Tuesday, April 12, 2011

40,000 miles and a little bit wiser...

(Southeast Asia)

In the past 4 months, I have traveled over 40,000 miles, flown on 26 different airplanes, slept in 18 different hotel/bungalow locations, visited 6 countries, lived on 8 islands (walked around one), taken 16 ferry boat rides, and traveled 100’s of kilometers on a motorbike.



And yes, to a few people, it might have seemed a bit crazy for me to hop on yet another a plane a week later after returning from Indonesia and travel yet another 8,000 miles to  Miami, Florida to do a triathlon just a week after running a 2-week tour hosting 21 people in Thailand and Bali ....



And yes, even in the ridiculous hot and humid 90-degree Florida heat and being completely sleep deprived and jetlagged, I crossed the finish line with a smile on my face, not because I broke any records, but just because-I finished. And that was good enough for me. For now.



Nor do I think it is crazy that in 4 weeks time, I get on yet another plane for Greece to host another 2-week tour there before coming home to teaching creative writing to 40 eager middle-schoolers while working on a CD of original piano music...




And yup, you guessed it , I am yet on another plane in August  when I travel back to Greece to run another 2 week tour of the islands in hopes of continuing on to travel to Africa after that,.,,




Am I a bit crazy? perhaps ...

Does this all sound  glamorous ? maybe….

All the traveling a bit tiresome ? Absolutely….

Any regrets for any of these experiences ? Absolutely not…



This is just my life, plain and simple, and I feel a bit silly to even think of any of this info I just shared as any sort of "accomplishment" or that what I am sharing is of any interest to anyone....

But I do feel compelled to share.

And this is why...

All too often, friends either write or tell me in person why they are so inspired by how I am living my life. And while I am truly grateful and humbled by these these kind words and compliments, I am writing this little entry here to remind anyone who is reading this (and who may want "my life")
to please "love your life" first and foremost....

All I really have been doing thus far in my life is listening to what dreams I want to accomplish, what places in the world I want to see, and what sort of tests I want to put my mind, spirit and body through .....all the usual “stuff” that many of us often stop and think about, write about, and even sometimes manifest in our life…




You see,  I have always wanted to live a life of “no regrets” and this mantra stays with me almost daily as I make choices, often moment-to-moment, of what I want to do, where I want to go, and who I want to be with.

I say what I need to say , do what I say I am going to do, and try and make sure my “bucket list” continues to get “checked off” as often as I can.

We really don't have a lot of time to waste sweating the “small stuff”;  life is incredibly  short and transient and when one loses close friends and family, that phase of realizing mortality knocking at your door truly kicks in....

So after another 4 months of traveling throughout Southeast Asia and across the US and back, here are a few life lessons I would humbly like to pass on to anyone who is reading this :

-You will never find the "perfect place" or the "perfect life" until you find peace in yourself. Paradise is a state of mind; you can be living in a state of hell, even in the most beautiful part of the world.

“You can run, but you can’t hide” so take time to look inside and take care of what needs to be taken care of. Lord knows, I have had some pretty “dark” moments while being in some of the most beautiful idyllic places in the world. Nothing like having a good cry while watching a most beautiful sunset somewhere in the south of Thailand to remind you of how lonely life can feel sometimes when  you may be longing for someone  or some "thing" that is not there with you.



-Life is short- make your dreams happen now ; don’t wait till tomorrow, or next month or next year to start making them happen. Get the ball rolling now and do everything you possibly can to write “that list” and start checking it off as soon as possible

-Follow your bliss, the money will come…Do what you love and become the very best at whatever you do…integrate this passion into your daily life….and if you are loving what you do, I swear the money will come…

I am forever grateful that I still get to do things I love ( teach, play music, travel) and still get paid for it. I think this is what success is all about:  not how much you make with what you do, but how much you enjoy what you do while making it ...



-Simplify your life... "Less is more"....  truly it is…

I have found that living out of a simple carry-on bag for months at a time has proven to me that I am happiest when I have the least amount of “stuff” around me. This frees us all to be open to all the wonders of the world around us, including being able to take the time to meet some of the many amazing people that walk this planet with you.



-Continue to evaluate what is important in your life and make them your priority….

For me, the “biggies” in my life are: Family, friends, my health, the ocean, surrounding myself with children and animals,  exploring new and peaceful environments where I can rest and retreat, and continuing to nurture my creative spirit through music, theater, and the arts.

These “biggies’ have been pretty consistently around me throughout much of my life but as I travel more and more over the years, the concept of home, peace, close friends/family, and being close to the ocean have become more paramount.This is what fuels my soul, this is what fuels my creative fire.



-Life is all a choice. Never underestimate the power you have to create your destiny. It can all change overnight by you saying “yes, I will - and can..”  just do it...

-Last, but certainly not least:

 Live your life with as much daily gratitude and awareness as possible. Life is so much more "full" and fulfilling this way. Your eyes become open to so much more beauty and your heart becomes so much more ‘filled’ when you can appreciate the gifts in every moment in this “thing” we are given called “life”…



So, as I end this entry and yet another 4-month journey, I want to say thank you- plain and simple-to every single person who has crossed my path these past few months and put a smile on my face and in my heart. No souvenir can ever replace the gift of experience and friendships and for this reason alone, I feel like the richest person alive…



Until we all meet again….

5 comments:

Scott Little said...

Learned about your blog from Judi W. I'm her nephew, Scott. Haven't traveled quite as many miles as you this year, but pretty close. I've been to many of the same places as you this past year...Bali, Thailand etc. and share the same passion for life as you do. Check out my blog to see what I've been up to.

Anonymous said...

We brush paths with people every day but rarely do we happen upon authentic inspiration as with Melina. What a wonderful gift she is to the world!

BB Kim said...

I love your beautiful spirit. You remind me a lot of my sister, Tess. Thank you for sharing your stories and insight. I enjoy reading them.

Todd Wright said...

I retyped and printed this blog many months ago and have kept it hung next to my desk. A few have read and commented on the inspiration within; as I have read it many times when in need of inspiration.

Thanks you Melina!

melina said...

Thank you so much for your supportive words Todd; your comments just made my day...hope you are continuing to nurture that travel spirit in you as well ! :)