Last Thursday morning, the upcoming week was looking very ordinary. Our big goal was to bust out a lot of work in order to have things in tip-top condition before taking off for over a month of awesome travel. Easy. That quickly changed when – on that Thursday afternoon – we got an irresistible offer and decided to bolt down to Los Angeles for a long weekend. It was time to, once again, put on our last-minute-travel-expert hats.
When an opportunity to travel comes up, we can pretty easily kick into high gear. More and more, we know what we want out of life. We have a decent handle on what we want to make happen and what to let go. If something falls in our "pocket" – travel, giving back, tech, music, fitness, food, etc. – we're all over it. With a passion.
Fueled by a large dose of that passion, the logistics of LA came together pretty quickly. We used some of our Alaska Air miles for the trip down and planned to use a "buddy pass" for the return trip. We jumped on Priceline to secure a hotel and ended up with a 4-star for about $100 - not bad for Oscar weekend. We planned to rely on Metro for transportation (yes, LA has a Metro!) so didn't need to bother with a car. By Thursday evening, we were ready to take off on Saturday morning.
The next few days were all of the sudden looking a lot different than planned. We could not have been happier.
We love us some Oprah. She gives her voice to the ghosts of society and inspires people to think critically. We won her "ticket lottery" and ended up getting seats to her post-Oscar show at the Kodak Theater. We weren't about to miss it.
We had to jump through some tedious hoops – such as getting up at 3:30 a.m. – to make it happen, but we had a great time. More than that, though, we learned a lot about ourselves (and others) from the entire whirlwind experience.
What we learned:
Because of the kind of work we do (Human Resources) and because we started a virtual business (in order to pursue our dream life), we often get asked about happiness in life and in work. A few weeks back, we wrote about how important it is to get in touch with your strengths and natural talents. If you're not using 'em, you'll probably never feel 100% in sync.
Our LA / Oprah experience reminded us of another key part of the happiness equation. Passion. It's healthy to know what you stand for / care about and to pursue it boundlessly – despite what others will tell you along the way.
We're passionate about travel (and Oprah), so we made this short-notice, Los Angeles weekend happen. Strengths based living + passion = a pretty awesome work and personal life. Many people are clear on one or the other but not both. We use our natural strengths to do work we love, which enables us to pursue things that we are passionate about.
Down in Los Angeles for Oscar weekend, we spent a lot of time roaming around Hollywood checking things out. We met a lot of movie fanatics. For example, film buffs who could recite every nominee and people who went through the near pornographic LAPD pat-downs in order to get close to the celebrity action.
At Oprah's show, we were surrounded by people with unrestrained enthusiasm. Before the show started, the audience coordinator led us in jumping up and down, rocking back and forth and fist pumping like it was nobody's business. We thought the theater might crumble to the ground from all of the commotion.
It's cool and inspiring to be around people who care about something – and who might even be a bit crazy about it. People who know who they are and what they like are interesting. We met a woman from Tennessee who had to drive an hour to find Internet access in order to finalize the details of her trip to LA. She wasn't going to miss going. We gave her a big "HOW COOL!"
We bump into a lot of people of say "Why would you do that?" when we describe any number of aspects of our life. We ignore them and head for the people that say "How cool!"
Our last minute travel adventure and trip to Oprah's show reminded us of the importance of passion and, yes, even a bit of fanaticism. We own it.
What has passion and fanaticism taught you?