you are not! You will probably not like to hear this but you are still young, and that is a spectacular gift. You will have many opportunities to succeed and fail. If I may, I wish to impress upon you that failing is never a bad thing so long as you learn from the experiences, they shall make you stronger. Today's world moves faster than mine did at your age but most of life's challenges are the fairly similar. Most importantly, you still need to make a path that is agreeable with you. Finally, age is no guarantee of maturity or intelligence. You will find that one day, you will know more than an elder but respect them the same, there's always an opportunity to learn.
   As for why and how we chose the trip. Well that is a wonderful story, indeed. Of course people see the blog and pictures but what they don't see or feel is how we got here. We had many fears upon starting this journey and some days we still do. But fear in of itself is not enough reason to quit. Often our fears are silly and usually based on not knowing what tomorrow will bring. In truth, does anybody know what tomorrow will bring? I have two daughters and one is almost your age, she is curious about how the world works as well. I like traveling with my family because I learn more about myself, with them, than I could ever learn alone.
    My wife approached me one day, nearly two years ago and asked, "If you could do anything in the world what would it be?" I thought about it and came up with silly responses, she scoffed at my answers and asked more firmly, "What have you always wanted to do?" I replied with seriousness, "I always wanted to drive to Argentina." Remarkably she said, "We'll look into it." We bought a few books, waited a few weeks and afterwards she said, "Let's drive to Central America. I cannot commit to South America yet, but we have always wanted to go, so let's do it while we still can." I was so amazed that we could go and live a dream, together. You see, when I first met my wife 13 years ago and went to her house for the first time I noticed she had a Central and South America guide book in her cabinet. Though I did not know her well at the time, we clicked and had a nice conversation about her book. As it turned out, she had a dream to go to Latin America as well. Life is strange, you just never know what's going to happen.
   For me, I had postponed my dream for 25 years, because I had fears of cartels, fears of falling behind financially, fears of the unknown. For 25 years, I waited behind excuses, and it all affected me deeper than I could have imagined. I only noticed how good I was at saying no, after I started saying yes for a change. You see, my wife and two daughters gave me the courage to live a dream. My family was no longer an excuse from which I would hide behind, they were the reason for us to start traveling, and our lives became fun again. My wife gave me a most precious gift, that of living this life with her. I am a lucky father and lucky husband and shall not ever forget that.
   As for you finding England boring.  I have a wonderful friend from Caracas, Venezuela who now lives in Texas. When she was a young girl her family decided to move to England for work and to learn English as well. She spoke of how she and her sister would jokingly say, "Blah, Blah, Blah" to each other as that's what the new language of English sounded like to their young ears. Today, she looks back on England with immense fondness and appreciates how special and different it was from her native Venezuela. The food, weather, mannerism, everything so different. By the time she left your delightful country she adored it and now speaks two languages perfectly because of it. Alas, maybe it is not the place but a change of perspective that matters most. Try to see what is good about England, I am sure you will discover it is breathtaking. You will have plenty of time to journey afar but for now your journey needs to be within.       
   I hope you see that life can be confusing at times but eventually you discover what's right. One day in the distant future, you might look though a window and realize the way you thought when you were 12 may have been correct all along. In the meantime though, find time to play, time to dream, time to laugh, incredibly enough it always seems to work out in the end. Stay focused on your studies and garner as much knowledge as you can. Above all, we sincerely hope your beautiful dreams, postponed or not, one day come true! 

We enjoy Smoothies (milkshakes) with fresh fruit almost everyday.

After steeping the flowers in a pot we strain the hibiscus, leaving behind the tea.

My "office" is spartan but is sufficient.

Quite a nice view from the "office".


1 comment:

  1. Mike, so sweet of you to thoroughly answer the English girl's questions. Your passion and love of travel is contagious! You have a great knack of explaining the different cultures in easy to relate stories. As for that friend from Caracus, we were just thinking of her and her family the other day!