Guest Post ‘Why Timelines are Needed on Someday Projects’

Brilliant Guest Post Exclusively for Enlightened Globetrekker

by David Knapp-Fisher

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Why Timelines are needed on “Someday” Projects

When I was eight, the Navy posted my Dad in the south of England; and before we knew it, our stuff was packed and we were all on a plane over the Atlantic, headed to our new home. Actually, it wasn’t completely foreign; since both my parents were ex-pats, the move meant they’d be close to various relatives scattered all around the country, something that pleased them all to no end. In addition, Dad’s brother lived in Holland, so every once in a while we’d cross the English Channel to go visit Ted, and then Amsterdam – in that order. Looking back, I’m pretty sure my life-long “love affair” with world travel was born during these years living in/visiting Europe.

After three years were up, the Navy returned us to Canada; and in no time I longed for the interesting and unique cultures I’d left behind… The Fish & Chips! The trips to London & Amsterdam! Those crazy English & Dutch accents – I missed them all! Recognizing we wouldn’t be returning anytime soon, I decided to go back on my own one day – a plan that actually stood the test of time! Yep, thirteen years later (1985) I flew back to England, and began a 3-month backpacking adventure, visiting 9 countries! Besides England & Holland, I went to Denmark, Greece, and a bunch of countries in between. The trip was awesome, and I vowed to return again, someday.

December 1995: On this day my son Tristan (“T”) was born; and man, was I ever excited to finally become a dad! Besides, being an avid traveller, all I could think about was a future of world travel with my boy at my side! I was excited for a time when we’d see amazing sights and share incredible experiences while traveling the world together; and with Europe already on the radar, I pledged that someday it would become the first destination we’d travel to together.

June, 2000: Something unexpected happened; Tristan had been struggling physically to keep up with other kids, so we took him to a doctor. That day he was diagnosed with Duchene Muscular Dystrophy, a degenerative disease that had been wasting away his muscles since birth, and was making it hard for him to walk. The diagnosis brought to light something else: Within five years Tristan would be unable to walk, or take care of himself. My dream of “Father and Son” travel hit a major brick wall; and now – with the clock ticking – I knew if it was going to happen, it had to be soon.

At the time, I was financially unstable, recovering from an expensive divorce; but with this new development, none of it seemed to matter anymore. I was now on a mission: In the short time life had allotted us, I WAS going to take Tristan on a European adventure; in other words, “someday” now needed to have an exact date.

Not long afterwards (and in a stroke of luck!) I met and married Paula, an Aussie who shared my passion for hard work and travel. She was excited to join us in our quest, and so with everything falling into place, we began figuring out how to manifest the epic “European Adventure” I’d always dreamed of taking… someday.

We ran the numbers, and figured that our month-long dream trip had a price tag of around $18K; worse still, by this time, we only had a couple years left to make it happen! We began working every angle possible to (a) earn more, and (b) save the large sum of money we needed – Heck, we even lived in a 420 sq. ft. apartment to save on rent! It all worked out, and we hit our target 18 months later; all that was left to do was pack our bags, and jump on a plane. Tristan was 8 ½ years old.

July 2004: “Someday” finally arrived! We boarded a plane and flew into Rome; this was the first of 16 cities in 7 countries we visited, being: Italy, Austria, Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Holland, France and England. We saw and did the most incredible things, like feeding pigeons in the Piazza de St Marco, taking a gondola trip through the canals of Venice, touring the Eiffel Tower and Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris… Heck, Tristan and I were even able to “sneak” in pint together in a London pub!

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Since his muscles were rapidly deteriorating, T was often tired and therefore spent much of the time riding on our shoulders. Unfortunately, while in Austria he tripped and fell, landing headfirst onto a marble floor, resulting in the biggest lump on any head I’ve ever seen. It was pretty scary – I felt helpless, panicked, and wondered if taking the trip was a huge mistake? The doctor soon arrived, and after calming me down, prescribed two aspirin, a cold compress and a good night’s sleep. He cautioned us that Tristan was very weak and could easily fall again, so we needed to be extra careful with him. Despite all he was going through physically, Tristan was a trooper; never once did he stray from his trademark “Rock Star” can-do attitude.

The last leg of our journey went without a hitch, (meaning no more tumbles) and included visiting my childhood home in England, a hovercraft ride to the Isle of Wight, and a few days in Amsterdam. With our holiday wrapping up, we were excited to get back home, and proud we’d completed such an epic journey; a journey, it turned out, to be bittersweet. Just two weeks after arriving home, Tristan fell again, only this time he never got up. He has used a wheelchair ever since.

Two Weeks. I still can’t believe it – two weeks after the biggest event of his life, Tristan’s legs stopped working for good. When this happened, something became crystal clear to me: If we’d not made this trip a priority, or didn’t apply ourselves to every aspect of the project, or just waited for “someday” to take this trip, the fact is that it never would have happened; and if that were the case, Tristan would have lost the only opportunity he’d ever get – in his whole life – to see the world.

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If I learned one thing from our experience, it’s this: If there’s something – anything – that any of us wants to have, do or learn in our lives, the time to get on with it is right now, TODAY – because none of us know what tomorrow will bring. Things put off until “someday” usually all fall under the same category, which is never.

And that’s the point: If we truly want to have, do or learn something “someday”, then we need a plan, AND a timeline for completion. Otherwise it’s not a goal; it’s just a hope or a wish; oh yeah – and an opportunity lost.

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Visit and Follow David’s Travel Life Blog at www.davidknappfisher.com

Gracias David for sharing your powerful story and inspiring lesson!!

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