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Sunday, June 22, 2014

Why I Love World Cup

I am not much of a sports fan.  I enjoy going to the occasional live sporting event, and of course some WWE here and there, but aside from that I am not the guy you will find counting down the minutes until "the game" comes on.

Once every four years, when the World Cup is held, this changes, and I become a fan.

I become a fan not because I love soccer so much, (I do enjoy soccer, but not enough to get me to sit still and watch it regularly,) I become a fan because I love the atmosphere that is created by the World Cup.

I love seeing people from all around the world come together to cheer for their respective countries.

I especially love seeing this in my home country, the United States of America.  I love seeing people proudly wearing their red, white, and blue colors.  I love seeing people enthusiastically waving the American flag and painting their faces.

I have seen a lot of posts on Facebook over the last couple weeks saying, sarcastically, something to effect of: "All of a sudden everyone is a soccer fan now."

I don't think it is so much that everyone is suddenly a soccer fan, I think deep down, people want to feel like they are a part of and belong to something bigger than themselves.  World Cup provides this opportunity.

I wish this level of Patriotism would be displayed in day to day life.  Not just in the USA, but around the world.  Would it make a difference in people's day to day lives if they all felt they belonged to something larger than themselves?  I certainly think so.

The below video sums up my feelings much better than I could ever articulate in writing.  It is one of my favorite videos I have ever watched on Youtube.  It is from the 2010 World Cup when USA player Landon Donovan scored a last minute goal against Algeria.  It is one I will turn on from time to time, when I need a little extra inspiration, and when I need to remind myself that I am a part of something much bigger and much greater than just my self. I still get goosebumps every time I watch it. 

I hope you enjoy the video and I hope you all are enjoying the World Cup.

Carpe Diem,


Sunday, June 8, 2014

Life on the Road

Hi all,

As I type this I am coming up on the end of another road trip.  This one has taken me from Minnesota, to Western North Dakota, back up through the center of North Dakota, into Manitoba Canada, over to Kenora Canada, and finally back into Minnesota where I will catch a flight home.  When the rental car is turned in, I anticipate close to 2,000 miles will have been driven in about five days! 

I really fell in love with road trips during 2011 when I was doing the 1 Year 1000 Challenge.  Doing a 1000 things in a year required a lot of changes in scenery.  During my 1000 Challenge adventures I really discovered a love for the open road and an appreciation for all the beauty I could see as part of it.  Rather than flying from one city to another and then staying in said city, a road trip allows you to experience all of the "in between" stuff; the stuff that is typically just flown over.

The cool thing about the "in between" stuff is that is usually the natural (nature) stuff, the stuff I really enjoy! 

I have been blessed to see some amazing buildings, architecture, skyscrapers, and statues.  I can appreciate them, I enjoy taking photos of them, but few leave me with that "WOW!" feeling that our natural world does.  Herein comes the road trip appeal.

I cannot begin to tell you how many mountains, lakes, rivers, bodies of water, beaches, skies, sunrises, sunsets, trees, plants, and animals I have seen.  No matter how many I see, I still find my breath being taken away and I still find myself saying, "WOW!"

There is such an amazing world out there filled with so much beauty waiting to be explored.

Not only that I love getting to meet new people and seeing how different people live and having the opportunity to experience local customs and culture that are different from my day to day life.

Driving through North Dakota, a place I had been told was not the most exciting, I found myself marveling at the lushness of the green grass and the cleanliness.  I would drive for miles and not see a piece of trash on the road.  I'd watch as the clouds changed shapes and sizes over the open plains.  It was nothing less than ... beautiful. 

After North Dakota I crossed the boarder at the International Peace Garden (very cool spot to visit) to head up into Manitoba Canada.  This was my third trip into Canada.  I love visiting Canada for the obvious reasons: the natural beauty and the friendly people.  What I also love about Canada is the sense of national pride that is evident all throughout it (at least the places I have been).

