The best things I learned from my dog about life & travel

I’ve often said that dogs are some of the best people I know.  Yeah, I realize that doesn’t make much sense.  That fact aside, it’s true.  They make incredible companions and are amazing teachers.  I had my Marley and me lifestyle cut short, while abroad.  Through the patchy wifi, my housesitter and friend was only able to get the words, you need to call the vet right away through to my facebook inbox.  the news was tragic nad sliced through the heart of my trip to thailand.  Having dealt somewhat with the loss, I turned to writing to share some of many lessons my dog Marley taught me.

sniff a few butts here and there 

sniff some butts

I don’t mean this literally, but if it’s you’re thing..well…do what you gotta do.  What I’m getting at here is that dogs approach one another with a kind of cautious optimism. They give everyone a chance, sniff a little and move on.  Dogs don’t look across the park to determine who will be a good playmate, they need more information to make that decision.  Take a minute to get to know someone a little.  I promise you’ll be surprised how you’re perception isn’t always reality.

walk, run, play

walk,run, play

Dogs need relatively little to be happy.  Love comes first, food, shelter and exercise.

A guaranteed way to improve your life and travels is to get and stay active.  Rather than hopping on that bus for a tour, try renting a bike, or better yet walk around and see what life is really like.  Do you go for runs back home?  Bring some runners in your backpack, lace em’ up and jog in the morning before the heat really kicks in.  It’ll keep you healthy and help counteract some of the effects of all those beers from the night or two earlier when things got a little out of control.  Not to mention that depending on where you are, ending your run by diving into the ocean is hsa to be the best way to cool off.

the present is a present

live everyday like your last

Fact: Dogs are awesome.  They don’t sweat yesterday or stress about tomorrow.  They have the gift of living in the here and now.  Be like a dog and live in this moment cause once its gone, its gone.  Smell the roses, sit quietly alone at sunrise, realize how small you are in this world and how this universe lives within you.

trust your instincts

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We all have ’em, but we don’t always use ’em.  Years of evolution have given us the ability to detect danger, and many more subtle things. Trust your gut when selecting places to stay, places to party, and people to spend time around (locals and travelers alike)  This is pretty easy to do as for the most part people you’ll meet are good and mean well.  Most places you go, the locals are proud of their culture and want to show you the very best of what their country has to offer.  But on occasion you’re sure to come across some unsavory characters.  Therefore, when you get that rare feeling that something just ain’t right don’t act immediately, but be aware of what your body is telling you and proceed with some caution.

smile and wag your tail often.

snow day

We can’t wag our tails, but we can smile until it hurts.  Did you know that physiologically, the act of smiling release hormones that lead to even more feelings of happiness.  Its the complete opposite of a vicious cycle.  Pretty weird and awesome huh? So keep smiling.  Beyond what it does for your mind is how it can make a good trip a great trip. Smiling is contagious and conducive to good times.  If you’re away from home long enough, you’ll eventually crave some company.  the easiest route to good times and good company is simple. Open up, be inviting and wag your tail.  You’ll be amazed what adventures that simple act can spark. 

home is where the heart is

bedtime

Dogs don’t care about their address.  In fact, they don’t even know their address, or even what an address is.  Dogs consider home to be the place where they have love, comfort and familiarity.  Don’t lose your connections to home.  Keep in touch with family and friends.  Time and distance are barriers that can easily be under estimated, but trust me on this they are real and potentially damaging to relationships you value.  You don’t have to talk often. After all, people have lives to live but check in on occasion and try not to dominate the conversation.  You never know when you’ll need someone to bail you out of a Turkish prison.

 everything is temporary

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Everything is temporary and life is fragile. Make plans for the future but don’t forget to enjoy everything you have and see right now in exactly the way it is right now.

Marley was without a doubt the best pup I could have ever been paired with for the past eight crazy years. Full of life and love, hopelessly enthusiastic, playful and gentle.  So much he taught, so many he loved.  My life is richer for having had him and a day doesn’t pass that I don’t think of him.  Everything is temporary, so enjoy what you do, who you’re with and where you are.  Mend fences when you’ve wronged you’re neighbor and never harbor anger in your heart.  It limits your capacity to love and live for today.

What has your dog taught you?

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