Don’t Panic!

image

Hello, Bonjour,

Something I’ve been saying a lot the last few hours as I try to get adjusted to the cultural and language difference here in Madagascar. I use the word “try” because it has definitely felt like work for me.

Air travel by myself was the easy pert, very little language barrier anywhere, excellent hospitality and even better, a ton of room on the flights. Upon my arrival in Antananarivo, however, I had an astonishing realization. This was the first time in my life where I have really felt alone. I have no one travelling with me (yet) and I have a bit of a language barrier, not to mention how overwhelmingly different life is here.

I’ve watched documentaries and television programs about parts of the world similar to this, but have only ever traveled in “first world” nations. Once the initial uneasiness wears off I’m excited to explore some of the many tastes and sights of this country but for now I can’t help but miss home a little bit.

After spending the last few months with intense support and love shown to me by so many amazing people in my efforts to make this journey to Madagascar possible, I’m now on the opposite corner of the world feeling very opposite emotions. I’ve been in this country less than 12 hours and I already miss my family, miss Eric, miss my friends and wish my goodbye hugs were longer

The good news is, this will pass, not the missing of people, but the feeling of loneliness. It’s been a big realization for me how much I depend on my relationships with people, but maybe took that dependence for granted more than I thought. I may be in Madagascar away from everything I know but I am so very excited about the opportunity to keep in touch with all of you via my updates.

One of my good friends said to me before I left, “You get the opportunity to head on a journey that many of us won’t often get the opportunity to do, but it feels like we all get the chance to go with you.” This is something i remind myself of constantly, thinking of all of you alongside me. The picture at the top of the post was taken in the Johannesburg airport and I thought it’s words fit perfectly with the sentiment of this post.

I feel as though I’m in process similar to those at one of the personal development workshops or camps I frequently volunteer at. Being put in a place of emotional and physical vulnerability to be able to release stuff I’ve been holding on to, and rebuild. I guess this is necessary work if I plan to be fully present for the next 2 months of being here.

Sending a TON of love and gratitude your way and I’m looking forward to the next update!!

(Update: I went into the city today to explore for a few hours on my own. The taxi driver I was with decided to put on music, and I smiled, was thrilled, and put to ease as one of my favorite songs came on, putting to music exactly what I needed to hear. See Below. )

Advertisements

We Are Active Participants

“When it comes down to it, it’s pretty simple. Adventure is what you make it. And whether it’s the travel, the discovery, or just the feeling of letting go, the only way we will ever find out is to get out there and do it. Enjoy the ride.” – Travis Rice

7 days from now, I’ll be boarding an airplane and heading to Madagascar, and I’m reminded of how quickly time does indeed fly. This trip is something that as been on my heart for 3 years, always rolling in the back of my head. It seems like just yesterday when I shared with the world my decision to head to the opposite side of the world to do volunteer work there that means a lot to me, and my need for support in order to get there.

These last few months have been some of the most humbling, heart opening, and also celebratory months of my life. Witnessing just how much we are all part of a global community, and we want to see nothing but the best for one another and that the experiences we all have are affecting those that bear witness to them. It’s the reason we become so upset by death, destruction, famine or injustice but it’s also the reason we smile with playful children, cheer for an athlete and watch uplifting videos and photos shared through social media. We see a little bit of our own personalities, relationships and experiences in the faces and lives of other people (and animals/environment) and it’s what makes us all interconnected.

When I started fundraising for my trip to Madagascar, I had to move through many feelings of guilt. Why would people want to donate money so I can head to the other side of the world? The answer, I thought, was that I simply need to provide them with value so it becomes worth what they donate, so I came up with as many “rewards” for donating as possible. I felt this was the best way to create value that was budgetable for me in exchange for money. These rewards are fun and many people were excited about them, but i learned something else through this process…..

I was able to learn exactly what was valuable to people. By speaking what was on my heart about this trip, the work I wanted to do and why this was so important to me…..people wanted to show support regardless. I found 2 important lessons for myself through this experience. One, that we are supported. Each one of us has support systems in our lives (whether we are aware of it or not) that see the best in us and want to help support us to see the best in ourselves. The second is that everything we do and say has an affect, and it’s up to us to choose the type of affect we wish to have on the world.

The Most Astounding Fact.....

The Most Astounding Fact…..

We are all members of a global community and what we put in is what we get out. This is karma. Many treat the idea of karma as a points system rather than the enlightenment that an individual knows what they contribute has an effect, and that effect can come full circle. This is one of the reasons that the work that I do with my Mom’s workshops, because it teaches us that we all have a role to play in this world and no matter how big or small that role is, it is important to the successes of the globe as a whole and it doesn’t matter if it’s scrubbing toilets, making airplanes, painting or passing bills.

