Well, the time has finally come. After months and months of preparing, packing, avoiding all questions about starting a blog, and becoming quite the expert at selling things on craigslist, here we are. Tomorrow my best friend Jeff and I will be fulfilling a longtime dream of ours and heading South from Pennsylvania by car to begin a roadtrip around the country. We have some amazing friends and family members along the way who have agreed to take us in and show us the best their towns have to offer. We’re also greatly looking forward to camping in some of the most majestic parks in the world once we get out West.
I’ve never been much of a writer at any point in my life, but I am excited for this new opportunity to keep a log of our trip. I can’t predict how often I’ll be updating things here but hopefully I’ll be able to put together some worthy photos, stories, and insights from every destination we hit. We have gotten some great suggestions of sights to see, restaurants to hit, and activities to try, but we are always looking for more ideas so any comments or emails are more than welcome!
As for this first post, I’ll take a brief moment to give some explanation as to the name I’ve settled on for the blog. It comes from the the last few lines to the titular Intro track to Common’s 2005 album Be. The project, produced almost entirely by Kanye West, is one of my all-time favorites and one that is still surprising me years after my first listen. Kanye sets the album off on an amazing start with a few lonely notes from an upright bass before slowly layering in the keyboard, piano, and finally the Albert Jones sample and drums. A minute into the album you’re already uplifted and immersed in a world of rich instrumentation before even hearing Common’s voice. Once Common does come in, he’s at his poetic finest, taking the track’s final minute to set up each of the themes to be discussed throughout the album. The last few lines, shown in bold below, reveal Common’s motivation for the album’s title and have also consistently provided me with a concise mantra for a mindful existence.
Explored the world to return to where my soul begun
never looking back, or too far in front of me
the present is a gift, and I just want to BE
As I embark on this next journey in life, I hope to keep this philosophy in mind at all times. Each of our personal pasts have provided us with experiences and learning opportunities that have gotten us to where we are today in the world. Despite this, worrying about or over-analyzing past events in our lives is often a futile exercise. The past as it exists in our mind is a messy collage of fuzzy memories and emotions that have been reassembled and reinterpreted over the years. And while the future is a blank canvas full of infinite possibility, it will never materialize in exactly the way we imagine it. All we are guaranteed in this life is the eternal present, which is constantly changing and full of unique beauty and opportunity at every turn. With that said, I look forward to sharing my upcoming experiences through this platform and also making a dedicated effort myself to always BE HERE NOW.
Until next time..
(Huge thank you to Nicole Murray for the amazing image from our Grand Canyon trip in November 2013, which might just have to be the subject of a whole blog post itself someday…)