Ken Donaldson is Trippin’ 2014: Ending the Old, Starting the New and Heading Into the Great Unknown

I took a road trip the last week of 2013 and into the first week of 2014. Yes, I was trippin’ (again) and it was a much-needed break. I sometimes don’t realize how much I need a vacation until I’m actually away (vacated) and on the road.

I covered a little over 3500 miles in a 30’ rented Recreational Vehicle…Someplace new and different every day…Very exciting, refreshing and energizing. Click here to see the music video slide show (with a lot of assistance from Bruce Springsteen).

And, yes, I did go by myself. That seems to be one of the first questions people ask and they often give me a strange look when I share about my solitary trippin’. Oh, actually that would be, my camera and me. It seems that I find God through the lens of my camera, so I have named these trips “photographic vision quests.” And they are very spiritually renewing for me.

But this trip added another element: People. Not that people aren’t ever around for my trips, but I don’t usually pay much attention to them and often will go an entire day without speaking to someone.

This time, however, I made a conscious choice, and set a clear intention, to be more interactive, and I’m glad I did. I met some of the friendliest, funniest and most sincere people.

I also connected with some old friends and family (they are not actually old, just that I haven’t seen them in a while). The highlight was connecting with a high school buddy whom I hadn’t seen in 34 years. I also got to visit with a cousin who is truly my soul sister.

I realized that I can share my solitude and that adds to the wholeness of the experience.

You’d think a relationship specialist would already know this, right? Well, I’m still learning and discovering blind spots in my life.

The whole trip was revitalizing for me. I didn’t realize how “crispy” (a.k.a. “burned out”) I’d become. In addition to my mental health counseling practice and speaking/training business, I have been through a lot of changes over the last three years.

As you might know my dad’s health declined in early 2011 and then he passed in August 2011. I was immediately thrust into the role of overseeing my then 86-year-old mom, as well as dealing with my own grief and all the legal matters of dad’s passing.

It seems that two years flew right by and before I knew it I was finding an assisted living facility for my mom this past fall. Then it was selling her condo and finding a home for all her years of collecting “stuff” (a LOT of stuff!)

Then Besa, my furry companion for the last ten years, passed in November.

Tough stuff, all this change, loss and grief…BIG dose of Life 101 too.

Anyways, I neglected myself along the way without realizing it. Started to feel tired all the time, grouchy and irritable. All signs of burnout for me.

So, I decided a get-away would be good. I have taken numerous trips like this in the past, probably 10-12 times, all with the same results: I feel recharged, refreshed and renewed, plus I come back with some great new photographic images.

This recent trip was no different. I feel more centered, present, alive and awake now.

All of which brings me to a question for you: When is the last time you went “trippin’” just for yourself?

This might sound selfish, especially if you have family, but it also might be one of the greatest gifts you can give to others.

Think about it, and maybe I’ll see you somewhere down the line as our mutual trippin’ trips cross paths.

My wish for you in 2014: Prepare for change (because life is always changing), adapt to the unexpected (because few things are truly predictable) and succeed in however you define success (Hint: it’s probably more about happiness and relationships than titles and material things).

 Today is a GREAT day to Marry YourSelf First!

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