Ryan Ray: The Man Walking Across America

Ryan Ray: The Man Walking Across America

The Life Lesson We Need
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Have you ever thought about doing something? Something crazy ambitious? Well... WHY DIDN'T YOU? I'll tell you why, because we spend our lives with an understanding that there is a specific way to live life and to succeed. That isn't the case, and if there is something your soul is craving to do, you won't be happy until you do it.

Ryan Ray taught me this lesson while I learned about his journey of walking across America. Yes, you read that correctly. At 35 years old, Ryan packed up his LA life and decided to do what his wanderlust soul wanted to do so badly: explore his own country and to get a human perspective on the people of America. He had no clue how much he would inspire and impact the people he met.

Throughout his life, Ryan has struggled in keeping his passion for traveling in his everyday life. For quite some time, Ryan was working in LA at a corporate office, he thought that was what he wanted. As a child living in Oklahoma, Ryan shocked his mom when he told her that he wanted to be a millionaire when he grew up.

The first time Ryan took a journey was across France and Spain. During this journey he found that his three greatest passions were speaking, writing and traveling. He went back to LA and ended up back in the same job, doing the same things he wanted to get away from. One day on a jog to the gym Ryan saw the horizon and thought to himself, "I wanna keep going." but he went to the gym and didn't think twice about his inner thoughts. And then something amazing happened, he received a phone call from a friend telling him about a man walking across America, that really got Ryan's wheels turning!

So it began, Ryan decided to make a map and walk across America, starting in Los Angeles and ending in New York. He created a website and an application where families could apply to host Ryan for the evening (my family did this and it was awesome!) Doing this allowed Ryan to really deface the stereotypes of people around the country. While us southerners might have a draw, we are just as kind as anyone else! Ryan realized that all through America are amazing people with "pure hearts of gold".

The biggest obstacle to overcome in a journey of this nature is the feeling of defeat. Ryan conquered this with one mantra, "I believe that we should never take an action unless we feel inspired". At one time, Ryan became ill on his journey and didn't feel inspired to continue, so he took time to recuperate and once he felt inspired again he got up and continued walking.

On his journey back home to LA, Ryan will be speaking at different stops along his trip. He will be talking about clarity, courage and confidence and how big of a role these three traits have in our lives.

This amazing journey Ryan went on shows that we can all live the life we want to live. We don't have to quit our jobs, but we should be sure we are living life with a true passion for what we are doing. Thank you, Ryan for inspiring myself and so many others to live life full of passion and inspiration...and of course, thanks for trying to be a Gam for a day!

xoxo,

Sidney

PS- follow his journey on www.walk2ny.com


Cover Image Credit: Michele Durham

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It's Time To Thank Your First Roommate

Not the horror story kind of roommate, but the one that was truly awesome.
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Nostalgic feelings have recently caused me to reflect back on my freshman year of college. No other year of my life has been filled with more ups and downs, and highs and lows, than freshman year. Throughout all of the madness, one factor remained constant: my roommate. It is time to thank her for everything. These are only a few of the many reasons to do so, and this goes for roommates everywhere.

You have been through all the college "firsts" together.

If you think about it, your roommate was there through all of your first college experiences. The first day of orientation, wishing you luck on the first days of classes, the first night out, etc. That is something that can never be changed. You will always look back and think, "I remember my first day of college with ____."

You were even each other's first real college friend.

You were even each other's first real college friend.

Months before move-in day, you were already planning out what freshman year would be like. Whether you previously knew each other, met on Facebook, or arranged to meet in person before making any decisions, you made your first real college friend during that process.

SEE ALSO: 18 Signs You're A Little Too Comfortable With Your Best Friends

The transition from high school to college is not easy, but somehow you made it out on the other side.

It is no secret that transitioning from high school to college is difficult. No matter how excited you were to get away from home, reality hit at some point. Although some people are better at adjusting than others, at the times when you were not, your roommate was there to listen. You helped each other out, and made it through together.

Late night talks were never more real.

Remember the first week when we stayed up talking until 2:00 a.m. every night? Late night talks will never be more real than they were freshman year. There was so much to plan for, figure out, and hope for. Your roommate talked, listened, laughed, and cried right there with you until one of you stopped responding because sleep took over.

You saw each other at your absolute lowest.

