Advertising
Advertising

Real Story: This Man Crossed The Ocean To Follow The Love Of His Life

Real Story: This Man Crossed The Ocean To Follow The Love Of His Life

The Mystery of Love

In this digital age, what would you do for true love? Would you allow yourself to embrace mystery, to become untethered and follow your heart?

I recently came across an article from a writer, David Vecsey, who wrote of finding love in the mysterious age, that time before texting, Facebook, e-mail, and easily traceable electronic footprints. It reminded me of how I met my wife in the middle of an epic two-year motorcycle journey. We didn’t spend our time visiting historic European cities and sights, we ventured into the wilds of America living off of love, cheap coffee and a small tent!

David related his love story for the New York Times which was subsequently published in Reader’s Digest. David retells the courtship of his future wife as a sort of mystery, a mystery that might have only been possible because it was done old school.

Advertising

He bemoans the fact that the instant access of our electric age can take the mystery out of life and lead to the missing of more ephemeral opportunities. In the summer of 1991, long before the rise of the Internet and social media, the mysteries of life took a hold of his heart and sent him on an epic journey of love.

Backpacking in Europe when what you really want is an ocean away

David and Joelle met while he was still in college and she was a recent college graduate spending time in her hometown of Peoria, Illinois where he went to school. They became inseparable, in spite of the fact they both knew the inseparability would soon be coming to an end – David would be leaving for a European backpacking trip and Joelle would be moving to Chicago. They agreed to write each other, but it was 1991 and “write” didn’t mean e-mail, texting, or Twitter, it meant actually writing a letter and waiting for it to make its away across an ocean. It was easy to get lost and forget things that seemed monumentally important in the moment. And to be honest, David thought Joelle would be “waiting” for him, so off he went confident she would be there when he returned.

David landed in Frankfurt, Germany and began a journey that would expose him to some of Europe’s finest landmarks – the Roman ruins in Trier, summer solstice in Strasburg, a rock concert in a soccer stadium, and the amazing artwork and churches of his ancestral hometown, Budapest. In spite of this wonder, he felt alone. He missed his girl.

Advertising

By the time he met his parents for a rendezvous in London, he was almost inconsolable. His soul was heavy and he sobbed his way through historic London. Nothing could requite the fair maiden he was missing. Oh the drama of young love!

Searching for his girl, but no answer

But hopeless and forlorn is no way to act, so thankfully his father ordered him to call his girl. So he did. But he had the wrong number, Joelle had already moved to Chicago. Her old roommate gave David her new number and he called, but nothing – no answer, no answering machine, no caller ID, no way to leave her a message. He wasn’t even sure if the number was correct. He kept trying but nothing. In 1991, people could get lost easily. Tracking someone down wasn’t as easy as Facebook or Google. And it aroused a great fear, what if she wasn’t waiting for him!

Still yearning, David and his parents drove to Wales but his heart was in Chicago. His parents had enough of what had become a blubbering mess, and sent him back to London to fly home and find his girl. Upon arriving at Heathrow airport though, he was horrified to learn that the round-trip ticket his parents had bought him could only be used out of Paris. Talk about the wind being knocked out of you! So he caught a boat to France in Dover and continued his journey.

Advertising

The boat was filled with fellow students and they beckoned him to stay in France for new adventures – running with the bulls in Pamplona, a pretty young lady invited him to the coast with her friends – he turned them all down, he had to find his girl.

A one-way ticket to the rest of his life

Once he arrived in Paris, David headed straight for Charles De Gaulle airport. But getting back to Chicago wouldn’t be as easy as he thought. The United Airlines ticket line was utter chaos, and he was told it might be three weeks before he could get a seat and depart. He was almost in tears. But as fate would have it, he left through the British Airways wing to see ticket agents waiting on no one. He approached and asked, “you wouldn’t happen to have a ticket to Chicago today would you?”

“We do,” they answered, “but the plane leaves in 20 minutes.”

Advertising

It was a one-way ticket that cost twice that of the round-trip United Airlines ticket his parents had already paid for, so he had to use the “for emergencies only” credit card his parents had given him. Soon he was airborne and headed for Chicago. Surely, this counted as an emergency!

In the Windy City he found his girl and four years later they were married. It was only then that he told his family how he had paid for his expensive one-way ticket home with the “emergency” card. And no, David did not explain what happened during those four years and why it took so long for them to marry! We’ll have to rely on our imaginations.

Life is a mystery. Embrace your adventures, do crazy things for love, follow your heart. You don’t get a do-over of life, make it special.

