Doing the right thing.

I recently flew from Washington, DC to Orlando, FL; when I went to get my iPod Nano out of the seatback pocket after landing in Orlando, I found this:

Sweet!  An iPod Touch, loaded with music, games and all sorts of apps!  I’m a winner!

But then I noticed something else; it also had access to the Gmail account of the owner, so I had his email address.  And there were pictures of his recent vacation to Costa Rica.  And of his kids.  It was obvious that this is something he would like to have back.

So I emailed him twice with no response, which was interesting since I could SEE the emails getting to his Gmail account and see that they were unread.  I don’t think he uses Gmail for much so it was starting to look like “Hey, I did my part and now I have a new iPod Touch!”.

But no.  I didn’t feel good about that.  As someone who loves to research things and find answers, I KNEW I could track this guy down somehow and give him a nice Christmas gift.

So after some further legwork, I found a reference to where he seemed to work.  I looked up that place (in Washington DC), called the organization and asked for him and was informed that he had left for the day.  I mentioned to his secretary that I may have found his iPod and that he could call me so we could arrange it getting back to him.

He called in about two minutes, and in fact while I was on the phone with him another of his colleagues called me to tell me that he was going to call.

Obviously he was REALLY excited to get this back.

He asked what I wanted to get it back to him: a reward, at least paying for my time and shipping charges, whatever.  The shipping charges were only $5 with a USPS Flat Rate Box so I asked if he could do me a favor instead, as he did sound like a pretty decent guy:

“As corny as it sounds, just pay it forward.  The next time you have a chance to do something for someone, please do and we’ll call it even.”

It felt right.  I wish during these crazy holidays when everyone is so stressed about the economy, finding the perfect gifts, dealing with crazy family and all that we could remember that we are all just trying to get by in this world, and that doing the smallest thing for someone else can have an effect far beyond your own effort.  And the more goodwill circling in the world, the better chance there is that some will come back to you.

And even if it doesn’t, it still feels good to do the right thing.

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The limited magazine choices in rural New England.

Lets just say I was unable to find The Atlantic or Scientific American, but if wrestling, guns or cars were my thing I would be set for life.

Help me change my life.

I know this is a little long, so please stick with me for a moment.  I need your help to change my life.  I know that’s a lot of pressure, but it’s not as daunting as it sounds.

Some of you may know that my world has changed dramatically in the last few months.  I was told I needed to relocate to keep my awesome job of 14 years; instead I decided to rather prioritize some family issues and to try to have some adventures while I have the energy.  All of my younger friends tell me that 46 (which I am) is the new 30; I’m sure they were just saying that to make me feel better, but now I want to prove them right.  I have been fortunate to have many adventures (as seen in my banner photo) but have never really TRAVELED.  And I so want to travel before I run out of time.

But to do it I need your help, and the help of your friends.

Right after my job ended, I received a mass email to enter a contest to go on several adventure travel trips and blog about them.  Normally I would just delete such a thing, but I have read the catalogs of these travel companies for YEARS yet have never been on any of them, and now I have a chance to do them ALL?  And is the timing of this contest a coincidence, given my life situation and my goal of having some adventures?!?  I had to write a 400 word essay (shown in italics below), upload it to their website and get people to vote for me.

That’s where I need your help, and pretty much the help of everyone you know.

The winner is just the one with the most votes on January 1, 2011, and though I feel fortunate to have many friends in various walks of life, it will be the “friends of friends” that will decide whether I can win this.  What made me even bother is the popularity not of me (minimal) but the popularity of my friends (you all have TONS of friends!), because that’s what makes it possible for me to even have a chance.

So not only do I need your vote, but I need the vote of everyone you know.  If you can point others to this blog post through email, Facebook, Twitter or whatever your preferred communication method may be it would be greatly appreciated.

Any comments on the essay are appreciated as well; no matter how this goes I hope to improve my writing and so feedback from others would help in that.  Here is my essay as you will see it on the website; I hope that it resonates enough for you to take the time to click here to register and vote for me.  And to ask your friends to do the same.

Thank you,

Wayne

Travel Contest Essay Wayne Turner – 10/1/2010

I’m 46 years old and haven’t been anywhere.

Now don’t start feeling sorry for me, as it’s not as bad as it sounds. I’ve been to many cities in the United States, but my passport is bare. I’ve had incredible adventures, although few in exotic locales. I feel fortunate to have traveled this country, but yearn to enjoy cultures abroad. I love writing about my endeavors, and while I can often make my stories poignant or humorous, my past destinations are not necessarily ones that would spur others on to similar adventures. I’ve researched the numerous offerings of adventure travel companies like Backroads and OARS with the diligence of someone studying for a bar exam, though never been on one.

Yet.

You can help me change that, and perhaps share in the journey. Maybe my words and photos will make you laugh, make you cry, or even inspire you to seek out your own adventures. If so, perhaps this can affect more lives than just mine.

I’ve worked for 34 years straight (since I was 12) and my company of 14 years recently asked me to relocate. I could continue in a career I love while moving to a city with ideal weather year-round. It was a good offer, particularly in this difficult economy.

I didn’t take it because I haven’t been anywhere. Many say that it is never too late to have an adventure. I want to prove that to be true, to myself and to whoever may read along.

Many of my friends are in their 20s and 30s; they inspire me with their wanderlust. Now I want to go and do what I missed when I didn’t make travel a priority; I want to make up for lost time.

To do this I need your assistance; I need your vote. If I do get this chance, I hope you will read my blog about these adventures so you can be part of the journey that your support allowed me to embark upon. I’ll do my best to inform and entertain you, and if some of you are inspired to do something similar, then the experience would be exponentially more meaningful.

I’m 46 years old and going places. For the first time, really. Help me get there, and please come along for the ride.

Click here to register and vote for me.

How a family of four can live with only one bathroom…

Until I was nine, we lived in a trailer in Vermont that 10′ x 57′ (and those are the OUTSIDE dimensions, including the hitch); even THAT place had two bathrooms.  A good friend has a one-bathroom house in San Diego where he lives with his wife and two kids; we got to discussing how one bathroom works out with a family of four and he responded with this (and yes, he IS an engineer):

Two kids, my son is almost 8 and my daughter is 5.  Tick tock, tick tock, the demand for the bathroom can only increase.

Right now we have a serial process in the morning:

1)     My alarm goes, and I snooze in bed

2)     My wife gets up and goes to the bathroom

3)     My wife wakes up the kids and they each go to the bathroom

4)     I wait until I hear the bathroom door open 3 times

5)     Kids go and eat breakfast

6)     I get up and use the bathroom for my morning ritual, the three S’s

  1. Shit
  2. Shower
  3. Shave

7)     I exit the bathroom and eat breakfast

8)     The kids take turns getting dressed and using the bathroom to brush their teeth and wash their faces

9)     When the kids are done, I use the bathroom to brush my teeth

10)  We all put on our shoes and I take them to school

11)  My wife has full access to the bathroom

You gotta love that it just works; he should get this and then they can do laundry at the same time:

Who says there’s no first class section on Southwest Airlines?

Sigh. Which side is my gas cap on again???

Two simultaneously??

Why art majors should not do auto repair.

Really?  Papier mache?

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