“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by all the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” –Frequently attributed to Mark Twain re: inspiration.
When I sat down to write this post, it was meant to be about inspiring and being inspired: Inspired to travel, inspired to write, inspired to create and seek images, inspired to follow dreams, inspired to discover what we love and then spend time doing it, which is ultimately what I hope that this entire blog will do for others, in some way or another.
But this post has also morphed into an article about Facebook.
For a long time, I had a love/hate relationship with Facebook. Clearly one-sided.
This was because I saw Facebook as a downer, a mirror for all the things I perceived weren’t right about my life, all the things I perceived weren’t right about me. (Midlife crisis?) I would look at the “endless” stream of photos and posts from my Facebook friends of and about their spouses and kids and proverbial white picket fences, and wonder why my life had turned out so different than I had wanted or expected it to, so different than “everyone” else’s.
I even made the decision to deactivate my Facebook account for 90 days, with the idea of either “resetting” my unhealthy relationship with the behemoth social network, or getting over it and deleting my account for good.
Ultimately, at the end of the self-imposed “no contact” period, when I reactivated my account, I discovered that my perspective had shifted. I could finally appreciate Facebook as a phenomenal tool for communication, education, news gathering, and what’s more, inspiration.
Here’s an example of how Facebook works in my life these days, which brings us full circle back to being inspired…
After lounging around in bed cuddling with the cat for awhile this morning, I click the Facebook logo on my browser toolbar. The newsfeed opens. My attention is immediately caught by a photo of a bright red “Do Not Disturb” sign on a doorknob with the heading, “My (Seemingly) Impossible Camino Packing List.” Already I’m hooked. Packing list? Seemingly impossible? What could be more enticing?
My eyes wander down to the photo caption, which reads, “The things you own end up owning you. It’s only after we’ve lost everything that we’re free to do anything. ~Chuck Palahniuk”
How can I NOT click on this link…immediately? So I do, and navigate to the latest blog post by a new Facebook friend, Camino Nev, whom I encountered via the blog world the very first day I researched the Camino, back in January. His latest post is about packing for a 756 kilometer walk from Phnom Penh to Bangkok.
I’m engaged at the first sentence and belly laughing by the fifth:
“You know what it’s like: you go online to check the news and end up buying a super-discounted airplane ticket to Bangkok… Within 24 hours of ordering the espresso I was sitting in a Turkish airlines emergency exit row seat…”
Oh sure, Nev, we all know what that’s like, lol. And people think I’m spontaneous and adventurous.
I finish reading Nev’s post and begin typing a comment about how much I enjoy his writing style and how it’s made me laugh. I’m preparing to ask about how he came to live in Czech Republic and how he has so much time to walk, what it’s like to fly on Turkish Airways, if he always carries a laptop on his walks (how much easier it would be to blog if I took my MacBook Air), why the comb, and what he will do with the non-Camino gear like the leather jacket and how did it come to be with him in the first place… (was it THAT spontaneous of a trip?)
But as I type the comment, I’m suddenly inspired to write my own post about being inspired to travel, about being inspired to be spontaneous, and about Facebook’s part in that all that inspiration. So inspired, in fact, that I feel compelled to begin writing immediately.
I end up writing only half of what I had intended in the comment to Nev, basically just letting him know his post made me laugh and that I like his jeans, I click over to Blogger, and begin typing this post.
Have you been inspired by Facebook? Or had a love/hate relationship with it?
- More benefits to Facebook?
- Beginner’s mind, Shoshin, (初心) and the pilgrim
- Guest post by Suzanne (mothers, daughters, and the Camino)
- Guest post by Grateful Gaile (traveling from Hawaii to Norway on a whim)
I will leave you with this video by Abria Joseph, who “talks about taking chances and seizing opportunities. ‘Dream it real’ is his motto. Think about what you want. Visualize, and then do it.”
‘So I finish reading Nev’s post and begin to type a comment on it about how much I enjoy his writing style and how it’s made me laugh. I’m preparing to ask about how he came to live in Czech Republic and how he has so much time to walk, what it’s like to fly on Turkish Airways, if he always carries a laptop on his walks (how much easier it would be to blog if I took my MacBook Air), why the comb, and what he will do with the non-Camino gear like the leather jacket and how did it come to be with him in the first place… (was it THAT spontaneous of a trip?’
Hi Elissa 🙂
In answer to your questions:
1. About 20 year ago I met a Jewish extrovert from NYC on a bus traveling Prague to Amsterdam. We hung out in Amsterdam together for about a week – every minute falling deeper from my side – and I ended up visiting her in Prague where she was at the time living as an expat. She eventually headed back to Manhattan and I eventually continued to stay on in Prague.
2. I have so much time to walk because I got divorced 2 years ago and my children (3) live with my ex-wife in Brno. I work online so it’s irrelevant to me where I am as long as I have a good wifi connection. I spend my time in between walks visiting my children and living a hermit’s life out at my country cottage in the Czech Republic.
3. Turkish Airlines are your run-of-the-mill airline, except they serve up pretty good food and are generous with liquids (for me that means as much coffee and tonic water as I can ask for without feeling embarrassed or incessant). Istanbul airport though is a tragic daymare. More so after dark.
4. I always carry my laptop. I’m addicted hook line and sinker 🙂
5. I’m insulted by the fact that you even ask this question Elissa! 🙂
I like to keep the freebies you get at the nicer hotels; things I never use but which at the time are free and are somehow sugar-coated for a hoarder like myself. I actually still have the comb with me 🙂
6. I also have my leather jacket with me still too. It’s adding unnecessary pain and suffering to my walk but I would just have too many anxiety separation issues if I had left it in Phnom Penh. It’s a beautiful jacket. I had it with me when I was visiting my children, when I was sipping coffee at the Lucerna, and when I boarded the plane to take me to Bangkok. Yes, the trip was as spontaneous as I wrote 🙂
I also want to complement you on your writing style Elissa.
Usually one’s mind starts to wander in the first paragraph or sentence of full text blog posts, but I found myself reading with increasing attention and interest.
You also have a much wider vocabulary than I do.
Are you published at all?
(Any previous novels?).
Thank you for the mention in your post Elissa and I’m still waiting on the orange/yellow banner as you promised 🙂
Hi Nev 🙂
Thanks for responding.
1) Where can I read the rest?
2) With any luck, my envy will quickly transform into inspiration, then motivation.
3) Coffee and tonic water. Hmm.
4) That’s inspiring. I tried using my iPhone and a bluetooth keyboard during the Camino. It didn’t work out very well.
5) Lol. I couldn’t resist!
6) I was wondering if you would end up posting it back home. I’m glad for the clarification. I wasn’t sure from your blog if you had gone directly from visiting your children to the airport or if there had been a brief return to your country cottage. Definitely the most spontaneous long-distance journey I’ve heard of. Again, inspirational.
Thank you for the compliment, Nev. I am delighted to hear that the post kept your attention.
No, not (yet) published. Several people have asked about/encouraged me to consider publishing since I began writing this blog in January. For the time being, I am content to focus on the blog post in front of me. Off to write the next one now….