2. The Invitation

It was a summer evening in 2004 that the unfolding of this adventure began for me. Unbeknownst to be, my friends Luke, Brian, and Jim had been discussing plans for an epic cross-country road trip for some time by this point. (I later learned that Dan was the original mastermind and visionary.) We were at a gathering at a friend’s house when the three of them called me over saying they had a proposal for me. They explained that they were seriously discussing plans for a road trip out west the following summer. They wanted to know if I in.

Oh, I was in!

Three things immediately began happening inside of me at this point:

First, a great sense of belonging and inclusion filled my body. I admired these guys, and I still do. They remain some of the most inspirational people that I know. They all went to the same university together, while I attended another out of state. The three of them had a close long-term friendship that I was only privy to in the summer months or holidays when we all came home from school together. So to be included as the fourth member of this inner circle was a great honor. To be included meant they had thought about me and talked about me before. It made me feel “seen”. What a gift to feel seen!

The second thing that happened was a growing sense of intrigue that this was something that was actually going to be part of my life. A road trip. It is the quintessential example of freedom and adventure—the backdrop of so many stories, movies and Jack Kerouac books. And now a road trip was going to become part of my story. They weren’t talking about a weekend trip a few states away either. They were talking about weeks—weeks! They were talking about the great west and traveling around America. I could hardly contain myself.

The third thing that happened was that a process of internal questioning was triggered. It went something like, “Wait, you can just do that? You can just decided to take a couple weeks and go drive across the country?” It was the first time that I realized I could be intentional and say yes to the things that stirred my innermost being. I realized that nothing life-giving was likely to happen in my life unless I said yes to unique opportunities or unless I was intentional about identifying what it is that I want and played my part in realizing it. I didn’t just want life to merely happen to me—I wanted to participate in it as a coauthor. This invitation triggered all sorts of thoughts and possibilities within me. This invitation was a paradigm shift.

We brainstormed about who else would be part of this and in the end four more guys rounded out this band of idealistic, adventurous, and slightly naive road-trippers: Dan, Steve, Nathan, and Andy.

I couldn’t have been more thrilled to have this on my horizon. We were all in our young twenties. Eager to explore the world. Eager to see what we could do and where we could go. Eager to make this happen.

Next, we would have to plan.

Next – The Best Laid Plans of Mice and Men

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