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The Traveling Philosopher’s Roundtable: Message In A Bottle

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! 😉

Spread the Word
Are you up for living a wild, crazy and meaningful life? Then let some of your favorite people know about it! You can retweet on Twitter or share on Facebook— and don’t forget to join THE MAD ONES for email updates and LIKE it on FB. Thanks for your support guys! :)

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About Lauren Rains

Life gets pretty f*cking nuts sometimes, doesn't it? Every day I wake up more to myself and more to this world. This website is an expression of that.

Space Travelers is multi-layered exploration of our existence here on this rock we call Earth. We're going to talk about the matrix, UFOs, and astral travel, and explore our awakening into the divine masculine and feminine. We'll discover our bodies both the physical and subtle body. We'll contemplate the sacredness of mother earth and the concept of who/what the hell made this place in the first place?

I also aim to keep this website rooted and grounded, referring to topics that are effecting us in the here and now, such as fighting against the oppression of women worldwide, pealing away layers of social conditioning greedy capitalists are using to turn us into consumers, and navigating this insane technological revolution before the AI take over. I can geek out on consciousness up in space all day, but life happens here on the ground and this is the time we were born into.

This website is about integrating into our full human experience, aligning with ourselves and with each other, shedding skins and transcending into the unfolding layers of ourselves.

My wish for you, and for myself, is to unfold and evolve into our highest selves. We are spiritual beings having a human experience. We need not sell our souls to the status quo.

I'm on the journey too. I write this blog to speak to others who are waking up, or who desire to wake up. Because we can't do this alone.

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Title Who Knows 7/16

It’s a big playground we’re living in. Just like the ones you grew up playing …

  • Dave, Scott, Jen, Amanda, Srini, Dalene – It has been a pleasure having you guys on this week’s roundtable. Thanks so much for contributing and for just being really awesome in general! 🙂 It’s people like you that make the world go round and keep it an ever increasing inspiring and amazing place.

    As for my 150 words floating around in a message in a bottle here’s what I’d write:
    And with the advice from Dalene to keep it simple, that’s what I’m going to do:

    “Don’t Let Your Dreams Be Dreams. Don’t let your love go unknown, and don’t be afraid to receive love either. Don’t let your happiness and passions go unexplored. Finally, and most importantly, while you’re on your journey to chase after these amazing dreams of yours, don’t just think of the destination, but enjoy every up and down of this journey. It will be scary as hell at times, but it’ll be worth it. Trust Me. – From anonymous. “

  • Very well put Lauren! And there are some other great messages among your roundtable that hopefully will inspire some people along the way.

    Thanks for including me! 🙂

    • Hey Dalene!
      It was my pleasure! I definitely enjoyed yours and appreciate you adding in the “stop polluting the environment” bit. It was the one comment that told us to not just think about ourselves but the world in general. 🙂

  • Increasingly my mantra has also become “Just say YES” because I’ve only regretted things that I haven’t done, not things that I chose to do. But fear can hold you back and I’m a HUGE overthinker and can talk myself out of something if left o my own devices.

    I guess if I was to leave an original thought in a bottle it would be: “You only have this one life and no one gets out alive.”

    • Just Say YES is one of the best mentalities out there!!! Once you decide to say Yes instead of No, Overthinking isn”t even an issue anymore, ya know?! Besides, as you said, no one gets out alive, so we may as well LIVE it up no matter how scary it is at that moment. 🙂

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  • Awesome Roundup Lauren,
    I look forward to checking out your participants blogs that are new to me.
    As for my message in a bottle:
    Don’t ever let Fear rule your life. Let your decisions be made by what drives you deep down inside, your Passions. It doesn’t matter if some people don’t understand, the important one’s will. There will always be obstacles, but remember they are there to help you grow and see if what your doing, is really what you want. Live, Love, Laugh.

    • Hey Jessika!
      I love your message!! That is awesome and if I were to come upon a bottle with that written on a paper inside of it I’d be smiling big.
      We often forget that obstacles can be so good for us and is there any better feeling than overcoming them?! Well, maybe a few, but that’s definitely one of the best!

  • Thanks so much for inviting me to participate, Lauren! Reading everyone else’s messages really inspires me to get out there and do something awesome!

    • Hey Amanda!
      No, Thank You! 🙂 I loved your message and the story you told in it! Although I will say bungee jumping scares the crap out of me so I’ll replace it with sky diving for now! I did that and it ROCKED. ALthough, I guess I should take your advice and take the plunge by going bungee jumping!!! 😛
      Keep inspiring and being inspired with travel!!!!
      – Laur 🙂

  • love this series — if you are looking for others to contribute, I’d love to.

    • Hey Michael!
      Thanks so much! It’s been a blast putting it together too! 🙂 I’ll definitely get in touch with you to contribute. It’s sure you’ve got some great things to share. 🙂

  • Another great Travelling Philosophers Roundtable, Lauren.

    My suggestion would be similar to Dave’s: just be you.

    After spending enough time trying to fit in, I’ve found that the easiest (and most enjoyable) think is just being yourself. And be accepting of that, too.