Click here to read the full story in David’s own words.

Featured photo credit: by Ed Gregory via stokpic.com

More by this author

4 Best Beginner Exercises To Do At Home 15 Subtle Signs Of Depression That Everyone Ignores Real Story: This Man Crossed The Ocean To Follow The Love Of His Life 11 Tips That Help Couples Keep Growing In A Relationship

Trending in Communication

1 12 Simple Ways to Boost Your Confidence Right Now 2 How to Use the 5 Minute Journal to Invest in Your Happiness 3 What’s the Purpose of Life? A Guide to Live with Meaning 4 Why Happiness is a Choice (And a Smart One to Make) 5 How to Survive a Midlife Crisis (The Definitive Guide for Men)

Read Next

Advertising
Advertising
Advertising

Last Updated on January 16, 2020

12 Simple Ways to Boost Your Confidence Right Now

12 Simple Ways to Boost Your Confidence Right Now

The way you feel about yourself greatly influences how you live and interact with others. If you are confident about yourself, you tend to see yourself positively and actually enjoy spending time with and around people. You don’t feel self-conscious or awkward around others, and that allows you to live your fullest and happiest life.

However, if you’re drowning in a sea of self-doubt, hesitancy and shyness, you often withdraw and isolate yourself from others and avoid interacting and connecting with people. That anxiety you feel in the pit of your stomach when you are around people is holding you back greatly and it is not good for your emotional health and overall well-being. You need to do something about it if you are low in self-confidence or have friends or family members who are not confident.

“Confidence isn’t walking into a room thinking you’re better than everyone, it’s walking in not having to compare yourself to anyone” – Anonymous

Here are simple, practical tips to boost your confidence right now and make you feel and act your best.

1. Stop labeling yourself as awkward, timid or shy.

When you label yourself as awkward, timid or shy, you sub-consciously tell your mind to act accordingly and psychologically feel inclined to live up to those expectations. Instead of labeling and entertaining negative self-talk, visualize and affirm yourself as confident and strong. Close your eyes for a minute and visualize yourself in different situation as you would like to be.

Be your own cheerleader. Experts believe that positive affirmation and good mental practices like picturing yourself winning or achieving a goal can lead to greater feelings of self-assurance and prepare your brain for success.[1] As the saying goes, “seeing is believing.” Picture yourself as confident and soon enough you will begin to manifest behavior that gives evidence to this new ‘fact.’

2. Recognize that the world is not focused on you (unless, of course, you are Kanye West).

That means you don’t have to be excessively sensitive about who you are or what you are doing (or not doing). You are not on the center stage; there is no need for preoccupation with self and perfectionism. As rap music star Rocko sings, “You just do you and I will do me, aight?”

Advertising

Forget about trying to please everyone or being perfect. Trying to be perfect and being a people-pleaser puts too much pressure on you and creates unnecessary anxiety. Besides, people are too preoccupied with their own issues to pay much attention to your every move unless, of course, you are a mega famous, super celebrity like Beyonce or Kanye West.

3. Focus on other people as opposed to yourself.

If you are low on confidence, self-conscious, nervous and shy in social situations, focus your attention on other people and what they are saying or doing instead of focusing on your own awkwardness.

For example, think about what it is that is interesting about the person who’s the centre of the party or the guy or girl you are talking with. Prompt them to talk more about themselves and be genuinely curious and interested in what they say. You will instantly come across as confident and warmhearted.

People generally want to talk about themselves, be heard and understood. They will love it when you’re eager and willing to listen to them and really hear what they have to say.

This habit of focusing more on what you love in others as opposed to what you dislike in yourself will not only help you become more assertive and comfortable in virtually all social situations, but also instantly make you feel great about yourself.

4. Know (and accept) yourself for who you are.

Chinese military general, strategist and philosopher Sun Tzu, author of the internationally acclaimed book The Art of War, said, “Know yourself and you will win all battles.” Even in the battle with lack of confidence, you will need to know yourself to win.

Knowing yourself starts with understanding that people are not all the same, neither are all social situation suitable for everyone. You might not be confident in large gatherings, but you could be bold and confident in one-on-one and small group interactions. We all have our own unique gifts and unique ways of expressing ourselves. Embrace yours!

Advertising

Introverts, for example, have a quiet confidence that is, unfortunately, often confused for shyness. They are naturally low key and prefer to spend time alone. However, this natural disposition affords them certain unique gifts, such as an ability to listen better than most people and notice things that others don’t.

