“How far we travel in life matters far less than those we meet along the way.”

Over the past 10 days I’ve had the pleasure of traveling through Orange County, onto Chicago, and eastwards to Annapolis (with a small Pittsburgh interlude). As I bear down to my last 24 hours, I’m now heading off to New York City for a final goodbye, and then homewards bound onto the Mother City.

As depressing as goodbyes are (in all their various incarnations), one thing this “farewell” tour has taught me is how the quality of my life is merely a reflection of all the amazing relationships I have with so many wonderful people.  “No man is a failure who has friends”.

When I first started this American chapter in 2006, I would never have imagined the incredible journey this adventure would turn into. What originally started as a 6 week California water polo trip (hosted by the El Rancho Randazzo) turned into a year long californication treatment procedure with El Modena HS and then later South Irvine WPC. It then morphed into a 3 year tour of duty with ASU Clapper company in the Afghan I mean Tempe desert.

In the trenches throughout my journey I fought with, for and against many people I will forever consider heroes. Some passed through quickly like a hurricane, while others were stubbornly there day in day out. I got no regrets about anything (well maybe betting against the Penguins).

To everybody I met along the way – THANK YOU for everything and anything. I hope our paths cross again sometime soon – preferably sooner than some of you care, hope or wish for.

Totsiens, sien jou later (Goodbye, see you soon). Come by and visit anytime.

Ryan

“Adventure is a path. Real adventure – self-determined, self-motivated, often risky – forces you to have firsthand encounters with the world. The world the way it is, not the way you imagine it. Your body will collide with the earth and you will bear witness. In this way you will be compelled to grapple with the limitless kindness and bottomless cruelty of humankind – and perhaps realize that you yourself are capable of both. This will change you. Nothing will ever again be black-and-white.” – Mark Jenkins

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