Everywhere I go, I saw Canadian flags proudly displayed  When I crossed back over into the USA passing through the town of Fort Francis on the Canadian side I saw countless houses, buildings, public structures, etc... all flying the Canadian flag.  This experience left me feeling happy and inspired.  On the USA side I did not have the same experience and it left me feeling a little sad.  As I drove by countless houses, buildings, and public structures, I kept looking for an equal symbolic show of patriotism and pride, but never found it at the level I saw in Canada.

I wonder where our pride has gone?  Where has the sense of National pride that I saw on September 12th, 2001 and the days after, where has that disappeared to?  Have we, as Americans, allowed our view of what America is, to be represented by politicians vs our own personal belief and our own personal ideas of what America is?  This discussion is for another blog, so I will leave it here.

Road trips are amazing adventures.  They do not have to cover 1000's of miles, they can be as long or as short as you want.  Road trips do not have to be expensive.  Some of my favorite road trips have been the ones where I jump in my car, bring a cooler full of food, drive to wherever I am going, spend the day there, eat my food I brought and sleep in my car ( to save money), and then drive to the next spot.  If I need to shower I will go and workout at the local gym and then shower after.  $10 for a day pass at a gym (many you can get a free one for if you look online) vs $100+ for a hotel. 

Where ever you are in the world, there is an opportunity for adventure and discovery waiting for you in your backyard!

Do you have a favorite memory/experience of a road trip you would like to share?  If so please leave it in the comments below. I would love to read about it! :)

Summertime is approaching for many of us.  I encourage you to make a plan, (or don't plan at all just go on the spur of the moment), to spend a few days with your camera, your car, maybe a few friends, and the open road.  The experience will be unforgettable.

Enjoy the pics,

Carpe Diem,


Sunday, June 1, 2014

Good vs Evil

As most of the world knows, last weekend in the town of Isla Vista, my home during my college days, six people were killed.  The killer acted alone, his primary motivation appears to have been to get revenge on girls who "ignored him," and "wouldn't date" him. 

Since then I have watched and read news reports, as well as talked with friends and clients, and heard him be called everything from: "disgusting," "crazy," "sad," and "evil."

The concept of evil is what I wanted to focus on today.

Before I get to that, I want to take a moment to express my deepest condolences to the victims and the victims families and friends.  My heart goes out to all of you.  To the community of Isla Vista, aka IV, do not let this incident break your spirit.  

This is what I believe:. 

Evil exists because we allow it to exist.  It exists in the bad vibes we send to strangers, it exists in the judgements we make, the resentment we form, the anger we hold onto, the finger pointing we do, etc... Evil exists because when it plants its' evil little seeds, we come running with our watering pail and start nourishing those seeds until they blossom into big nasty evil things. The only way evil can ever be defeated is with good and love.  Herein lies the challenge to us.

If we want to eliminate evil then we have to be willing to have the conversation with the person in the mirror.  We have to look that person in the eye and ask them why, "Why do I hold onto this, why do I choose to let my "stuff," control my life.  Why do fill myself up with this evil "stuff," instead of filling myself up with love?"

Then we have to decide that good and love are worth more than the "evil" that we are holding onto.

Obviously this approach is most effective with the person in the mirror, but I do believe there is a residual benefit to the world at large.  You having that conversation with You is going to give you the ability to influence others to have the same conversation with themselves.  This is how the dominoes start to fall...

I often ask myself, What would the world be like if we became a culture where we no longer celebrated violence.  What if it suddenly became uncool to have a massive body count in a movie or TV show.  What if it no longer was hip to listen to music that glorifies violence and crime?  What would the world become if we turned off the TV every time the news started broadcasting some sort of negative story. What would the world be like if we took as much interest in living our own lives as we do in how other people live theirs?

I believe that if each of us made more of an effort to love instead of hate, to tune out sensationalized and violent media, and tune into our own lives, then evil will slowly begin to die out. 

Evil exists because of us, which means we have the ability to make it cease to exist.

Is it possible?  I believe so. To make it happen, it starts with that person in the mirror.

I'd love to hear your thoughts, please share them below.

Carpe Diem,