Amerigo Vespucci vs. Christopher Columbus

Waking up early doesn't happen enough... but when it does I try and let it lead me.

One of the friends that has been a true inspiration to me is Bryan. When we met we shared a cynical disdain for accepting life for what it gives us. Both of us seemed to be searching for some answers to life's most important questions:

1. Who am I?
2. Who is God, really and where do I stand with him?
3. What am I going to do when I grow up?

Bryan has been an inspiration because he has pursued the answers with seemingly greater commitment than I. (Grant me an 8 month offset for a financial meltdown, and he is still ahead in the race.)

I'll blog another time about the importance of surrounding ourselves with people that will make us better... this whole intro is actually intended to lead into my topic: Amerigo Vespucci vs. Christopher Columbus.

It all started when Bryan created a list of 17 goals he would accomplish. There is no question in my mind that he will accomplish all of them. One night at the gym he recited all 17 goals to me, and I was (as I often am by my friends) inspired once again.

It is far from my place to list HIS goals, but since I have adopted a handful of them as my own, I will name 3 of the goals I adopted.

1. To walk 50 miles in 20 hours or less.
2. To complete the Mongol Rally.
3. To run a full Marathon.

Each of these goals deserves a Blog all its own.

I am very proud to say that #1 (Walk 50 miles in 1 day) is DONE! That is right, I was a participant with Bryan, Mya, Ken, Heather, Cherie, Phil, Jason & Charlie in the first ever PROTOSA. This blog may be the first ever public online record of the event which was founded by Bryan Miller.

We walked 50 Miles (actual mileage probably more like 52+/-) from the Provo Temple, to the Salt Lake Temple. I will blog about this later, but it was an incredible and unforgettable life experience. I can not wait to do it again next year.

#2 on the list of goals adopted from Bryan is the Mongol Rally.

A quick overview of the rally: Participants drive (for charity) from London to Mongolia in a car with no greater than a 1 Liter engine, and have an adventure of a lifetime along the way. Visit the website and read about it!

Excitement to participate in this event is an understatement. Thoughts of the Mongol Rally have flooded my subconscious for several weeks. I have spent more than an hour on multiple occasions visiting Google and looking over different routes that might be selected. Thoughts about the vehicles we will drive, what might happen, countries to visit, I've even pictured myself coming home to my wife and kids... all kinds of things.

In the course of contemplating, discussing and planning these seemingly ostentatious and would-be self centered undertakings Bryan discovered another incredible adventure, called LONG WAY ROUND.

Ewan McGregor and 3 Friends simply decided to ride their motorcycles nearly around the world, and document the trip. They travel from London across Europe into Asia across Russia, driving North and literally crossing from Russia to Alaska. They finish by driving from Alaska through Canada, the U.S. and finally end in New York City. INCREDIBLE

This has awakened my mind to ideas I have not had since I was learning about Christopher Columbus and Amerigo Vespucci in the 8th Grade.

So when I woke up early, I had dreamed of a route around the world that I would drive. I would play COPY CAT cat to Ewan McGregor and his pals, and plot a route all my own. I dreamed of Amerigo Vespucci and Christopher Columbus.

Consider these thought for a moment: Christopher Columbus was the first, and greatest explorer. He risked all. He discovered the New World.

So what about the rest of the explorers, like Amerigo Vespucci? Were they not just COPY CATS themselves? Once the New World was discovered, what else was there but to copy? Did'nt these explorers literally attempt to copy Columbus?

Haven't I, literally done nothing more than copy Bryan for his goals?

So this pondering sets the stage for where my brain was at when I fell asleep.

Upon waking I had dreamed about my route around the world. I had dreamed of Columbus & Amerigo Vespucci. So I woke up and googled Vespucci and found the following article. What a fun and interesting article about how How America Got It's Name. I encourage you to read it when you have time:


So now that I have had a day to reflect on these thoughts, and how they may (or may not) relate to my quest to become great, please allow me to conclude:

Great men often mimic, even copy the great actions of other great men.

This "Copy Cat" behavior may seem at first to be less than inspiring to the sideline observer... but contemplated it. Did Abraham Lincoln not read and study the works of George Washington? Can we suppose that Michael Jordan did not aspire to some day reach the level of Dr. J, and some of the other Greats? How many incredible parents have become so because they were emulating their own parents or grandparents... etc.

I don't believe that it is a venture outside the realm of probability to say that Columbus himself aspired to be like some other great hero sailor/explorer of his time.

So in my quest to climb this everest... I will try to be like Bryan. I'll even take some of his goals as my very own. In the end if we walk 50 miles together, it is an accomplishment that still required me to put one foot in front of the other until I had finished, as it did him.

I will gladly work someone else's idea, and try to improve upon it for my own. I will seek knowledge and understanding from the teachings and lessons of other teachers, and simultaneously attempt to share what I am learning in my own way with others...

These actions alone surely do not GREATNESS make - but they probably don't hurt our chances either.

After all - consider Vespucci's outcome:

Christopher Columbus has now and will always have international renown. Every school child makes the little Nina, Pinta and Santa Maria out of construction paper. Every person in America can recite "in fourteen hundred and ninety two, Columbus sailed the ocean blue" and so on. I've always been inspired by Columbus. He is celebrated all over the world. Each year Columbus has his very own day, and we revere him.

But for Vespucci you have to admit - having a little continent named America be named after YOU is a pretty remarkable accomplishment.

P.S. If anyone knows the name of the very first explorer to sail all the way around the world, please let me know.

1 comment:

  1. Keep Writing, I like it!
    I use my blog to help keep friends and family up to date, since we live by none of them. But I like how your blog made me think about things in my life, and goals. With that we can accomplish all things. Thanks for the insight!