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Eyes Wide Open: No Need To Go ‘Round The World… 4 Adventures Right In Your ‘Hood

“Life is a daring adventure or nothing at all.” – Helen Keller

WELCOME AMY!! Hey all, say hello to our newest contributor, Amy Montalvo! You remember her from her Life Lessons a few weeks back. Anyway, I asked if she would contribute to GEM regularly and she agreed. Here is the first of her regular columns and don’t forget, you can see more on her site as well as follow her very exciting travels on Twitter.

Within the last several weeks, this fun and inspiring YouTube video has made the rounds on every form of social media. The idea behind it, as it was hash-tagged on Twitter, is to #makeitcount; it champions the idea of making your life count as much as possible. I think it spread so quickly for two reasons; first because it’s a fantastic whirlwind of a short story – it was amazing to see someone traveling the globe, seeing exotic places, and doing exciting things in just 10 days. And secondly, because we were living vicariously through this guy’s travels. And many of us would never do it.

Let’s be honest. If Nike gave you the money to travel around the world for 10 days, would you pick up and go? Would you throw some clothes in a bag, make sure to snag your toothbrush on the way out, and hop on the next plane out of town? As is often the case in life, there are limiting factors that keep us from becoming world adventurers. I bet you immediately thought of a thousand things that would keep you from hightailing it out of the country so you could lay eyes on the pyramids. Job, spouse, kids, money, pets, etc. Sure, we can all dream of this kind of exciting life, but reality often (always?) holds us firmly in place.

But here’s the catch: adventures don’t have to entail flying 14 hours to some exotic location. Making it count doesn’t mean you have to ride an elephant or work at a nonprofit in Africa or drink Chai tea in India or build a school in Thailand. There are adventures to be had at home, and there are tons of way to make your life count, if you’ll just take a moment to look around. So maybe try 1 of the following 4 things. Give it a shot, see what happens. Why not?


DO SOMETHING DARING: Sure, daring means different things for different people. I have a friend who was trying to shake things up and recently went skydiving. ***Important note: ‘daring’ doesn’t have to mean ‘extreme.’ What is daring for you? Joining a new club? Trying a new kind of food?  Signing up for a local race? Do it! Daring often means something that gets you out of your comfort zone. For me, daring has been anything from trying oysters for the first time to posing with monkeys and cobras in Morocco. Do your own form of daring!

DO SOMETHING DIFFERENT: Have your days fallen into a boring routine? Complacency can so easily take over our lives that we don’t even realize it until we’re in a rut. So, switch it up! Crazy busy all the time? Take some time for yourself. Go to the coffee shop after work and read a book. Spend some time writing in  your journal. Don’t go to that ‘normal’ dinner place. Talk to a new person at the bar instead of spending the whole night chatting with friends. Different is fun. Different is good.

DO SOMETHING THAT CHALLENGES YOU. That local race I just mentioned? Start training for one! Pick a fun run, like the Firefly 5k my friends and I recently did in Dallas! Or set a personal goal in the gym. What are you trying to achieve right now? How can you be a better person? Challenge yourself to do one good deed a day. Or make it a personal goal to say something encouraging or nice to 5 people every day. How can you develop those (hidden?) talents? Maybe sign up for a few classes you’ve always wanted to take! Everyone likes a good challenge. Set a goal, even a small one…tell people about it so you have some accountability… and achieve it!

DO SOMETHING THAT CHANGES YOU. If you have the opportunity, I will forever tell you to travel. I think travel is absolutely life-changing. But if you can’t, there are life-changing things to do at home too! Promise. One of the most rewarding things I’ve done in the past several years is to mentor a local middle school student.  It has been amazing to see him grow and develop – it makes me want to be a better example. And it only takes an hour a week! There are tons of ways you can donate your time and energy to those around you. Have clothes laying around in your closet that you never wear? Donate! Have a bit of extra time to spend with someone who’s lonely? Give! These efforts are never, ever wasted.

“In the end, it’s not the years in your life that count, it’s the life in your years.” –Abraham Lincoln

Life is now. Make it count.

What about you, are you the adventurous type or are you more the Terra Firma type? What do you tell your kids about adventures?


More from GEM:

Walk or Ride: Every Parent’s Dilemma

Perfect Parenting? Perfect Nonsense!

The GEM Debate: Is Abstinence Really Realistic?


Amy Montalvo is an entrepreneur, a journalist, and an avid sports fan. She’s based in the Dallas/Ft. Worth area, but tries to set up her ‘office’ in as many international locations as possible. She’s playing reporter, photographer, editor, writer, and producer at her company, ONEPASS Productions and loving every minute of it. She loves traveling, dancing, meeting new people, and catching up with old friends. She always wants more stamps in her passport but will forever remain Texas loud and proud.

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