3 thoughts on “What Have You Done That Was Inspired By Someone Else?”

  1. This one is easy. My cross-country bicycle trip — one of the highlights of my entire life — was inspired when my friend, Sheila Spitzak, hiked the Appalachian Trail over six months. Following her journey made me want to do something similar, although I’m not much of a hiker.

    I do, however, bike, and so the idea of a cross-country trip came into focus.

    And just as Sheila did with her thru-hike of the AT, I kept a blog of my experiences biking: https://bicyclee.wordpress.com/

  2. Phillip was not someone you’d think I’d be inspired by. He was part of a student-run, social justice organization I was part of in the early 90s. Our politics were different. I remember him as a naysayer. And he was definitely not someone I would start up a friendship with. That said, Phillip was a certified to independently parachute out of airplanes. He may, in fact, have been certified to do skydiving. I remember him talking about jumping out of a plane. I was mesmerized. I wanted to not be afraid of heights so that I could parachute as well.

    Years later, I had run several marathons and would continue doing so for a little while longer. But I wanted to do something else audacious. My mind quickly went to Phillip’s storytelling even though (luckily) we had not seen each other in years. I remember thinking that I needed to be okay with being scared if I also wanted to feel the rush Phillip said jumping out of a plane provided for him.

    And so in 2004, based on inspiration drawn from a person I really did not like, I jumped out of a plane (assisted, of course). Leading up to it, I got into a very, very small airplane in the company of five or six pros. Scooter, my assistant, would strap me to her so beyond me having the courage to jump, she would do the rest of the work. That meant I could just experience the rush of the jump.

    The step out of the plane was one of the scariest moments in my life. But once the free-fall began, I screamed with joy. It was a mix of adrenaline and peace at the same time. After what seemed like a couple of minutes of falling, the parachute was pulled, and I watched the ground ever so slowly get closer.

    I live to tell this story, base on inspiration from someone I really didn’t like. The lesson, I think, is to be open to inspiration wherever it comes from.

  3. My daughter moved from Illinois to Boston to do her graduate work and then stayed there after graduation. I did not have such an adventure early in life, and as I was ending my teaching career I wanted a like adventure. So I moved to Belmont and began a 3 and 1/3 year adventure for myself. Having Bethany so close was wonderful, but I made my own way, made great friends, and had so many memorable experiences living and exploring in a new area of the country.

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