Welcome to the weekly series on The Mad To Live: The Traveling Philosopher’s Roundtable. Each week a group of hand picked world-traveling, life-inspiring, dream-pursuing bloggers from all walks of life will share their personal opinions, stories and insights based on a question stemming from a quote,  event, video, photo, etc. They get 150 words to share something brilliant, and they always do.

This Week’s Roundtable Discussion: Message In A Bottle

Introduction: When I was in Vietnam I found an empty vodka bottle on a deserted beach I kayaked to in Ha long bay. I took that bottle back to my my little room where I then sat in the hamock overlooking the bay and I wrote out a message. I wrote a message of hope, lessons, and inspiration. I wrote about some mistakes I’ve made and some things I’ve learned. I did my best to share a piece of the wisdom I seek to gain each day. Later on I threw the message in a bottle over the edge of our boat, hoping it’d get caught in a current and end up on the coastline of some other continent at the right time for the right person.

I suppose it was an attempt to leave a thumb print on the world in a smaller way. I’ll never know if it will wind up in the hands of someone that could use it, but I like to think it will.

The Discussion: There’s something profound and inspiring about the mystery of a message in a bottle. What answers does it hold? What stories does it tell? Who is it from and what inspired them to leave what is inside?

American short story teller and novelist, John Updike, once told us, “You cannot help but learn more as you take the world into your hands. Take it up reverently, for it is an old piece of clay, with millions of thumbprints on it.

What thumb print would you wish to leave on a stranger’s life? If you could share one life lesson from your travels knowing fully well that someone on the other side of the world would one day be strolling along the coastline and come across it, what story and lesson would you choose to share? Let’s also say that whatever it is you’ve written is exactly what they’ve needed to hear at that very moment based on the specific things going on in their own life. What would your message in a bottle say?

Roundtable Discussion:

Jen Saunders of Smiling Heart Just Say YES.

The most important lesson I have learnt on my journey, from the moment we decided to move to the other side of the world, to the day we landed in China, and everything that has happened since, is to say “Yes” to everything.

Trying to resist the things that happen in life, because they don’t fit in with your plans, ideas or preconception of what your life is “supposed” to be like, makes you miss the beautiful synchronicity of the Universe.

As clichéd as it may sound, everything really does happen for a reason – even if it doesn’t seem like it at the time.

If you put your trust in life, believe that you are exactly where you need to be, and embrace it instead of fight it, you might be amazed at how perfectly the things you hadn’t planned lead you to something even better.   -Just say YES.-

Srinivas Rao of The Skool Of LifeIt’s the Journey. Not the Destination.

It’s simple. It says all the answers lie within you. Our travels are often the byproduct of the search for something, peace, happiness, love, etc, etc. It tells stories of falling in love, finding peace, and finding happiness throughout the course of a journey. However, ultimately all journeys end, so we must find all these things within ourselves.

Some people will settle for average rather than risk being extraordinary because they fear failure so much. Don’t be one of them. Sometimes the unexpected or unplanned destination is the one that will have the most profound impact on your life. Say yes when you might have considered saying no and it may set you on an course or lifelong journey of joy and bliss.

Amanda Williams of Dangerous-Business. The Leap Of Faith.

People often ask me how I did it. How I up and moved to New Zealand for five months without knowing a single soul there. It was just me, my two overweight suitcases, and my sense of adventure.

Sure, there were reservations: What if I hated Wellington? What if I didn’t make any friends? What if I ran out of money and didn’t get to travel at all. Being thousands of miles away from home can really exacerbate these sorts of worries.

But I tell the people that ask me this that my decision to go to New Zealand is kind of like bungy jumping (a favorite NZ adventure sport): No one is forcing you to do it; the decision to jump or not jump – to go or not go – rests solely with you.

YOU have to be the one to inch your toes over that ledge, and embrace the fact that you are about to plunge into the unknown. It’s a challenge, and one that you alone can take on.

But it’s a challenge that will help you get over your fears and grow as a person. It’s a challenge that’s totally worth it.

So go ahead. Take the plunge.

Scott McIntyre of Vivid Ways. Patience…Lost and Found.

You’ve set yourself a goal, and you want it so badly. But, no matter how much hard work you put in, it still seems as heartbreakingly far away as ever. And, here you are… on the edge of giving up.

Over a decade, I tried to get healthy and lose weight countless times. I eventually succeeded when I accepted that I had to view this as a long-term project, and stopped looking for quick fixes. I learned the forgotten value of the ‘slow burn’ approach to success.

If you set out needing to get results now (yesterday if possible), you’re under pressure right from the start. Nothing you achieve can ever come quickly enough. It’s exhausting.

You might work hard, but have you allowed yourself a realistic amount of time to see your goal through to the end? Try a little more patience first… before you throw in the towel.

Dalene Heck of Hecktic Travels. Life Of Excess.

Be simple.

Nobody needs a flashy sports car or designer shoes.  There is no need for an over-sized house or a 3D television.  We all know that one day, all of these things and the packaging they came in will end up in a stinking pile of garbage for our children to clean up.

They don’t need that, either.  Nor do they need the lesson that more and bigger is better.

What we all need is to live every minute of our short lives to it’s infinite potential. How can that be done if our time is spent hunched in a grey cubicle, punching keys to make another fat cat richer – all to afford a sports car whose color will fade, designer shoes that hurt our feet, and a television that will soon be obsolete?

Eradicate your life of excess.  Focus on needs, not irrational wants.  Stop polluting the environment, and your soul. Make your life about experience, not ownership.

Be simple.

Dave Ursillo of DaveUrsillo.com. Authentic Change

“Look within.”

If I were to leave a thumbprint on a stranger’s life, I would wish for it to be a quiet one. If indelible, then invisible.

The only change that we can wish upon another life is not what we think they ought to know, or what we believe they ought to do. Authentic change only comes from one choosing to do so on their own accord.

The answers to life’s greatest questions—how to be happy, finding purpose and fulfillment, the meaning of life itself—lie within. This is not to say that there are indisputable answers to life’s greatest questions (there aren’t). However, when we look within, we begin to see our own truth. When we turn inward, we begin to discover self-reliance: we understand our wholeness and completeness as human beings, and gain the power and capacity to positively impact the lives of everyone around us.

What About You?

Each and every one of us has amazing stories to tell and lessons to share. What would your message in a bottle say? I know the comments section isn’t quite as romantic as a bottle washing up on the shore of the Pacific, but at least we know people are more likely to be inspired by your story here as it is a sure thing it won’t get stuck under a rock or drown in a storm! 😉

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About Lauren Rains

Hi my name is Lauren Rains. I write about the human experience. Through thick and thin, I’m dedicated to growth, adventure, integrity, and love. The Mad To Live is based on my pursuits, experiments, research, and lessons of challenge and triumph in all areas of life, including being entrepreneur, a writer, a philosopher, a traveler, a teacher, a student, a creative, a friend, a daughter, a sister, a significant other, a stranger and the list goes on. At the end of the day, I believe human beings are here for two reasons: 1.) to love one another with total acceptance, and 2.) to see what we’re made of as we create the possibilities for an abundant life for ourselves and for others. No more bullshit, let's just enjoy our lives.

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