Three-time volunteer Jim Gorski reveals why he says “yes” to opportunities despite uncertainty and discomfort about new experiences – and why he anticipates that discipline will be most important post-COVID-19.
By Jim Gorski, Global Volunteers Alumnus and Board of Directors Member
There will come a time when the pandemic recedes into the past and some form of normalcy will establish itself. That normalcy will include the opportunity to travel to faraway places again. This is my hope and prediction. When that time comes, I wish for all who long for learning and adventure the opportunity to wander.
A number of years ago, when I was visiting my parents in Wisconsin, I went out for a morning run. I encountered our elderly next-door neighbor, who had lived next to us forever. He was out for a walk, so I took a break from running and joined him. We talked about how life was playing out for each of us and the conversation turned to reflections on how we’ve lived our lives. He said he had never regretted the times he took a chance and acted on it. His regrets were all for the times when chances presented themselves and he did not take the risk.
It made me think of the times when an opportunity arose and I said, “Yes.” Like my neighbor I could not recall an instance when I took a chance and regretted it. There were times when those opportunities included difficulties, but still, no regrets. There also were times when, due to habit or fear, I did not reach out and take the opportunity offered. Of course, there were times when the responsible thing to do was to stay the course I was on. No regrets about those times. But the others, when I was fearful, or just unwilling to be a little uncomfortable, those are the ones that made me wonder, “What did I miss?”
Taking the first project trip with Global Volunteers was a time when my wife, Mary Lou, and I said “Yes.” Regrets? Not a one. It was the experience of a lifetime. I admit to some uncertainty when the chance to go to Tanzania arose. It was a long, complicated trip to a very remote location. But my wife and I said, “Yes.” The place and the people got into our hearts and filled us with wonder. We were recently invited to the wedding of two of the Reaching Children’s Potential (RCP) staff members. In normal times, we would have made every effort to attend that wedding in Dar es Salaam. We were sad that we had to say “No.”
Our most recent “Yes” was to Crete working with Samantha Hines Pinakoulaki in the English language program for school students. As with every other project, we left with connections to the place and the people and joy that we had taken the opportunity to go there. We have so many memories of our Global Volunteers trips that make us smile.
So when travel resumes and Global Volunteers’ projects open to volunteers once again, the right answer to the question “Should I go?” is YES! Saying “Yes” to travel, adventure, contributing to peace and connection with others is saying “Yes” to a well-lived life.
“So when travel resumes and Global Volunteers’ projects open to volunteers once again, the right answer to the question “Should I go?” is YES! Saying “Yes” to travel, adventure, contributing to peace and connection with others is saying “Yes” to a well-lived life.”– Jim Gorski
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