Through this knowledge, I feel as if I have found new value in the experiences I’ll be having and it makes me all the more excited to share those experiences with all of you through photography and through this blog.

The next time you’ll hear from me I may be in a different country, experiencing new sights, sounds and people but it will still feel like home…I’ve simply entered a new room…..I’ll be back for dinner. 😛

Until one is committed, there is hesitancy….

“But when I said that nothing had been done I erred in one important matter. We had definitely committed ourselves and were halfway out of our ruts. We had put down our passage money–booked a sailing to Bombay. This may sound too simple, but is great in consequence. Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back, always ineffectiveness. Concerning all acts of initiative (and creation), there is one elementary truth the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: that the moment one definitely commits oneself, the providence moves too. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one’s favor all manner of unforeseen incidents, meetings and material assistance, which no man could have dreamt would have come his way. I learned a deep respect for one of Goethe’s couplets:

Whatever you can do or dream you can, begin it.
Boldness has genius, power and magic in it!”

W. H. Murray – The Scottish Himalaya Expedition, 1951

I lived a life without commitment for many years. I loved this life, because without commitment I had complete freedom, right? Nothing to bind me down. I was in control of everything that headed my way. I was also depressed. Why would freedom leave me depressed? That’s because I was ALIVE but had nothing to LIVE FOR.

Commitments allow us the opportunity to focus our energies and effectively create. They also allow us the opportunity to expand our comfort zones, forcing the trust that “I may not know exactly how this is going to play out but by committing to this goal I trust that the right opportunities will show up and I will take the initiative to seize those opportunities”

In Fact, the title of a book by Grace Cirocco comes to mind “Take The Step, The Bridge Will Be There.”

This blog is a commitment that I made. To effectively share the thoughts, insights and knowledge important to my life, with all of you. I made the commitment to myself that this would be something that I would update on at the very least, a weekly basis but my last update was over 2 weeks ago. Dos this means I’ve failed? No, I simply acknowledge it and step forward. Sometimes it’s about getting back on track with commitments, sometimes it’s about readjusting commitments so they better resonate and sometimes it’s about decommitting entirely because the commitment no longer holds relevance or has been completely lost sight of.

Ironically enough, the last post I did make on here that I mentioned above, was a post about fear.

Fear is probably one of the biggest things to prevent people from commitment. Fear for personal security, fear of lack of money, fear of a lack of control, the fear of failure and finally, the fear of the unknown. Fear is a great paralyzer, preventing people from doing things before they can get their feet on the ground. Think of a time when fear prevented you from pursuing something you were passionate about. It’s an experience many of us can relate to.

life-begins-at-the-end-of-your-comfort-zone

Take the time to see where commitment has shown up in your life, and what a game changer it was.

It’s also one of the biggest pieces of advice I give to people who come to me about relationship issues. Mutual commitment. Sometimes it looks like marriage, sometimes it looks like babies, sometimes it’s a pet, a shared living situation or sometimes it can be as simple as a vacation or the time you plan with one another. By creating a shared mutual commitment, it gives people in a relationship something they can work on together and bond over. It’s those shared experiences of building a life with one another that really create the relationship.

Same goes for individual experiences. Feeling uninspired and depressed? Think of one, just one thing that you have always wanted to do. Doesn’t have to be big, doesn’t have to change the world. It simply needs to be important to you and just big enough to put you out of your comfort zone for the purposes of expanding that comfort zone a bit more.

The reason I speak so heavily of commitment today, is because of a commitment I made a few months ago to head to Madagascar and volunteer with an amazing organization called Reef Doctor. Many of you know about this already, for those that don’t, check out my fundraising page, which talks about it a lot more in depth. This is an opportunity that I have been thinking about doing for almost 2 years, but always talked myself out of for a variety of reasons from financial ones, to personal health & security, to simply not thinking that I was worth this kind of experience. This was all stuff I had to work on with myself and take baby steps to work up to where I am now.

And where am I now? Well, this trip turn a major step last night when I made the big commitment of booking my flights. The reason this is a major step is for a few reasons. I haven’t reached my fundraising goal yet, which means I’m still short what I will need to afford other things for the trip, including the fee I have to pay to volunteer with reef doctor, vaccinations, visas and dive equipment. By making this commitment yesterday means there is no turning back now, it’s full steam ahead for the next month. A few years ago I may have been paralyzed with anxiety and fear stepping into this and although I am still a little uncomfortable now with how they next month may or may not look, I’m mostly excited about that discomfort and all the learning opportunities this whole experience will give me.

In fact, despite all I’ve talked about here, I think the great Jimmy Cliff said it best.

Much love,

-Drew