The 3 F words

Now I know what some people will think when they hear the “F word”… but thats not what I want to talk about. I am talking about “Food, Faith and Forgiveness”

This last weekend I had the great honor of accompanying a friend to a Thai Buddhist Temple where on Sundays they host a Market. The Wat Mongkolratanaram Buddhist Temple is located in Tampa, about an hour away from me, this was my first trip to a Thai Buddhist temple.

The Sunday market is an amazing experience filled with tastes and smells that can only be described as mind blowing. From khao tom mat (a delicious sticky rice and wanna dessert wrapped in a banana leaf) to the aroma of the curries and pad Thai station. The flavors were enough to transport my taste buds the nine thousand odd miles to Thailand. Every. Single. Thing. I ate was incredible. I was happy dancing my way through all the food. Sadly some things I ate before I could take a photo…oops.

Between the multiple trips to buy food, we visited the temple, that brings me to the second “F word”… Faith.

The feeling of being in such a sacred location is truly humbling, I am very open minded with faith, I will never judge someone based on what they believe and who or what they worship. There are 4200 religions across the globe… THAT IS CRAZY. But true faith is so powerful, it helps people deal with their lives, gives them hope and leads them to bettering themselves. How is that a bad thing?… now of course there are extremists, but that is not what I am here to talk about. In my eyes everyone deserves respect and everyone, no matter your background can learn so much from one anothers faiths and beliefs.

Love and kindness is pretty universal. Sadly we missed hearing the monks chanting (thats on the list for the next trip), but I witnessed multiple people entering the temple to pray. There was a grandmother who was teaching her grandson (who was maybe 3 years old) how to pray. He was absorbing every word she was saying and copying her every move, it was clear he idolized her.

During our time in the temple there was a guest speaker who was giving a general overview of the Thai Buddhist religion, he was very focused on Forgiveness, and how practicing forgiveness is better for your mental health, it prevents you from holding onto negative energy and any ill will you could feel towards someone else.

Which if you really think about it, we all do this, when someone upsets us or wrongs us… we hold onto it, we don’t forgive and forget we focus on it and that can really bring us down. It was something I had never thought about. How many times did I find myself in a bad mood because of someone else actions and behavior? how often did I let this have a knock on effect this have for the rest of my day?

Forgivness shouldn’t only be something we do for others… but it should be something we practice on ourselves, we should forgive ourselves for our past…forgive ourselves for the negative things that have happened and move on. We are not the same person we were back then, every moment teaches us something… any mistakes we make should be forgiven.

Let go of the negative and treat yourself with the Love, kindness and respect… find joy in every day and spread that to everyone you interact with.

Adventure awaits?

I have spent years day dreaming about the different adventures that are out in the world. The cultures, the religions, the architecture and life styles that every country has to offer… How much this could open someones mind and change their life.

I dream of walking dirt roads, climbing mountains, sleeping under the stars, trying flavors that dance on your tongue and explode your tastebuds. Seeing the aurora borealis and riding a boat through the floating markets in Thailand.

“Because in the end, you won’t remember the time spend working in the office or mowing the lawn. Climb that goddam mountain”-Jack Kerouac.

This April i turned 30. I am not sad about this but i have found myself reflecting on that last 10 years of my life. Have I really used those years the best way? They say that your “20’s” are your years to be care-free and travel the world, try new things and make mistakes… but i am starting to wonder whether that is true any more.

Living in the USA has taught me that there are many people who don’t travel… mostly because of financial reasons. You finish high school, you go to off to university to earn a degree in a subject that you pick at 18 years old… that will lead you into a career that you (At that age) think will be the dream job. A few years later you step out of university with an absurd amount of debt,(The average USA student loan debt is around $40,000). So now you are 24-25 years old with $40,000 dollars in debt and you are expecting to get a job in the field you have just spent the last 7 years studying for. Well you have to pay the debt back somehow, so you take a job doing what ever you can so you can start paying back the loans… which could take at least 10 years depending on living expenses (Rent, Car loans, Credit Cards-LIFE). So now you are 35 years old….with no student debt woohoo! But you met your person, and now you want to finally buy that house that you have been trying to save for, you sign on for a 30 year mortgage, putting you at 65 years old by the time your house is paid for… Where did your 20’s, 30’s,40’s, 50’s and even your 60’s go…

I know i am being dramatic, of course there are people who take gap years and travel, or make enough money to vacation when ever they want…but is this really the adventure we all dreamt of when we were kids?

Growing up in the UK until i was 18, it was common for my friends to plan to travel, go to Rome, Paris, back packing through asia, I mean it makes sense… once you get into Europe you an get pretty much anywhere. I don’t blame my lack of passport stamps on moving to the US, not at all.  life just happens…

There are 195 countries in the world, and each one of those breaks down into bustling cities of hundreds of thousands of people to tiny villages of barely 100 residents. Every where you will find people who are experiencing the same feelings of wanderlust, the urge to be anywhere but where you “are”. Some people say that its just the urge to run away… i disagree… Wanderlust is the urge to explore, run free and roam! experience new things and jump head first into the world around you. There is so much more to life than waiting for the next milestone, your 40th birthday, 50th birthday, 60th birthday and so on. What if the next milestone you were heading towards was a physical milestone, a physical sign telling you “Welcome to India”. But alas for now, this is all a dream. Something i keep in my back pocket, that i can mentally unfold and look at and say “One day”