I have a theory that humans have 2 hands so occasionally, when feeling especially badass, we can high-five ourselves. So on a cheerier note than my last post, here are the top 5 highlights, aka the “High-Five” from this project so far:
I recently discovered geocaching thanks to 1 of the geekier but also awesomer adventurers in my life, and was completely blown away by it, so much so that I added a full-day outing to my list. According to the site: “Geocaching is the real-world treasure hunt that’s happening right now, all around you. There are 2,210,633 active geocaches and over 6 million geocachers worldwide.” OK, When I found out there has been a real-world treasure hunt going on all around me, for over a decade, without my knowing about it, I knew I had to change that. Like, instantly. So I went on my very 1st cache, in the company of a good friend who doubles as my geocache & all things geek spirit guide. Even though it took us all of 15 minutes to find, the hunt was everything I hoped it would be, and more. As I say in my geocaching profile – which, yes, I created almost immediately after learning about this phenomenon: “Knowing that there are millions of little treasures thoughtfully hidden throughout the world for others to find restores my faith in humanity, so I am excited to get involved in the global geocaching community and make every day an adventure!”
The 1st cache we found blew my expectations away. It was hidden beneath the skirt of a light pole (which, by the way, I didn’t even know was a thing) and included a replica gold bar and tiny capsule containing a scroll to sign. I can’t think of a time recently that I felt so alive, so connected to all the other people who had already been there and/or would be there someday, and so much like a little friggin’ kid. The experienced sparked my imagination, sense of wonder, playfulness – all the things we forget to prioritize as adults. Not only was the experience itself awesome, but after I logged my find online, I got the following, personalized, heartfelt message from the geocacher who hid it:
“Welcome to geocaching! Congratulations on finding your first cache! I read your statement on your geocaching profile page and I love the idea of your Someday File…I think in geocaching there are many folks with similar goals and interests as yours. You have expressed this eloquently. In geocaching, every day truly is an adventure, and meeting the folks involved is such a wonderful aspect of the game. I hope you find many more caches, and I hope you will attend some of the local geocaching events so we can all meet you. Happy hunting, happy dreaming, and best wishes with your goals and projects.”
This is when it really clicked for me. This is a community. The world is small. People are good. Life is amazing. That things like geocaching, couch-surfing, improv everywhere, freecycle, exchange programs, and all forms of community organizing exist make me feel better about being human. So, someday should, could, and will have a lot more things like this.
Seeing a Live Rock/Blues Show & Realizing My Family Is Cool (#18)
This item was crossed off on 8.20.13 when I saw The Allman Brothers Band play the Chicago Theater, and my heart is still beating to the music. (Specifically to the sound of Derek Trucks absolutely killing it on the guitar, but that’s another post for another day.) It was one of the greatest live shows I’ve ever seen, in an iconic venue, and in the company of 3 of my favorite people in the world. So here is what I learned from this experience: Good live music is powerful. I may have been born in the wrong era. And my Uncle Bob is cool. I sort of knew this growing up, because he let us stay up late, encouraged us to jump on the bed, ordered us crappy pizza or Chinese takeout, and bottom line, he took me to see Jurassic Park when it first came out in theaters, earning him permanent and irreversible cool status to any 90’s era kid, no take backs. However, I now appreciate Uncle Bob as an adult, which takes his coolness to a whole other level. Not only that but his wife is cool too. He married his high-school sweetheart, and they have been so much more than extended family to me and my brother. Uncle Bob & Aunt Cathy have always been inner circle, seeing us through everything, treating me as the older daughter they never had, talking to us like adults even when we don’t act like it, and doing it with love, humor, patience, and now that we are of age, the occasional alcoholic beverage. And on top of that, they are just cool people, and not cool by aunt and uncle standards, but by human standards. My aunt did not stop rocking (or dancing) the entire show, especially when Revival came on. This was one of those magical nights you remember for a lifetime, and I am so glad I added it to my list!
“Live Free or Die”
Who would have guessed that of all places, New Hampshire would have the greatest motto of all 50 states. All I can say about this right now is that I recently took an unexpected, potentially life-changing trip and got to cross item #21 off my list as a result. It was amazing to see an area of the country I had not yet explored – especially from 30,000 feet up in a 6-seater airplane, hear stories about life in the Upper Valley – an area I knew nothing about before arriving there, and watch hikers as they made their way down the Appalachian Trail, the whole time wondering where they had been and what brought them to the trail in the first place. It was a whirlwind trip, but I can say I did it, and hope to cross other states off the list this year as well.
Practicando Hablar Español Con Amigos Nuevos de Todo el Mundo (#25)
At different points in my life, I thought I might major in Spanish, study abroad in Central America, or pick up and move to a Spanish-speaking country on a whim. I have done none of those things. (Yet.) I added practicing Spanish to my list because learning the Spanish language and culture is something I used to find really energizing and animating, so I hoped to re-ignite that spark while starting “una amistad” and sharing “muchas risas” with a language practice partner. I created a profile on Conversation Exchange this morning, and already received 11 requests from potential Spanish-English language practice partners in Colombia, Canada, Chile, Mexico, Spain (Castellano, Andalucia, & Barcelona), and even 1 right here in Chicago. I am amazed, yet again, at how small our world really is. The messages were unbelievably heartfelt and centered around our authentic, shared desire to learn. To learn another language, yes, but also another culture, someone else’s story, etc. Someone sent me a link to their favorite “canción” with the lyrics in English so I could follow along and learn. Another person actually read parts of this blog & commented on my list, saying: ” I’d love to help you with #25, so let me know if you’re interested as well. Though I’d rather meet over a cup of coffee, Chicago isn’t exactly round the corner. Hence, unless you cross #3 and pop up in Spain somewhere near my hometown, e-mail and Skype are the best options available.” Another person who responded said it beautifully: “I think that meeting people is a good way to learn other ways of life.” I could not agree more, and am looking forward to sharing someday – or “algún día” with my amigos nuevos del todo el mundo!
Demonstrating Some Stick-to-it-ive-ness
The final highlight is that I am actually keeping this project going and actively engaging in the process. I am doing what I said I would do (DWYSYWD), choosing my own adventure, reflecting on failures while celebrating successes, laughing with myself, learning from myself, and making friends along the way. I know that no matter what happens going forward, I am already better for having started this project and sticking with it. And that deserves a high-five, so good thing I have 2 hands.