Learning from Marco Polo and 2 Guys from New York
If you are following along at home we are two weeks out from the Old Man’s back surgery. It is not an understatement to say that both the Old Man and I had very different expectations from this surgery than the reality of the situation. The last back surgery which was a “smaller” surgery and the doctors were all shocked with how fast the Old Man recovered from it. (something we didn’t remember until this week), this one not so much of either of those things. Not to mention a body that is five years older.
After a good tongue lashing from his surgeon’s RN for doing way too much way too soon we decided that another weekend at home resting and icing was in order. Resting and icing in this house means a lot of Amazon and Netflix. Willing his trip to Mongolia into fruition the Old Man had queued up a lot of documentaries on Mongolia. He also has quite a few on wine, homesteading, and living off the grid, thankfully I was able to avoid most of those.
The Old Man had queued up the documentary, “In the Footsteps of Marco Polo”, not quite all about Mongolia, but close enough and the summary sounded pretty interesting We opened a bottle of wine and hit play. I must say this documentary was not quite what I expected and had both the Old Man and myself wondering what we were doing with our lives as well as having us screaming “WHAAAAAT” quite a bit.
The amazing part of this documentary was the two men who made it were just two regular early thrity New Yorkers living their life. They were not affiliated with any museums, university, or any way associated with a historical or scientific community. They were just returned home vet and a wedding photographer who decided after reading through the travels of Marco Polo that they would spend two years following the footsteps of Marco Polo from his own words.
I won’t go into too much detail about the actual documentary, you can watch it on your own, but these guys got into some crazy situations and made it out of them alive and with great stories. The lesson I think both the Old Man and I walked away with from this documentary is that you make life what you want. These guys were just two ordinary guys one who loved travel so much that he sold most of his belongings to travel alone before this trip. One was making a good living photographing weddings in New York that decided to set out on this crazy adventure with very little money and almost zero sponsorship, they were just doing it for the love of adventure and a desire to see the world.
I feel like many times in my life I have been caught up in the expectations of others, or even stories I have told myself are true. Things such as: “you are too old for that dream”, “you should save your money for retirement.”, “I have too many responsibilities to do X”, etc. I am sure you know what I mean maybe you have a few of your own that stop you from doing things in your life. Maybe it is stopping you from going back to school because you are too old, or maybe it is stopping you from travel a trip aboard because that money could be better invested into your retirement (don’t get me started on this, that is another blog), maybe what is really stopping you is your fear of not being the best of whatever you try on your first go around. Spoiler alert no one is an expert on the first try! (this is a lesson I have a hard time learning so if this is you call me we will start a club).
Don’t get me wrong I know there are real things responsibilities that can hinder you, these gentlemen could take a two year journey because they were unmarried, no kids, and in reality in a very fluid period of their life where traveling for two years would only cost them the time and a little money. If you have kids, wives, husbands, heck even furry kids life isn’t so easy to walk away from and start over. But those things are also not chains around your neck stopping you from being the best you can at the place you are in your life. Maybe you can’t walk away from your life for two year to travel the globe, but I bet you can plan a road trip with your family during summer vacation where you enjoy the trip more than the destination. Trust me when I say there are a ton of things you can do on a road trip that you will never see while flying.
Maybe you can’t go back to school full time because you enjoy eating and paying your rent, but I am guessing you can take one class. MIT (EdX) (there others as well) offers free classes if you want to just dip your toe into a subject without any commitment. Maybe you sign up for Masterpass so you can learn about writing from a published author and then another class on wine or even BBQ.
With a lot of time just hanging out and recovery the humans in this household have had time to sit down and figure out that some of the limitations we feel we have, have been placed on us by our own minds and well some have been placed on us by our bodies. The real lesson is neither of those limitations are permanent and like most things in life just passing through, the body will heal return to a new normal, the mind is the bigger obstacle.
I would recommend the documentary we watched it is pretty cool and amazing what the guys do to get through the whole journey. I would also recommend assessing what is holding you back real or imagined from being the you want to be, I know I have been ever since the show ended.
If you watched the show let me know what you think.