Technology – Connecting our Past and our Future

These days with social media it is so easy to connect with people all over the globe.  We can make new friends and reconnect with old friends with ease. We can use social media to share knowledge and ideas or simply stay in touch with friends.

One thing I have learned in reconnecting with friends from the past is that even though time has passed and changes have transformed our lives – the underlying character traits of most people, remain the same.  If someone I knew had been an adventurous soul in college or high school – they were still adventurous souls.  At least this has been my experience when I have reconnected with people from my past.

Quite honestly at this point in my life, I am so involved with my “now”, I don’t really have the urge to dig into my past. I’ve never been to any of my high school reunions and there have been many.  But when I do reconnect with people from my past, they are always people I have a natural and lasting connection with.  What attracted me to those people then, are usually the same things that attract me to them now and vice versa.

With any type of relationship, I take the attitude that the people who are in my life are those that are meant to be there at this time. There’ll be good relationships and not so good relationships, but each is meant to play its purpose in my life.  The same holds true in business relationships – there’s always an ebb and tide in most relationships, and we learn by it…. Or we should.  There’s the sweet and the bitter side to anything in life and it’s almost like those two ingredients need to be there for a “life well lived.”

I’ve learned a lot about filmmaking and the art of storytelling over the last couple of years, and the one thing that stands out, is that every story needs a “conflict” or an “opposition”. Every story needs contrast.  If it doesn’t – it’s not a good story – at least in terms of the entertainment business of films, TV shows, books, magazines etc.  I’ve been thinking about that a lot lately and I try to identify those themes when I watch a movie or read a book.  There is always an element of conflict or opposition to almost all stories and stories are taken from real life.

So when I look at my ultimate story –my life’s story –I tell myself to accept both the pain and the joys of life, because they are meant to be there. They are part of the process. I tell myself to expect the unexpected and leave any and all possibilities open. I tell myself to bridge the past with the now and allow the future to be what it’s meant to be for a life well lived.

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Reconnecting with The Ancient Ones

What started out as a mileage run to the West Coast on Friday, turned out to be a day of interesting connections.  My plan was to fly out to San Francisco on Friday morning and return the next morning.  I needed one more flight – the cost of a cheap ticket – to reach the next level of my airline elite status. I have a pretty full travel schedule next year and the upgrade in status will be beneficial.

Since I had the time, I decided reconnect with an old college friend whom I hadn’t seen in over 25 years.  He picked me up at the airport and from the moment I got into the car until we parted company later that afternoon, it was like we hadn’t missed a beat.  Both older, yet fundamentally the same people we were back in college.  There was a comfortable feeling being with each other even though so many years had gone by.

Later that evening I had drinks with a colleague whom I had met a few years back at SATW’s (Society of American Travel Writers) conference in England. During the evening I mentioned a personal project I was embarking on “People Making a Difference” and queried him about story ideas and people he may know. That conversation led us to talking about the travels we’ve each had over the years.  We quickly discovered that we had made similar backpacking odysseys back in the early 70’s. We began to retrace the paths we had each taken – I spoke of traveling from Cairo to Beirut, then on to Damascus and through Iraq to Kuwait. He followed with a nearly identical itinerary and picked up the journey from Kuwait by boat to Abadon, Iran and overland to Afghanistan.  We soon realized that we had been to the same places during the same period of time.

We both commented on the fact that we never come across people in our lives that have had that kind of parallel experience.  He then told me a funny story. He had traveled back to India with his grown son when a young traveler came up to him asking for money so he could get something to eat.  My friend told the traveler about his own journeys when he was his age. The young traveler responded by saying “Whoa – you’re one of the Ancient Ones”.  My friend relayed this story to me and pointed out that traveler’s comment had been spoken in a manner of respect, the same manner of respect with which native indigenous peoples refer to their elders or “ancient ones”.

It was an unusual day where I set out to take a trip for the sake of miles and ended up reconnecting with my past on a couple of different levels.  I tend to look forward in my life rather than at the past but sometimes reconnecting with your past connects circles and reminds of us who we really are. I kind of like being an Ancient One.

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