The Treasures I Always Find by Domino Ireland
I am a world-class treasure finder. I am. I know this sounds arrogant, however it is true. Notice I didn’t say treasure hunter. The world is full of the amateur version of those and admittedly, I am fervent about being a good one, aspiring to be first-rate. However, me as a genuine pioneer of the treasures I speak of, I confidently look at my stock and declare that there is no better person for this title. Someone once expressed to me something from a quote I will never forget, “it ain’t bragging if it is true.” Agreed.
When I travel, I find new riches sometimes without even looking for them. I often solo adventure which affords me the opportunity for these things to happen. Unprotected by the support of others yet free to engage in the world around me, I can just be open to the notion that finding these types of treasures can simply happen. What treasures do I speak of?
Here is an example. A date is set. I’ll be on my way to some far off place, event or other planned adventure knowing that out there, right now, are people I will meet that I will truly connect with. And you know what, there is a very good chance I will gain a treasured friendship from that connection. They don’t know it yet, but I am wise to it. It has happened often. The treasure chest keeps filling up. Friendships. The most appreciated treasure of travel.
In March, 2005 I began the journey of my thru-hike on the Appalachian Trail. I remember the morning like it was yesterday, as if it has happened a million times. On that March 15th I stood alone near the sign that inspired me, located at the beginning of the “approach trail” at Amicalola Falls State Park in Georgia. I took a deep breath not knowing for sure what awaited me on the 6 month journey. But what I did know was this, that I would find treasures in friendships along the way.
Friendships. At my wedding in 2010, I had many friends and family from all eras of my life; fortunate by all standards when it comes to things of that nature. Over 25 people at my wedding came from all around the country as treasured friends that I found while on that amazing Appalachian hike in 2005. And, I have even since been the Best Man from a friendship that originated on that trip.
I often reflect back to a button that I’ve had for a very long time that reads: HELLO TO ALL THE FRIENDS I’VE YET TO MEET. That button is always in my vehicle’s console. It sits there as a worn reminder of the mentality I have that leads toward the treasures I will find. Or, the treasures that find me. The chest spills over, treasured relationships I’ll have for the rest of my life. We have laughed, cried, relied on each other, shared advice, shared homes, partied, went on other adventures, inspired each other and the list goes on and on. These are the types of treasures that you cannot put a price tag on or, ever afford to lose. We remind ourselves, through each other, of the greatness of humanity.
Being a finder of these treasures is not a right. It is not something you can practice for or take a course on “How to.” It is not a given. There are times when you are alone or with just a few friends you already have and that is all the treasure you need and it is enough. Alone or with others, with the right mind-set that the treasures of friendship will happen, you can be sure you are at least ready and open for these prized finds. Treasures finding is not for the closed mind.
All over the world there are folks from my traveling adventures that I will always call friends. The highest levels too. Not buddies, acquaintances, pals or associates. These are real, solidified and validated friendships. By sharing experiences, sharing time, sharing thoughts, sharing life and even sharing food, friendships are born as we circle the sun during our time on this planet. I know these friends will say the same for me. When one treasures friends, you must always remember to be a treasured friend.
These treasures are a connection, a shared “sameness” in thoughts. Though sometimes vastly different in age, culture, likes, styles, and back-in-the-real-world life, there are always many similarities in feelings, actions, morality and intent that solidifies a friendship. Occasionally it is almost instant. And sometimes a friendship is forged after enduring hours, days or weeks on end of some physical or mental challenge to reach a mutual goal.
On a recent unaccompanied bucket-list trip, I knew going in that I would be linked up with 11 other people on just the shear fact that we chose the same dates on a calendar, for whatever singular reasons. Sometimes, that is enough. You find that you make a choice(s) for the same rational as others just by looking at the days you prudently picked to do something. A friendship born of adventure is often a matter of dates chosen and not fates dealt. This recent trip would prove to be that of a world-class treasure finders dream. My calendar fills up with awaiting adventures that are hatched from the friendships of adventures past.
HELLO TO ALL THE FRIENDS I’VE YET TO MEET
Next year I have been asked to officiate (I do that) a 30 year anniversary renewal of vows ceremony in Las Vegas for a pair of new friends made on this bucket-list trip. I have a feeling that the other 9 people from that adventure will be there too. I feel very close to them after just a relatively short amount of days. Notice I said days, not time. The stint you spend with new friends on an epic trip can be amplified, drawn out and intense. You see all sides of a person, liking them for all they are without bias or prejudice. And they shine like the brightest gold. To the treasured friends I have met I say “Hello!’ once again.
So go out, treasure hunt and keep an open mind. The things you find might not be what you thought you were looking for, and they may turn out to be even more valuable. I’d be extremely happy if everyone was world-class in finding these special treasures.
The times you share later in life remind you of the true prize of being connected to people. No other cache can be more precious than friends.