I set a goal in January to rekindle my love of traveling in 2012. I picked some places (old favorites and others new) and decided to see them all before yesterday. And I did it. Well, sort of.
Here’s the first post from January. I kept up blogging most of the trips for the first half of the year, and got a bit out of sync with the last trips. Therefore I’ll show some highlights from the last few.
Oh and one change in the programming. I didn’t make it to Wilmington… But made up for it with a visit to NYC. A worthy substitute, that I didn’t think possible on this quest. Wanted to visit there badly, but didn’t think it possible. Grateful that He knows the desires of my heart. (Psalm 37:4). I give him all glory for making it happen, and thank some very generous friends and family also, for making it possible. I’m a blessed man.
Distances are not 100% accurate from Charlotte (don’t be a hater), but pretty close. The 12,000+ miles included return journeys.
129 miles - Asheville, NC
101 miles - Boone, NC
207 miles - Charleston, SC
92 miles - Columbia, SC
101 miles - Greenville, SC
531 miles - NYC, NY
727 miles - Miami, FL
251 miles - Savannah, GA
207 miles - Statham, GA
4007 miles - Guildford, England
6353 miles x 2 = 12,706 miles. Booyah.
And now for some highlights from the 4 places not blogged…
Boone, NC - A day to relax, walk, read, drink coffee and eat BBQ.
NYC, NY - A work trip to visit my customer Coach. Got in a visit to their corporate team, a visit to a new store opening in New Jersey, a bit of sight seeing, and a beer with childhood friend from home.
Savannah, GA - A treat post grduation by myself to unwind before starting a new career at Omnisolv. Lots of reading, coffee, good eats, and time spent resting in a hammock, or on the beach.
Guildford, England - A trip home for Christmas to see my lovely family and get a little R & R. It was quality. Some great memories made.
So here’s to doing what you love. Setting goals and crushing them. A year of the same in 2013. I’ll be taking another hiatus from social media until early February to get focused on God and the year ahead. See you then friends :)
Have a read through Deuteronomy and you’ll see the phrase “Go in and possess the land” around 35 times. Thats rather a lot by my count. As I spent some time praying for one of my close friends tonight, I heard the phrase for him “Arise mighty warrior. Take your land.”
Taking the land was a mandate in Deuteronomy, as it is for us today. We should go into it with confidence and possess it. We were created to take it. Given it as our inheritance. Not to wander around looking for it, hoping to someday stumble upon it. We’ve been equipped with everything we need. Every strength, every talent and experience on the journey has had purpose in us possessing this land. Our land.
It can be so easy to settle in a place of comfort and miss the possibility and opportunity the land holds for us. We don’t want the sacrifice. Or the potential failure. Many times we think that we aren’t ready or qualified. That if we can get past this 1 sin that we continually return to, as a Dog returns to his vomit (Proverbs 26:11), we’ll be ready… Or once we get another year of leadership training, we’ll be able to lead people properly… but as we read, God never called the qualified. Time and time again, we see that He chose people that were called. They became qualified along the way. We have to trust him to step in to the land, and then trust him with the results too. The Lord God has gone before you and fought on your behalf (Deuteronomy 1:30).
Do not fear my brother, for he is with you. He will strengthen you and help you. He will uphold you with his right hand (Isaiah 41:10).
Take your land.
Another trip down, this time Asheville. Took a day trip with Brad and Preston last month, and the day got off to a strong start. A quick stop in Gastonia at 7am left Preston bleeding after hitting some parking-lot-pushups (to this day, we still have no idea how this happened), but also with new friends at Chick-fil a.
New friend #1.
We made it to Asheville around 9, and the tone was set for the day by the first local we encountered. A gentleman casually crossed the road, dressed as a lady, with handbag in tow. Welcome to Asheville.
After a quick tour of the market we stopped for coffee at Izzy’s. It had a great vibe. The line was out the door, and coffee selection was fantastic. You should try it out on your next visit.
Before lunch we heading up the mountain a wee bit for a quick miniature hike.
Scenic shot over the Blue Ridge Parkway…
For lunch we went to Tupelo Honey. After an hour wait, and plenty of discussion over the menu options, we finally got our order in. Evidently the key to their business is in the biscuits. These things, when hit with honey and jam, are in a class of their own. Especially with Brad’s fancy instagram shots.
Couldn’t go wrong with breakfast. Goats cheese grits, poached eggs and sweet potato pancake (that was shared) was a nice twist.
These are two of the friends we made at lunch! They don’t eat gluten, offered us their biscuits, and before we knew it, were our new best friends.
The second coffee shop of the day offered us more great coffee, a fun story, and plenty more friends. The Dripolator. They had just closed up shop for the day to celebrate their 3 year anniversary. However, after a brief chat and showing our desperation for one of their famous coffee’s “that we traveled all the way from Charlotte to try!” they showed mercy, and brought us in for a pour over. Definitely another place you should try next time you’re in Asheville. Here’s Dillon getting things started.
Met these guys as we were leaving the coffee shop. They had just finished a 79 mile ride from the top of Mt. Mitchell. Strong work lads!