Your uniqueness is where your strength and advantage lies. You won’t be comfortable and confident in all situations all the time. Albert Einstein said,

“Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.”

5. Crack a smile.

If there is one sure way to instantly boost your confidence, it’s cracking a smile. Christine Clapp, a public speaking expert at The George Washington University, says that flashing those pretty, pearly white teeth will immediately make you appear both confident and composed. But, the effect of smiling is not just external. Studies show that smiling can also help nix feelings of stress and pave the way for a happier and more relaxed you.[2]

Not a bad return for something seemingly so trite, wouldn’t you agree?

6. Break a sweat—with exercise.

Working out is another great way to make yourself feel amazing and confident. Science has shown that exercising increases your endorphins, helps reduce stress, tones your muscles and makes you feel happy and confident.[3]

And hey, all you have to do is take a walk a few times a week and you’ll see the benefits. What seems to matter—as far as your confidence goes—is whether you break a sweat, not how strenuous your session is, which is pretty cool. Start working out now.

Advertising

7. Groom yourself.

This might seem mundane, but it’s amazing how much of a difference a shower and shave can have on your confidence and self-image. And when you spritz on a scent, the boost on confidence and self-esteem is incredible. As it turns out, your favorite fragrance does more than make you smell oh-so-nice.

A study found that a fragrance can inspire confidence in men. Interestingly, the study also found that the more a man likes the fragrance, the more confident he might feel. Another study found that 90% of women feel more confident while wearing a scent than those who go fragrance-free.

8. Dress nicely.

Another one that might seem trite, but it works. If you dress nicely, you’ll instantly feel good about yourself and give your confidence a real boost. That is largely because you’ll feel attractive, presentable and sometimes even successful in nice clothes.

While dressing nicely means something different for everyone, it does not necessarily mean wearing $500 designer outfits. It means wearing clothes that are clean, that you are comfortable in and that are nice-looking and presentable, including casual clothes.

9. Do activities you enjoy.

Whether it is reading a book, playing a musical instrument, riding your bicycle or going fishing, do what you really enjoy and what makes you truly happy often. It will boost your self-esteem, soothe your ego and allow you to identify with your gifts and talents. That will in turn bolster your self-belief and grow your confidence exponentially.

You might not become popular for doing what you love, but you might not even want to be popular at all. Being popular doesn’t make you happy; doing what you love does.

10. Prepare for the possibility of rejection / setback.

Late World No. 1 professional tennis player Arthur Ashe said, “One important key to success is self-confidence. A key to self-confidence is preparation.” You need to prepare for the possibility of rejection and setback.

Advertising

Why?

Everybody suffers rejection and setback at one point or another. You are not exempted. The question on your mind, therefore, should not be if you will be rejected, but how you will handle rejection when it comes.

Prepare yourself adequately in every situation to minimize the risk and effect of rejection and so that your confidence is not broken. For example, learn public speaking and rehearse what you are going to say beforehand if you have landed a public speaking engagement. That way, you are sure of yourself and confident you have what it takes to hack it. If you are rejected, don’t take it personally.

Rejection and setbacks happen to the best of us. Take it as a learning experience. Learn from your mistakes and move on.

11. Face uncomfortable situations square in the face.

Don’t run away from uncomfortable situations. Running away from people or situations because you feel scared, shy or timid only confirms and reinforces your shyness. Instead, face the situation that makes you uneasy square in the face. For example, go ahead and talk to that person you are afraid to approach, or go straight to the front of your yoga class! What’s the worst that can happen?

Prepare and be ready for any eventuality. The more you face your fears, the more you realize you are stronger than you thought and the more confident you get. This simple, yet admittedly courageous, act makes you unstoppable. You get comfortable being uncomfortable and begin to feel like you can take on the world. And that is the hallmark of someone destined for great things.

12. Sit up straight and walk tall—you are awesome!

Yes, sit up straight and believe you are awesome. Don’t slump in your chair or slouch your shoulders. Experts say the right stance can not only keep your self-esteem and mood lifted, but also lead to more confidence in your own thoughts.[4]

The way to sit is to open up your chest and keep your head level so that you look and feel poised and assured. And when you get up, stand tall and walk like you’re on a mission. People who sit up straight and walk tall are more attractive and instantly feel more confident. Try it now: you’ll feel fierce and confident just by sitting up straight and walking tall.

Featured photo credit: Freshh Connection via unsplash.com

Reference

Read Next