Monday, November 26, 2012

Before I Die...

Credit: Candy Chang

  • Before I Die... I want to experience zero gravity.
  • Before I Die... I want to break a world record.
  • Before I Die... I want to give a speech in front of +1000 people.
  • Before I Die... I want to finish a triathlon. 
  • Before I Die... I want to write a book and publish it.
  • Before I Die... I want to live in another country 

These are a few of the intentions I have for myself. The Turkish call it "┼×imdi ya da Asla" which translates to 'Now or Never'. You may better recognize it as a 'bucket list', or a life list.

Do you have one?

Most people, at some point in their lives, have at least considered some things they would like to accomplish before they leave this world. What ever your dreams are, a bucket list is a great way to shed light on what is truly meaningful in your life. It is easy to get caught up in the noise of the 'day to day' with its increasing distractions from kids or work or school. It is important though that we find time to reflect on our own aspirations so that, as we learn and grow, we can continue to take advantage of this series of fleeting moments we call life. Write down your goals so you have a way to track your progress. It is by writing down your ambitions that you give your life purpose and it's by living with purpose that you make change in the world.

Neale Donald Walsch said it best "The deepest secret is that life isn't a process of discovery, but a process of creation. Don't ask who you are but rather who you want to be".

Go out and become the person you know you can be. Find what it is you are living for so that when your time comes to take that long nap you can say that you made the most of the time you had. Take life into your own hands, step out of your comfort zone, and as always boldly grow in the direction of your dreams.


Friday, November 23, 2012

10 Things to Know About Traveling Abroad

I had just gotten in to Vancouver Canada and was waiting to board the next plane toward Shanghai Pu Dong. What a cool experience. During that layover I came to a realization. Now that I am officially an international traveler why not share my experience and advice with the world? Are you ready world? Here goes nothing. 10 things to know about traveling abroad:

1. Print Out Your Itinerary.    
We'll start out with an easy one. This one is pretty self explanatory but be sure to have your travel itinerary printed out and available. This way you can check and double check your travel information so you can get where you need to go on time. 

 2. Be Early. 
When it comes to traveling, timeliness will save you from unnecessary stress headaches. Its not always easy to be on time but with your itinerary print out you should have less of a problem. Timeliness is also great because you'll often get boarding or seating priority for being early.

3. Keep Your Passport Out.
Have it out at all times! Or at least keep it easily accessible. If you get stopped by customs officers(which you will) they may ask to see your passport(often) and bombard you with questions(at length) so be ready.   

4. Make The Most of Your Layovers.
Whenever you have a layover, make the most of it. Walk around as much as you need, use the toilets, pick up some reading material and food just be prepared to pay the outrageous airport or train station prices.

5. Be Ready to Be Pushed.
Keep in mind while traveling anywhere, everyone is trying to get where they're going ASAP. That being said, many people tend to lose patience quickly an sometimes resort to bumping and pushing the lines forward. At least be ready to have your heels stepped on especially if you wind up in the Shanghai airport.

6. Expect Jet Lag.
Even if you don't think you will or can get jet lag, read on. Drink water, take vitamins, whatever you need to do to avoid getting sick. Jet Lag can be a pain to get over so take preventative measures.

7. Aisle Seats Baby!
Aisle seats can be your best friend especially if your trip consists of being on a plane for several hours. After sitting on an airplane for 23 hours I can safely say aisle seats are life savers. Aisle seats are great because you can stretch your legs into the aisle, you can also easily stand up and walk the aisles to un-cramp. Another bonus is being able to reach up into the overhead compartments if you need to access your carry on at any point.

8. Get Travelers Insurance.
It can definitely worth your while to get travelers insurance. If you end up paying a lot for your ticket, which traveling internationally you probably will, insurance is a smart investment. From personal experience I can tell you if you ever miss a plane or have to push your trip back a few days due to unexpected obstacles, insurance can be invaluable. it insures your trip in case of emergency and is a good idea to have.

9. Know Your Destinations Laws and Conditions.
When you go into a foreign country, you become subject to its laws and regulations. Be sure to look up and understand the laws in the countries you visit. No one wants to end up in a foreign jail for making the wrong hand gestures.

10. Have an Emergency Contact.
In case of emergency you should definitely have someone you can contact. Should you get sick or run out of money, or find yourself in any other kind of predicament you need someone to bail you out. For all you emergency contacts out there you have a big responsibility so make sure your dependents make it worth your while.

 So there it is. 10 things you should not leave home without. Traveling, especially internationally can be a lot of fun and can have lasting affect on how you see the world. Just remember fate favors the well prepared so be ready and have fun! 

Monday, November 12, 2012

Why I Hate Cars

I hate cars. Sure they look nice and get us from points A to B pretty quick but are they really that great? They cost a lot of money, they pollute the air, and they generate a lot of waste once they are out of commission. Okay, Okay, I'll admit I am a little bit biased as I have been plagued by motor vehicle issues ever since I can remember. What follows are variety of stories that should explain why I hate cars.

  • When I was 5 while riding in the car with my mom and sister headed through Nevada. We rode through construction and slid on loose gravel. My mom lost control of the wheel and we careened over the shoulder.  The car was in a barrel roll down the cliff and when we finally came to a stop the car had flipped three times and we landed on the hood. Nobody was seriously injured...but damn.

  • When I was 8 years old I was outside with my sister and her friends and when her friends went to leave they rolled over my foot with their car.

  • A couple of weeks after I got my drivers license I was driving to the local video game store for a Halo 2 tournament. As I pulled into the parking space I clipped the Escalade in the next spot over. Turned out to be an off duty cop's Escalade. The damage to the his ride-$1500, The look on his face when he came out of the store-Priceless.