Update for the Travel 12 agenda on its way next. Cheers for now!
Well, a little delayed in posting… but here’s my second trip on the Travel 12 list in May. It’s been a while coming (seeing as it’s July) but I’ve been buckling down at school, finishing strong. Taking a quick 10 minutes between homework’s to post.
So, my good man Serk and I journeyed down 85 for a full day of fun, mainly revolving around the wedding of our good friends Rob and Jess but with a quick tour of the Atlanta Athletic Club. As you can see… It’s gorgeous. They hosted the PGA Championship last year and its still in great shape.
We visited with my friend Butch, who I’ve known for a few years now through golf. Love him and his family. It’s always a pleasure to catch up. This is on par 3, 15th hole that David Toms made famous with a hole-in-one at the 2001 PGA, in his 3rd round en route to victory.
Their Bobby Jones Museum at the club was pretty first class. A few trophies in there and this cool piece on one of the walls.
Later that evening we made our way to the Georgia Club in Statham, GA. Rob (the handsome groom) was locking down our good friend and colleague Jess (gorgeous bride) on this roastingly warm, Georgia evening.
Here’s the altar shot!
Serk and I were accompanied by our lovely and fun dates Gigi and Megan who popped over from Atlanta for the evening to join us. Lots of laughs and dancing ensued!
One last shot with our favorite bride… You’re the best J.A.M (Now known as J.M.P!).
For the longest time I have felt bad asking more of people. I’ve chosen the low road. I’ve laced my requests with qualifications and apologies, giving people an opportunity to get out time and time again. “If you think it would be ok and wouldn’t mind, if it’s not too much of a bother to stay a little longer, it would be a great help until we’ve finished.” It was something that overtime needed changing in order to be an effective leader.
Unfortunately I led this way for some time. It was founded in my insecurity of wanting people to like me. I went to them wanting something they couldn’t satisfy. Not only was I sabotaging myself, but more importantly the people I’d been entrusted with. As leaders we’re called to develop those entrusted to us. You should feel the weight of that responsibility. When we withhold opportunities for them to step up, because of our issues, they lose out. Everyone loses out. Don’t do that :)
At some point in the past year, one of the many brilliant leaders around me helped me see that setting the bar high was actually very beneficial. A novel concept right? Still, one we often miss.
As a leader, start by deciding how high you/your organization/team want the bar to be. Then show your team how high it is. Talk about it. Explain why its as high as it is. Get the “Why” across to them and clearly understood. Once its established there, start executing whatever you do, all while maintaining the bars height. Make sure to protect it and fight for it together. Help people take ownership in it. Suddenly you’ll be operating at a high level. As new people enter your organization, the culture will and should always point to the bar. It’ll tell them to get on board or raise their game if necessary. No apologies needed.
The JB Caprese is named for my lovely and talented sister-in-law Julie Brooks, who introduced me to this in Houston last year, while visiting for my birthday. It’s simple, light and delicious. Perfect for a summer evening.
Try it this week and let me know what you think. Share it on twitter for facebook if you enjoy it and I shall pass along your praises to her!
The photos are from the cookbook I began writing last summer, which I will publish later this fall. I’m saying this to hold myself accountable until then :)
Prep Time:10 minutes
1 ball Buffalo Mozzarella, 1 Large Tomato, 1 Ripe Avocado (Ready when browned skin and soft as you gently squeeze it) Olive Oil, Balsamic Vinegar, Salt & Pepper, Italian Seasoning.
Slice the tomato and mozzarella into similar sizes. Cut your ripe avocado down the middle into two halves, remove the seed, and then take your knife and slice into each half make 4 separate pieces of avocado. Stack on top of each other, and then cover with a touch of salt, pepper and Italian seasoning. Finally pour your olive oil and balsamic over to your preference. The more the better in my opinion!
As I departed from a meeting recently, a rather interesting scenario presented itself to me. We finished around 8.45pm, and by the door I noticed a wife waiting on her husband to make his departure. I pondered on the scenario for a minute on my way to the car, and then began considering my options for the evening. I picked a coffee shop, where I’d continue my plans to take over the world. He on the other hand, was likely heading home.
It dawned on me that his options as a married man, were likely fewer than mine. He obviously had the option of doing “married things” to which I’m currently disqualified… but none-the-less, his responsibility as a spouse surely meant I was ahead in the shear number of options I had at 9pm on a Monday, right? Suddenly I had a whole new appreciation for the season of life I was in.
Singleness is a fascinating thing. As I survey the land, I see so many folks who want to break free from it’s dreaded grip. They feel like their missing so much. It’s natural for us to crave relationships. It’s how our creator made us. But as we look for a mate, we often get caught continuing to stare at how green the grass seems on the other side, potentially missing our own yards potential. In that moment where I saw endless possibilities ahead of me that evening, I also saw my singleness take on a beautifully rich, vibrant shade of green. I was living in it, loving it and owning it.
Figure out what season you’re living in. Whether it’s a being single, being in school, being in career transition… you fill in the blank. Next, start intentionally embracing it! Choosing each day to live full of passion, excitement and opportunity. There is so much that we get presented with each day. We have to be willing to look for it and then go get it! Grab hold of life and squeeze every ounce out of it today. And then again tomorrow. All week in fact.