It was difficult being away from home. It hurt watching relationships end and losing touch with your hometown friends. It was stressful trying to get in the swing of college level classes. Despite all of the above, your roommate saw, listened, and strengthened you.

...but you also saw each other during your highest highs.

After seeing each other during the lows, seeing each other during the highs was such a great feeling. Getting involved on campus, making new friends, and succeeding in classes are only a few of the many ways you have watched each other grow.

There was so much time to bond before the stresses of college would later take over.

Freshman year was not "easy," but looking back on it, it was more manageable than you thought at the time. College only gets busier the more the years go on, which means less free time. Freshman year you went to lunch, dinner, the gym, class, events, and everything else possible together. You had the chance to be each other's go-to before it got tough.

No matter what, you always bounced back to being inseparable.

Phases of not talking or seeing each other because of business and stress would come and go. Even though you physically grew apart, you did not grow apart as friends. When one of you was in a funk, as soon as it was over, you bounced right back. You and your freshman roommate were inseparable.

The "remember that one time, freshman year..." stories never end.

Looking back on freshman year together is one of my favorite times. There are so many stories you have made, which at the time seemed so small, that bring the biggest laughs today. You will always have those stories to share together.

SEE ALSO: 15 Things You Say To Your Roommates Before Going Out

The unspoken rule that no matter how far apart you grow, you are always there for each other.

It is sad to look back and realize everything that has changed since your freshman year days. You started college with a clean slate, and all you really had was each other. Even though you went separate ways, there is an unspoken rule that you are still always there for each other.

Your old dorm room is now filled with two freshmen trying to make it through their first year. They will never know all the memories that you made in that room, and how it used to be your home. You can only hope that they will have the relationship you had together to reflect on in the years to come.


Cover Image Credit: Katie Ward

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Your Happiness Is The Reality You've Created

A formula for true happiness.

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We live in a world of inevitable comparison. We check social media and see the best moments of our friends' lives - big weddings, new houses, exotic vacations. We watch TV and are bombarded by things that we can't afford - the latest technology, fancy clothes, expensive cars. We go to work and hear stories of our coworkers' success - this person got a huge raise, this person bought a new boat, this person lost 10 pounds.

The 21st century is a time like never before. We are constantly being exposed to the highlights of other people's lives, but our minds often fail to realize what highlights actually are. Life has its ups and its downs and highlights focus solely on the ups. Our minds tend to disregard the fact that everyone, without exception, has their own problems to deal with. This can subconsciously push us to shift our expectations based on our perceived, fictional view of other people's lives. Heightened expectations can result in sadness and disappointment.

Here's a simple anecdote to put this theory into perspective. Let's say you're looking to buy a puppy and there's a new breed that you have your eye on. In one instance, your friends all tell you that this new breed is overrated. It's difficult to train, barks a lot, chews up anything and everything - 3/10. You get the puppy, expecting the worst, and are happily surprised that he's calm, sweet, and gentle - 7/10. Your satisfaction increases by 133%.

In another instance, your friends tell you that this new breed is spectacular, obedient, and friendly - 9/10. You get the puppy, with high hopes, and are disappointed that he pees everywhere and doesn't like children and other dogs - 7/10. Your satisfaction decreases by 22%. In both cases, the puppy remains the same, but your perspective shifts. The more you expect, the more likely you are to be unhappy.

Comparison may be inevitable, but it's also controllable. Instead of comparing ourselves to others, we should focus on comparing ourselves to our past selves. We should compare the person we are today to the person we were a year ago, a month ago, a week ago, or even just a day ago. Self-improvement is how true happiness is found. Happiness isn't just something that we stumble upon - it's something that we work towards.

Let's say that it has always been your dream to be an English teacher. You go to college and realize that the classes are a lot more difficult than you expected them to be. Everyone else seems to be getting better grades, having more fun, and succeeding at a higher rate than you. Instead of comparing yourself to others, which will surely lead you down a path of disappointment, you should develop a plan for self-improvement. How will you develop better study techniques? How will you learn to manage your time better? How will you get better grades next semester compared to this semester?

You probably won't graduate with all A's like others in your class, and that's a pointless expectation to create for yourself. At the end of four years, you can take pride in the fact that you got smarter, your grades got better, and eventually, you became an English teacher. This is where true happiness lies. Happiness equals reality minus expectations. You're in charge of creating a reality and controlling your expectations.

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