  • When I was 16 I my mom let me drive to school one morning while she rode shotgun. Not two miles away from my house we came to a stop sign. I did like any safe driver would do and looked both ways  for on coming traffic. Once I saw an opening I slowly pulled out. Unfortunately it was still dark outside and when I looked both ways, I failed to see the oncoming car with their headlights off and SMASH.

  • Junior year of high school the last bell rang and I headed to the parking lot. My mom had been out of town and was letting me borrow her new pickup truck. I was considering going to the gym that day and since my friend lived close to school I figured I would drive over and see if he wanted to work out too. As I pull up in front of his house he comes running out. I rolled down my window to talk and my friend decided this was the official new Dukes of Hazard car. My friend comes flying at me through the driver side window, knocks me over into the passenger seat and off of the brake pedal. Before I could sit back up, the truck methodically rolls up over the curb and into the side of his house. My mom was beyond excited to see her new truck when she came home the next day.

  • One evening when I was 18 I headed to this new restaurant to meet up with a few friends. Being a prepared motorist; as I was leaving the house, I was sure to grab the keys, my wallet and directions to this new restaurant and shove them in my pockets. I was approaching the light for the freeway on ramp when I thought it would be a perfect time to check the directions. I glanced down for just a second and when I looked back up traffic had come to a complete stop and WHAM right into the back of a van. Now I was officially off my moms insurance.

  • Easter morning 2010 I was driving home from church. As I came of the off ramp for the freeway two studs snapped off the axle and my wheel and tire came free. It was extremely fortunate that I had made it off the freeway before it happened but still another car story. I ended up waiting an hour for the tow truck to arrive and when it did, it was the wrong type of tow truck. Since it was a rear wheel, the car couldn't roll down the street and needed to be hauled away on a flatbed truck.

  • When I was 22 I got a job transfer from Seattle to Atlanta but the SUV I had wouldn't make the trip. The tires were bald and it had been having electrical problems for a while. I took it to a dealership to make a trade and walked out with a new truck I didn't like with a $25,000 price tag. Have you ever had a time where you instantly regretted a decision you made? Well this was one of those times. I was short on time was desperate. Fortunately, my sister and brother in law helped arrange for me to bring the truck back and get my old SUV back.

  • Most Recently I got a job transfer to Australia and I need to sell my truck. I've been working on it the past few weeks to get it ready to sell. New radiator, new muffler, new oxygen sensors, the works. Again, time is a factor as try and sell this truck. I take it to a dealership only to find out that they cant appraise a vehicle with expired tabs. Did I know the tabs were expired? HELL NO! Apparently in the state of Georgia your tabs expire on your birthday which was a mere 3 months after I had previously renewed them. In order to renew the tabs, I'd have to get another emissions test. When I take the truck to get a smog test, does it pass? HELL NO! Now its crunch time folks. In one day I have to have the problem fixed, get a smog test, get new tabs, and sell the truck. The pressure is on.

I suppose I should be grateful to be born in a time where there are such things as cars, and that I've been fortunate enough to own as many cars as I have, and to have survived these stories. I am extremely grateful for those things believe me. But it still doesn't change the fact that I hate cars.

Do you have a crazy car story? Leave a comment and tell us about it!

Until next time,

Monday, November 5, 2012

The Most Exciting Time In History

We are living in the most exciting time in history. We humans as a species are on a new frontier of creation and new frontier of evolution. We are rapidly approaching the "decommissioning" of natural selection as we know it.

Today, like never before, dreams however improbable they may seem are able to become reality with the emergence of new technologies. The level at which we express creativity is constantly growing. That level constantly expanding is bringing us to uncharted territory. As that level of creative expression develops, evolution itself is evolving. Consider the fact that we've created more technological innovation in the last 100 years than we have in the last 100,000 years and that change continues exponentially.

The first supercomputer was created at Stanford University in the 1960's. It cost 60 million dollars and was the size of a building. Now 50 years later we have these smart phones that are a million times cheaper, a million times smaller, and a thousand times more powerful being bought and sold by millions of consumers all around the globe. That's an enormous decrease of price and increase of performance and since there is no signs of slowing down that trend will continue exponentially. If you really think about it we are already developing early signs of telepathy. Telepathy is transmission of information between people without physical interaction so one could suggest that by installing WiFi on airplanes not only are we able to fly but also simultaneously communicate telepathically.

We have always been on the journey of expanding our sphere of possibility. From the first moment man picked up a stick and used it to knock down a piece of fruit from a really high tree we have used our tools to improve our lives. We developed the wheel, we developed written word thereby saving our conscious thoughts for later without the worry we would never be able to recall those thoughts again. We developed flight from wooden airplanes into flight to distant planets. We are using these tools to extend our reach and at the same time extending who and what we are. Even now as you sit in front of your computer or cell phone you are accessing this global community through the internet and learning things that before may have been out of reach. All these innovations have come from groups of people coming together and developing these works through shared passions. Now with the emergence of internet the distance and time between these minds becomes somewhat irrelevant.We are no longer bounded by our physical bodies to create these new ideas and innovations.

The levels of untapped potential that still exists amazes me. Five years ago I laughed at the the thought of a camera phone and now you can't find a phone without a camera (a nice one at that). The development of these new technologies is revealing never before experienced opportunity for creation and expression. Through all the trials of your everyday life keep in mind we are moving through the age of technology and into the age of intuition. There has never been a more exciting time to be alive.