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Finding My Way to Paradise Falls

kawaiidaigakusei at 12:00AM, July 11, 2016

I was feeling emotional a few nights ago, so I did what I normally do in this situation–I went on YouTube and watched clips from sad children's movies. I picked the intro montage from Disney Pixar's UP as my poison of choice and it did the job. The montage tells a story about Carl and Ellie's life together, from their wedding to Ellie's death. Yet, one of the saddest parts of the story that gets me every time is how the two characters save up money for a dream vacation to Paradise Falls in Venezuela only to dive into their savings whenever their needs outweigh their wants. The couple faced a flat tire on their car, hospital bills for a broken leg, and a tree falling on their home and each time they dipped into their savings and spent the money that was supposed to go towards their dream vacation.

This story brought on a whole new meaning when I unsuccessfully tried to start my car Wednesday evening leaving me stranded in a dark parking lot waiting one hour for roadside assistance to jump start my car. I came to the conclusion that my car's battery was nearly dead and needed to be replaced when it stalled a second time Saturday night right after I left work and was all by myself at a gas station. The scene was the perfect set up for a horror movie, but I was able to get out of that situation from the assistance of a helpful stranger who offered to jump start my car without asking for anything in return. But as I drove home that evening knowing that I would have to dip into my own savings in order to purchase a new car battery the next morning, I felt I was heading down the path to make the same mistakes that Carl and Ellie made in UP.

There are always going to be bills. Car batteries die and need to be replaced, objects will break that require fixing, and a lot of the time, a dream vacation is one of the first items up on the chopping block. One of the tragedies in UP is that (spoiler) Ellie never makes it to Paradise Falls. So after some serious contemplation (and sitting in a car running an engine for thirty minutes to ensure the battery charges enough to make it to the mechanic the next morning allows an ample amount of time to think), I finally woke up to a moment of clarity and decided that in order to have amazing adventures in this life, I need to go to my version of “Paradise Falls” before it is too late.

That night I went back to my room and purchased a round trip plane ticket to a country I have never been, on a continent that I used to live, and I am going to be traveling solo with less than eleven pounds in my backpack (hint: I have a connecting flight in Reykjavik, Iceland). I am excited and terrified and I have all the emotions that one might have before traveling to the other side of the world alone for the first time. I am definitely going to need to brush up on my foreign language skills.

If there is anything the fictional characters in UP have taught me, it is this: cars break and there are bills to pay, but never let that be the excuse that prevents you from traveling the world.

Oh yeah, I ended up spending the whole morning at the AutoShop buying a brand new car battery to prevent any car failures in the near future, so it is not like I really had to pick between my “needs” and “wants”. I still need to drive to work and bills will always need to be paid. I made a promise to the helpful stranger that I would get my car fixed first thing in the morning. Take a few moments to do nice things for other people, you are bound to make someone's day better.


The Understanding by Call Me Tom has reached 25 pages!!


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KimLuster at 6:31PM, July 11, 2016

Soooo very true...!! There always a reason, a ready excuse, to avoid doing ANYTHING!! Don't let it stop you!!

Banes at 8:11AM, July 11, 2016

Coming soon from Pixar: Kawaii's Excellent Nordic Adventure

Banes at 6:42AM, July 11, 2016

Seeing your insights and how you approach life is inspiring! Funny, I was thrilled for you for booking that trip but kept thinking "but you need a car battery, too!" Just like UP, your story delivered everything this audience member wanted by the end. .xD

Bruno Harm at 5:00AM, July 11, 2016

I've heard it said that fond memories bring you more happiness than any material possessions. I'm still in debt from my family's trip to Germany last spring, but since my wife almost died last summer, and it could have been our last trip together ever, I regret nothing. Plus, an $80,000 dollar hospital bill really puts the money thing into new perspective. It can all be taken away tomorrow. Have fun on your trip!

Ozoneocean at 4:44AM, July 11, 2016

Awesome story Kawaii! Yes, needs and wants... Horrible to have to choose between them, but it's "needs" every time.

PaulEberhardt at 2:45AM, July 11, 2016

Indeed. Sometimes you've just got to do it, even if the whole world seems to be intent on discouraging you with money, time, work, appointments, whatever (or the lack thereof). It's the only way to get anywhere close to where you want to be.

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