Ti Ti and Oscar Wilde’s Advice
No Excuses and No Regrets

It’s starting already. While I am knee deep in the beginning stages of raising a half million dollars for We Are Family in Myanmar, I’m still teaching, along with caring for Ginger, my hyperactive 80 pound Irish Setter. Additionally, I’m trying to clean the house now that spring has arrived. Things are whirling around in my head. Okay, I’m a bit stressed.

The only quieting sense enters this old man when an old colleague and I chat on the phone. My friend has heard nearly all my stories about Ti Ti, my granddaughter, who lives is Taunggyi, Myanmar. If she were asked, she would say that she’s heard most of them twenty times at least.

While I might be pushing my grandfather’s love of Ti Ti a bit, she is brilliant, caring, fun to be with, etc., etc. Have I mentioned that Ti Ti is also my assistant web administrator? She has written captions for about a thousand photos that I took on my last trip to Myanmar. Also, Ti Ti was instrumental for my starting my GoFundMe fundraising drive to raise a half million dollars. I have told my friend that Ti Ti’s captions are sometimes funny and other times very informative. After another long conversation, I thought it best to hang up and allow my friend to get things done around her home without having to listen to me rambling on about Ti Ti. However, wait until she visits me at my home….

I said goodbye but didn’t resume my work. I looked through some of the half dozen folders, on which Ti Ti had put captions. The picture below is one that I took of Ti Ti’s father, Ko Ko. He was my tour guide on my most recent trip. Ti Ti’s mother, Moh Moh, was my guide on my first trip. Both of her parents are excellent guides. However, Ko Ko and I argue about who is going to carry my backpack. He must think that I’m some feeble old man from America.

I haven’t won any of my altercations with Ko Ko over wearing my backpack. In fact, Snow, Ti Ti’s younger sister, is learning from her father.

However, this essay isn’t about the arguing over my backpack, it is rather about the caption that Ti Ti used under her father’s picture. It was a quote from Oscar Wilde, “Live life with no excuses, travel with no regret.” Amid all the stress of attempting to raise a half million dollars, travel is coming back on steroids. On the one hand, I need more time to raise the money, but, on the other, I want to travel again…like tomorrow.

I get this picture.

Wilde’s injunction, “Live life with no excuses, travel with no regret,” resonates with me. Literally, for years, I get the urge to travel. It seems to me to be a quirk or idiosyncrasy that I possess. Many people love to travel. While I have traveled in much of the States and Eastern Canada, overseas travel fascinates me. Actually, the farther off the beaten track I go…the better it is for me.

I have finally learned to live life without excuses. Either I act, or it may be too late. I’ve danced with death twice. I have gotten the message that my clock is ticking; while I am healthy, the ticking is there. I can manage to go a year without getting the itch to start planning my next journey. However, add another half year, the planning has started. That is where I am right now…precisely. I will be returning during my winter break from teaching in mid-December of this year. I can’t wait to see my family again, along with providing the schools that my granddaughters attend with laptops.

Perhaps, it is my age as I journey in my twilight years. Maybe, I’m dealing with my finality. Having done two dances with death, I learned a critical lesson LIVE LIFE. I understand something that most of my readers think they also know…that their clock is ticking. Well, wait until they do a dance. I learned something that I thought I already knew also…but I didn’t. Actually, I couldn’t have grasped it until I danced. When people travel or go on vacations, it is often seen as some pleasant escape from living life. In reality, it is our attempt not to permit life to escape us. We need to grasp the ticking of our clocks.

It is critical that we understand that our lives are finite. However, even more importantly, life is about our legacy. What are we doing as we write our legacies daily? Life isn’t about satisfying our egos…or at least it shouldn’t be. Our legacy is about sharing with our family. However, that raises a haunting question. Who is your family? The less restrictive to who is in your family, the greater will be your legacy. Trust me. That insight I finally grasped, and it has made all the difference to me.

If you go to the end of my GoFundMe request, I made three requests. Actually, I would like you to consider all three of these items.

1. I am asking you to contribute to my dream of raising $500,000.

2. My next request is for you to send this link to your friends and ask them to send it to their friends…

3. My final request is to return with me to Myanmar during winter break in 2019…less than a year from now. You will see where your money is being sent. Additionally, you might discover a part of your family living in Myanmar. My discovery changed my life. It was my one moment in time, and it can be yours also.

While I really need your help on my first two requests, I really want you to return with me in less than eight months. You might find a part of your family living in Myanmar. You can also observe Ko Ko and I bickering again over who will carry my backpack.