Who are you living for?

I was talking with fellow travelers today and almost cried thinking about why I decided I would travel the world.

In September of 2013, I had a huge health scare. I was at work and my vision began to fade. By the time I made it to the hospital, I felt like a prisoner in my own body, I couldn’t move, I couldn’t speak my own name. All I could do was weep.

I thought it was the end. I thought I would never speak again. My dad had an early stroke, and I thought it was my turn.

And in that moment, I made a promise to the Creator and to myself that I would never live that way again: always kicking what I wanted to do forward. I told myself, “I’ll do it after the next work project, I’ll do it after I get a promotion.”

So when the opportunity came, I took it. I didn’t know if I would have enough money. I didn’t know if I was going to be able to do it. I didn’t know how to plan or what to see.

But, where there is a will, there is a way. And so, lulu-digital and I set off, across 3 continents and with a dream and no plan.

I’m sitting here in an Italian pizza place in Budapest, able to say hello in Hungarian and order in Italian. My life is amazing. And not because I have a lot of money to travel. But because I had to challenge myself in so many ways. And I’ve met so many cool people. I’ve had epic nights and days that were just plain terrifying.

But I’m here. Blessed enough to write this. Blessed enough to walk. Blessed enough to talk. Blessed beyond measure.

Thank you all for taking this journey with me. Your messages and encouragement have been so unreal. I’m so thankful, and I hope that I’ve encouraged you to get off the couch and take the smallest step towards your goals.

I wake up and think, “There’s no way I should be here. I’m just a skinny kid from the hood.” But still, I am here. I AM here.

One of my favorite quotes comes from Le Petit Prince: “On ne voit bien qu’avec le cœur. L’essentiel est invisible pour les yeux.”

"It is only with the heart one can see rightly. The essential is invisible to the eye."

I travel and take photos of things. But it’s my heart that is changed. I’ll never see the world the same way. Thinking about wars and immigration is different. I am different.

So, I encourage you to take a step on your journey today. And if you’re struggling, tell someone. People care, people are kind, people help each other, people help strangers when they can’t give anything in return. We are amazing in that way.

The word “namaste” means, “I see the god in you.” So I part with namaste because, in the Judeo-Christian tradition, the first name of God, YHWH, or Yahweh, means “I am who I am”.

Be who you are today. Namaste.