Developing a perspective of loving the season we’re in can be a little more challenging. It’s easy to look ahead to where we want to be. That grass over yonder can seem pretty green at times when your friends are out at dinner parties, or on Friday night and you’re at home. But maybe you could use that time to show your brown, patchy grass a little TLC. What if we worked on who we want to be, rather than who we wanted to be with and became someone that a beautiful lady or handsome gent could fall in love with? Frame your free time in a positive light and fall in love with it.
I can’t add much to that. Just own it! Walk confidently in who you are, what you’re about, and why you do what you do. If you don’t know the answers to those questions, figure them out. Even if it’s a little bit quirky, people will love seeing your confidence in owning your personality. Authenticity is gorgeous quality.
Seasons of transitions make for days and nights of thinking, dreaming, worrying and waiting. We’re all in different stages of life, yet still find ourselves transitioning in, out or I’m the middle of a season. As I’m coming to learn, the key to transitioning well is found in the details.
We want to know what our tomorrow will look like. We ask God to show us. We tell him our hearts desire and we think we’ve figured it out. Often we’ll even set a due date for when we want it to be accomplished. Surely if God loves us enough to die for us, then he’ll get on schedule with our little hopes and dreams right?
Sadly, when we’re in this position we’ve got it twisted. We’ve made the story all about us. And its never about us. Even when there are good, Godly things that are “our” desires… Its still about us. The heart issue that needs addressing is that we must become aligned with his desires for our hearts. We exist to bring HIM glory. That’s it. Sorry if it hurts your pride and ego a little. It did mine, to be real. But we’ve got to get over ourselves and walk in true humility if we will be used greatly by him. Once we’ve found that place, and know that our lives purpose is solely about pointing people to Him, it will not only takes all pressure off of us, but also allows our hearts to line up with his. When it’s not all about me, I can hear more clearly on the things he wants for me.
Until we get to this place, we’re missing the clarity of His voice. It’s like there is static on the line. We lack patience, because we can’t hear Him. We take a guess at what it might be he’s saying, but never walk in boldly knowing that we’ve heard from the Father. By not knowing his voice we miss out on the opportunity to earn his trust. You see, our father entrusts much to those of us whom he trusts. The breeding ground for that trust is in the details of today. If we know his voice today, and are obedient to what he calls us to, he’ll trust us with more tomorrow. For tomorrow isn’t promised. God’s already in tomorrow, but we only have today. Get in his presence today and earnestly seek him for the step he wants you to take. It may have nothing to do with tomorrow, but to hear his calling for your life tomorrow, it starts with knowing his voice today.
Hello and welcome to the fourth installment of Travel 12. If you’re just catching up here is the first post of the series. I’ve knocked off Greenville, Columbia and Charleston and the fourth trip was Miami. Honestly, it was a bit of a lofty dream that I would make it there before December 31st, but thanks to a fantastic group of friends and a very generous roommate, it become possible. Here’s a quick update on the fun:
Night one we went out for Sushi – decent views, right?
Day 2 we took a trip to South Beach to enjoy the ocean. Got pretty roasted in the sun, but it was well worth it. The people watching for the trip began here and continued on! Quite a different crowd.
View from the room was pretty strong come night time. Talking about night time, we headed back to South Beach that evening to a place called “Chalk”. We hung out in a private room playing ping-pong and watching the playoffs. It was brilliant. Action shots included.
This was an unreal appetizer from Sosta Pizza off of Lincoln St for my foodies… Seared, smoked mozzarella wrapped in prosciutto with balsamic, arugala and tomatoes.
Jon and Carly’s apartment had a decent view in either direction. I left wanting to have my own infinity pool.
…and possibly a Collins too. He’s the man.
Snuck in another trip in May… blog post to follow soon!
In 26 years, I’ve never placed such great significance on a Monday-Tuesday as I did this week. Days which have forever seemed mundane, unimportant and ordinary, became incredibly meaningful. They carried a weight as never before. As God radically flipped my life upside down, I saw one season close and another begin.
For a bit of back-story, I just completed a 40 day fast, and turned 26 in the process. I stepped away from facebook, twitter, linkedin, writing blogs… and it was fantastic. I had no idea God could and would do so much in such a short time.
I closed out my 25 years of life going harder than ever before. I’ve been more intentional than I knew I was capable of. It’s been an experience that has stretched me, and will continue to. I’ve learned a lot about myself and who my father says I am. Coming face to face with my sin was tough, and there’s a long way to go. But I’m glad to say there are greater days ahead. He tells me so in Deuteronomy 31:8.
I’m being called to many things in this coming season. Stewardship. Living intentionally. Being a pursuer of God’s presence. And more than anything else, to build a legacy. The time to change the world is now. There’s too much at stake to wait. It’s time to suit up for battle and get in the trenches. Here’s to 26. The greatest year of my life yet.
A few pictures from my birthday:
A few photos from my trip to the Mint Museum on my birthday…