Father’s Day has come and passed. Sitting on the other side of the world, I started to think about how my father has affected not only my personal development, but my deep-seeded wanderlust. While lots of people think that their Dad is the best, mine is actually the best. He’s supportive, loving, and lots of fun. He is curious about the world, the life of any party, and has a magnetic personality that allows him to befriend everyone (and I mean everyone) he meets. He is the kind of guy that can turn any menial task into an adventure, which is why he probably ended up with two really adventurous daughters.
It’s this adventurous spirit that has given us the chance to explore giant waterfalls in Iceland, dine on delicious food all over Portugal, and take road trips through East Europe together. I owe a lot of my traveling spirit to my Dad and he has taught me a lot, not only about travel but about life in general. For his birthday, I thought I would share some of the greatest lessons I’ve learned as a traveler from having him as a father.
Be Fiercely Adventurous
He shares my love for exploration, both near and far. While I think I took it up a few notches, I like to think I got my adventurous side from my dad. Instead of fearing the unknown, he embraces it. As I kid I remember our adventurous 4am trips to the Shuttle launch, impromptu fishing trips, and thrilling rides on his motorcycle. He has taught me that it doesn’t matter where you are, life is an adventure if you make it one.
Stay Unabashedly Curious
The greatest thing about travel is learning about how people live around the world. It doesn’t matter if it’s in the nail salon next door to his house, an Eskimo in Alaska, or a cab driver in Austria, he’s going to ask you questions about your life. He loves to connect with people and find out more about a culture through their stories. He and I share a passion for photography and he’s taught me that through this creative outlet I can find the beauty of a person or place from behind the lens, something that has really improved my travel experiences as an introvert.
Say “Yes!” To Adventure
His love for trying new things is a blessing and a curse. If I just text or email him an idea, article, or even the name of a country his immediate response is “Let’s do it!”. No joke, he has jumped on the idea of traveling to countries he’s never even heard of. This is certainly an aspect of my personality that I got from my father, an eagerness to say “Yes!” to adventure. As my travels grow in number past my father, it is to my delight that I am able to introduce him to new countries and experiences.
Roll With The Punches
What he’s taught me throughout these tough moments is that you have to keep going and finding the good things that make life worth living. Unequivocally this has affected my travel personality because so much of travel does not go how you’ve planned it. When he almost got pick pocketed in Lisbon and got hopelessly lost on Madeira Island, he laughed it off. This has transcended into other aspects of my life, teaching me the hard lesson of learning to let go of the idea that you can control any situation and that really, only have two choices in life – make best of it or don’t. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard him quote John Lennon, “Life is what happens when you’re busy making other plans.”
Have A Good Time
Ask anyone that has met my Dad and they will tell you – he knows how to have a good time. With more energy than a 21-year-old, he passionately loves life. He has taught me that both in life and travel your attitude is everything and with the right outlook, anything can be interesting in fun. His vibrant personality is contagious and perfect for creating memories that last a lifetime.
Don’t Be Afraid To Look Silly
My Dad is certainly not afraid to be silly. This has been a tough lesson for me to learn, as I typically shrink from interactions that would probably be good for me (which he would capitalize on when I was a kid and think was hilarious). He’s taught me that dancing to music in your head, cracking up at your own jokes, and generally not giving a crap what people think about you is an essential skill to master that will make your life (and travel experiences) just that much easier.
Know That It’s OK To Not Know What You’re Doing
I remember when I wanted to move to London without a job, place to live, and had zero experience of being in a foreign country. It was right after I spent 2 years grueling over a Master’s degree where I was planning to become a therapist in Florida. I also remember living in New Zealand and feeling mentally exhausted, ready to pack my bags and come home and feeling super guilty about being ungrateful for giving up a huge opportunity I was given. Through these bumps in the road, he’s always encouraged me to understand the power of knowing when it’s time to change direction, that life is a series of chapters and that making a change doesn’t equal failure – it means you’ve been courageous enough to try. This type of encouragement has led me to adventures around the world, giving me the confidence to take risks that have led to many successes throughout my life.
Just Take The Leap
Every crazy idea I’ve had, from quitting jobs to moving to one of the 6 countries I’ve lived in – he has without a doubt always listened, supported, and even enthusiastically encouraged me to take the leap. One of the greatest lessons he has instilled in me is how important it is to be true to yourself. While other’s may not understand the crazy unconventional life I’ve chosen, he has shown me that I will only be happy in this short journey we call life if I stay true to my heart and open myself up to new experiences.
Appreciate The Opportunities You’ve Been Given
Without a doubt, the greatest lesson he has taught me is to appreciate the life I have been given and that traveling around the world is a privilege – not a right. Not everyone has the opportunity to do what I do and I must be grateful for these experiences. He has always challenged me to make the absolute most of my life, which has forced me to really dig deep and reflect on what is really important.
If you can’t tell, I feel genuinely lucky to have this super cool cat as my Dad. He has been a great role model throughout my life and I look forward to the many more adventures in the future. Happy Birthday, Papa Lake! xo