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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.”

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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

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Last Updated on May 17, 2019

This Is What Happens When You Move Out Of the Comfort Zone

This Is What Happens When You Move Out Of the Comfort Zone

The pursuit of worthwhile goals is a part of what makes life enjoyable. Being able to set a goal, then see yourself progress towards achieving that goal is an amazing feeling.

But do you know the biggest obstacle for most people trying to achieve their goals, the silent dream killer that stops people before they ever even get started? That obstacle is the comfort zone, and getting stuck there is bound to derail any efforts you make towards achieving the goals you’ve set for yourself.

If you want to achieve those goals, you’ll have to break free from your comfort zone. Let’s take a look at how your life will change once you build up the courage to leave your comfort zone.

What Is the Comfort Zone?

The comfort zone is defined as “a behavioural state within which a person operates in an anxiety-neutral condition, using a limited set of behaviours to deliver a steady level of performance.”

What stands out to me the most about that definition is the last part: “using a limited set of behaviours to deliver a steady level of performance.” How many successful people do you know who deliver a steady level of performance?

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The goal in life is to continually challenge yourself, and continually improve yourself. And in order to do that, you have move out of your comfort zone. But once you do, your life will start to change in ways you could never have imagined. I know because it’s happening right now in my own life.

Here’s what I’ve learned.

1. You will be scared

Leaving your comfort zone isn’t easy. In fact, in can be downright terrifying at times, and that’s okay. It’s perfectly normal to feel a little trepidation when you’re embarking on a journey that forces you to try new things.

So don’t freak out or get overwhelmed when you feel yourself getting a little scared. It’s perfectly normal and all part of the process. What’s important is that you don’t let that fear hold you back. You must continue to take action in the face of fear.

That’s what separates winners from losers.

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2. You will fail

Stepping out of your comfort zone means you’re moving into uncharted territory. You’re trying things that you’ve never tried before, and learning things you’ve never learned before.

That steep learning curve means you’re not going to get everything right the first time, and you will eventually fail when you move out of your comfort zone. But as long as the failures aren’t catastrophic, it can actually be a good thing to fail because …

3. You will learn

Failure is the best teacher. I’ve learned more from each one of my failures than I have from each one of my successes. When you fail small, and fail often, you rapidly increase the rate at which you learn new insights and skills. And that new knowledge, if applied correctly, will eventually lead to your success.

4. You will see yourself in a different way

Once you move out of your comfort zone, you immediately prove to yourself that you’re capable of achieving more than you thought was possible. And that will change the way you see yourself.

Moving forward, you’ll have more confidence in yourself whenever you step out of your comfort zone, and that increased confidence will make it more likely that you continue to step outside your comfort zone. And each time you do, you’ll prove to yourself again and again what you’re really capable of.

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5. Your peers will see you in a different way

Whether we want to admit or not, people judge other people. And right now, people view you in a certain way, and they have a certain idea of what you’re capable of. That’s because they’ve become accustomed to seeing you operate in your comfort zone.

But once you move out of your comfort zone, you’ll prove to other people, as well, that you’re capable of much more than you’ve shown in the past.

The increased confidence other people place in you will bring about more opportunities than ever before.

6. Your comfort zone will expand

The good thing about the comfort zone is that it’s flexible and malleable. With each action you take outside of your comfort zone, it expands. And once you master that new skill or action, it eventually becomes part of your comfort zone.

This is great news for you because it means that you can constantly increase and improve upon the behaviors that you’re comfortable with. And the more tools and skills you have at your disposal, the easier it will be to achieve your goals.

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7. You will increase your concentration and focus

When you’re living inside of your comfort zone, the bulk of your actions are habitual: automatic, subconscious, and requiring limited focus.

But once you move out of your comfort zone, you no longer rely on those habitual responses. You’re forced to concentrate and focus on the new action in a way you never do in your comfort zone.

8. You will develop new skills

Moving out of your comfort zone requires that you develop new skills. One of the many benefits you’ll experience is that you’ll be stepping away from the “limited set of behaviors” and start to develop your ability and expertise in new areas.

Living inside of your comfort zone only requires a limited skill set, and those skills won’t contribute much to your success. Once you can confidently step outside of your comfort zone and learn a new skill, there’s no limit to how much you can achieve.

9. You will achieve more than before

With everything that happens once you move out of your comfort zone, you’re naturally going to achieve more than ever before.

Your increased concentration and focus will help you develop new skills. Those new skills will change the way you see yourself, encouraging you to step even further out of your comfort zone.

Featured photo credit: Josef Grunig via farm3.staticflickr.com

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