About Me

I'm an Explorer, Engineer, Writer, Public Speaker, and Entrepreneur. I write about exploration, travel, and science. 

Any views expressed on this site are my own.  

Blog Index
The journal that this archive was targeting has been deleted. Please update your configuration.
« Indian Summer | Main | MIT Science Writing: Fall 2011 Summary »

Explore. Serve. Create. Inspire. Defend.  

Why those words under my name on this site? Why didn’t I pick “Cower. Laze. Manipulate. Indulge. Sabotage”?

Well, that came in a close second. I picked the five words I did after several years of failure at trying to figure myself out. And so, short of becoming an actual gypsy in order to read my own future and cast a net of success forward in time to capture all that is sweet and worthy and satisfying in what we call the American Dream, I picked five words that define what I want to be about and called it good enough. For now.   

How do you plan for happiness in life? It’s a simple question but no two answers are the same. Maybe some people know this intuitively. Not me. I don’t claim to know it very well now but I do know it starts with a quote from a very smart guy who figured this out long, long ago:

“Know thyself.” -- Socrates (who was most likely quoting an earlier Greek sage, most likely Thales according to Wikiquote)

Damn. How could a guy get famous over just two words?! I’ve got five. That probably means I’m destined to a life of relative obscurity and grave verbosity. Oh well. That’s all i've got. 

Part of travel itself is following those two words. It’s placing yourself in challenging, isolated circumstances to see what sticks, what falls away, what shows up as hollow that was once thought to stand so solid, so firm. To me, travel isn’t about a relaxing beach trip with Mai Thais in the hot tub and a tee time in the morning. That’s a vacation. There’s nothing wrong with a vacation. But travel is different. Travel is about experience. Travel is less about the place you’re going as it is the way you choose to let your experiences of those places shape you.

Ultimately, every experience we have in life shapes us in some way. When we travel, we force that shaping to happen because we’re stripped of all the comforts and fallback routines and culturally pre-dispositioned responses that otherwise carry us along.

By going outside our comfort zones, we learn to think for ourselves, we learn who we are, we learn what we stand for.

In a bigger sense, that’s what exploration is all about. And that spirit is part of what the United States was founded on.

That leads me to my personal vision. I think everyone should have one. Doesn’t have to stay the same. Mine changes occasionally. But this is what it is right now:

Personal Vision: I live and work to expand humanity's awareness of and morality in the universe with love and humility... and to have fun in all that I do.

To enact this vision, everything I do falls into at least one of the following enterprises:

            - Explore (world travel, NASA, oceans, science, continuous learning)

            - Serve (people in need, country, community, church, family, God)

            - Create (new businesses, new ideas, new friends, new action)

            - Inspire (outreach, advocacy, speaking, writing, mentoring, coaching, leadership)

            - Defend (universal principles and values I believe in)

So that’s where “Explore Serve Create Inspire Defend” comes from. It might not be the best way to say it, but it’s what I’m all about.

Obviously, reducing oneself to a slogan as if you were a multinational corporation trying to figure out the right brand identity to market your product to the masses seems… perfectly All-American? Humorously capitalist? Hopelessly hypocritical?

I don’t know. All I know is it works for me. And after years of travel, both through the inner world of the mind and physical world around me, I know a lot of the struggle to define that can be chalked up to adolescence, emotional immaturity maybe. But a lot of it is worthwhile and however it comes out, if it works for you, it works.


Exploreservecreateinspiredefend… Thyself.


Reader Comments (1)

your inspiration to us all. keep up the good work.
Fellowship Travel

August 30, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterchad

PostPost a New Comment

Enter your information below to add a new comment.

My response is on my own website »
Author Email (optional):
Author URL (optional):
Some HTML allowed: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <code> <em> <i> <strike> <strong>