Monday, May 23, 2011

razor-sharp, broken-glass-like lava rock and bloodied feet.

"I think this is when most people give up on their stories.  They come out of college wanting to change the world, wanting to get married, wanting to have kids and change the way people buy office supplies.  But they get into the middle and discover it was harder than they thought.  They can't see the distant shore anymore, and they wonder if their paddling is moving them forward.  None of the trees behind them are getting smaller and none of the trees are getting bigger.  They take it out on their spouses, and they go looking for an easier story."
Donald Miller, "A Million Miles in a Thousand Years"

Korea was quite the adventure!  Jet lag is a bia. 

It's funny how it's these really small, every day life kind of things that we did were some of the most memorable.  One being the beauty of having time to read...and soak in the beauty of drinking a coffee being wide awake early in the morning and sit across from Justin in a coffeeshop.  I totally thrive on the dead time of vacations while sitting on an hour long subway ride, waiting in airports, and waking up to jet lag too early to adventure, but early enough to grab coffee and read.  

Korea's coffeeshops don't open until 8am.  Thus we found our nicely western Duncan Donuts to join us for an early morning cup-a-joe at 6:30am and READ.  Bam.


The book I had the pleasure of sharing my dead time with was A Million Miles in a Thousand Years by Donald Miller.  

And you really just need to read it.  And I'll probably be talking about it for the next year.  At least.  But, basically, in the end you realize that the life you're living is a story.  You can choose to make a good one or let it be empty.  Everyone can live a better story.  And needs to.  You only have one.

"We live in a world where bad stories are told, stories that teach us life doesn't mean anything and that humanity has no great purpose.  It's a good calling, then, to speak a better story.  How brightly a better story shines.  How easily the world looks to it in wonder.  How grateful we are to hear these stories, and how happy it makes us to repeat them."
D. Miller

And such little things, such small changes, can make it a better story. 

And so we went out with our couchsurfer on Jeju Island off the southern area of South Korea to go with him and his friends to skinny dip and drink wine.  Little did we know, though, that there'd be a Korean also there to light candles to float down the river, surrounding us, as we swam.  It was totally magical.

And we drank wine as we shivered later and lit more candles and talked for hours with our new friends (who became a new, driving inspiration in our lives).

 And when you decide to live a better story (because it's not just thinking you want to, it's consciously doing it, too) you have to let go of fears you have and just do it (my fear = crazy huge rocks in the random lake waters after a canoeing accident in the BWCA).  So we went out the next early morning and waded with some more new friends to an island off the island.  However, this involved a higher tide than expected and our bare feet waded on top of razor-sharp, broken-glass-like lava rock and had bloodied feet by the time we reached the island. 

"...But he wanted to answer my question, so he thought about it and said he didn't think we should be afraid to embrace whimsy.  I asked him what he meant by whimsy, and he struggled to define it.  He said that it's that nagging idea that life could be magical; it could be special if we were only willing to take a few risks."
D. Miller

And then we discovered the "beach" they loved, was indeed more sharper-than-nails lava rock....all over.  So at first we said..."ehhh...we're from ND and don't do the ocean much, so we might sit this out" as the waves crashed on hidden lava rock shelves they swam around.  But when you live a better story, you need to do some crazy things that make more memories more memborable.  So we swam in the coldest ocean I've been in, around the lava rock hiding in the ocean, trying to find places to jump in and out of.

And later on, we hiked to the top of more lava rock in a secluded ocean area.  And felt like warriors.

And maybe living a better story means occasional irresponsibility.  Such as a massive slab of bacon for dinner.  Nom.  Hello heart disease;)...and delicious.

And most of the stories that create your better story involve other people, not just sheer experiences.  Like staying up later than your body told you you could, playing Phase 10 with people you miss, drinking Korean soju, in a tiny dorm, and eating sugarized Pringles (korea = everything has sugar added...even corn dogs).

"When we look back on our lives, what we will remember are the crazy things we did, the times we worked harder to make a day stand out."
D. Miller

So much awesome.  In a strange way, I'm ready to be home, which isn't always the case.  But we returned to the Morken manor with new ideas and places to travel to next, whimsy things to make our days even more special, and a desire to not just wait for awesome things to come our way, but create them each day.

But, for now, I can't wait to get rid of the jet lag hazy dream-like feeling that persists...

2 comments (+add yours?)

HLK said...

Man, you look hot! And while traveling... that's darn impressive my dear! And your adventures and lava rocks well they are great additions to the Morken story.

I am typing this while my baby is laying on both arms. Bam. I'm impressed with this feat and wanted someone else to be too.

Linnea said...

HLK, I'm totally impressed.

Ash, you are the BOMB. Can I be you when I grow up? You are older than me right?