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I Wanted To Touch That Dead Armadillo. Badly.

I have a hot temper fueled by a healthy dose of righteous indignation.

Recently, while navigating my wife and son through Midway airport, I took the time to get in a stranger’s face about how rude and overly aggressive they were being. And when they didn’t immediately back down (which, honestly, I expected they would) things got loud in a hurry.

While trekking through eerie Mirkwood forest, Bilbo Baggins and his dwarven companions, beset by exhaustion and hunger, strayed off the path chasing food and merry music despite repeated warnings to never do so. They didn’t find comfort, but instead spent weeks in an elven dungeon before they found their path again.

There will always be unexpected obstacles, setbacks and distractions on our journey. Why create more?

When I was a kid and I wanted to touch a dead armadillo (yes, more than once) my dad would yell, “You don’t need that!”  That’s one thing. But getting in a stranger’s grill because I feel justified in doing so? Not on the agenda for the day. “You don’t need that!” So why bother?

To hate is to show you still care. Who needs that? Focus on what’s really important.” 
Henry Rollins

I clearly have some baggage (the need to publicly correct an asshole) that distracted me from my mission (getting my boy to grandma’s house). What if airport security had gotten involved and we missed our flight? Grandma would be pissed! I’d rather spend a month in an Elven dungeon.

Pack your bags, sharpen your sword and STAY ON THE PATH!

If it’s not Mission Critical, don’t even bother. Seriously, leave that dead armadillo alone.



Hustle on without it.

I’ve been obsessed, as of late, with light and efficient packing. I even follow a blog or two dedicated to the subject. Embarrassingly, I caught myself window shopping for an ultra-light, waterproof rucksack with a several hundred-dollar price tag attached. WHAT IS WRONG WITH ME?! Oh, yeah, here’s what: A lot of my travel is with my wife and son. Flying with a toddler requires many accoutrements; bag of toys, travel crib, car seat, etc. Many airlines are now charging between $25 and $100 to check bags, depending on the number and weight of your suitcases. 

To keep costs down and save wear and tear on my rapidly aging back – I do a lot of editing as I pack. But that’s only for the outbound flight. I have to plan way ahead for the return flight, too, because once we get to grandma’s every cubic centimeter of empty suitcase space is filled with new toys, books, and clothes. Grandmas love grandbabies. Outlet malls love grandmas.

I take great pride in the fact that solo business trips now need only a backpack and noise-cancelling headphones. Light, fast, and free.

It was difficult for me to learn that to move on to a new place in my life, I had to leave crap behind.

Especially if I wanted to pick up souvenirs! For me to get from there to here required me to unpack my old self-image, prejudices, and long-held (and often just plain wrong) beliefs. Not everything stays behind. But it all gets taken out and examined. What will I really need? What will I hustle more easily without? Wherever you are headed, you’re going to need some room for all your awesome new experiences and ideas! TAKE ONLY WHAT YOU NEED.

If you had to make an emotional bug out kit to start all over, unknown, in a new and exciting place – what would you bring?

More importantly, what will you leave behind?

– Jay



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