    I found a message in a bottle once. It had the contact of the person who sent it. I called. We chatted on the phone for 2 hours. And we never chatted again. Still, it was a memorable experience and it caused me to ship out my own message in a bottle at the tender age of 11.

    Looking forward to next weeks!

    • Hey Collin!
      Collin I would be so disappointed if you were anything else but you. You are one of the most awesome people I have ever met! Well, we haven’t “met” yet, but you know what I mean 😉

      That is amazing that you found a message in a bottle and contact that person. What a fairy tale. Am I sensing another good story blog post from you? 🙂 I would love to hear what the message said and what you took away from the conversation. That is really something special. 🙂

  • This is such a great series Lo and some excellent responses. Nike had it right with their slogan: “Just do it”. There are always going to be fears and people telling us not to do something, but at the end of day, this is your life to live and your story to write. If it doesn’t work out, so what. It’s likely that no matter what the outcome you’re a better person, and many times those experiences move you toward what you were really meant to do. It was T.S. Eliot that said: “Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go.”

    • Hey Spencer!
      You and T.S. Eliot are both the man. I also love what he said when he kept it simple here, “Follow Your Bliss.” You can’t get anymore dead-on than that, can you? And sometimes, in order to find that bless, we have to take those risks and see how far we can go. 🙂

      Lately I’ve been getting pretty good at not listening to those around me. They may think I’m crazy, but I know I know I’m completely sane. 🙂 I guess you have to be a world traveling, life philosophizing kind of person to get it sometimes 😉

  • Hey Lauren,

    Thanks so much for including me in this series. I was trying to leave a comment yesterday but was getting a database error, but I’m glad to see that’s all fixed. It was great to read all the really interesting answers that people had.

    • Hey Srini!
      Well that is odd! I’m glad it got fixed as well! haha. Thanks so much for contributing! Your answer was dead on my friend. Too many of us forget it’s not the destination, but the journey. And on that journey its essential to look within and take not and enjoy what you’re experiencing, be it good or bad, as you reach where you know you’re meant to go.
      Thanks Srini! You are the bombbb.com haha. yes I did just use that.
      – Laur

  • Jen


    Thank you so much for including me in the roundtable! 😀

    I had so much fun writing it and I loved the question – I think I really will write that message and put it in a bottle one day 🙂

    And thank you to everyone who read and commented! I love reading everyone’s answers, it’s so amazing to read such different, but all so wise and true, answers to the same question! 🙂

    Keep Smiling!

    • Hey Jen!
      The pleasure was all mine! I absolutely loved your answer. And yea the cool thing I’ve found about doing this is you get so many awesome viewpoints from so many different experiences that you can take away so much all at once from it, ya know?

      Thanks so much Jen! You rock! 🙂

  • What a great idea for a series. I love how Srinivas Rao said all the answers lie within you. How sad it is that we somehow let our children forget this, and then they grow into adults who are constantly searching for the answers outside of themselves, and finding themselves in less desirable situations when they can’t. You know all you need to know, just believe in yourself and your voice.

    • Hey Caz!
      I completely relate to what you’re saying! And I think I’ve even been guilty of this in the past. It’s easy to feel like a certain title defines you or a certain possession or a certain approval from others is what will make you feel complete and happy. But that’s not the case. It absolutely is within us. We just need to learn how to light that fire within us, and keep it lit. Once we can do that, then believing in ourselves is unavoidable. 🙂

  • Hi Lauren,

    Sorry I’m late to the party…

    It was a pleasure to take part in the Roundtable – thank you for asking me.

    Cutting down our philosophies in life to 150 words is a good exercise in ‘keeping things brief”. Shorter is definitely sweeter sometimes 🙂

  • Hi I just found your blog and love it. I love Jen and found her from her story on Tiny Buddha. What would my message say? It’s all about love, tell everyone! One of the most difficult places to be brave is in relationships. When I know how someone relates to others I can see how brave they really are.

    • Hey Tess!

      Thank you so much for the kind words! 🙂 And Jen is awesome! So is Tiny Buddha! Based on what we have in common already things are looking good. 🙂 I’ve actually been to your blog before and I love your message!
      And I love your message in a bottle too. Lately I’m learning about relationships more than anything and how much it requires us to be brave. I hate to sound corny, and sometimes it’s hard to believe, but love will find a way 😛

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  • I love these series you’ve created, Lauren! Your prompt was beautiful. I remember always having a fascination with a message in a bottle, floating along the waves of the ocean, dipping into the deeps, and frolicking with mermaids only to surface again. I think maybe even that would be my message. Float along the waves of Life, Dig into the Deeps of Your Soul, and Frolic with the Magic that lies beneath.


  • YO,

    You crazy!!!!

    DAMN, I LOVE that message in a bottle idea. It must have felt so powerful to write and send it away. Did you put any contact info on it in case someone found it and wanted to get in touch with you?

    NO info… and you are just an ominous soul giving endless wisdom (which you really are… duh)

    SEE YOU SOON!!!!!

    Surfs up,