Published on February 29th, 2012


The Gift of an Extra Day

From the wee date/time in the lower right corner of my laptop, it’s still February 28th (ok, so – even after 4 months, I still have my laptop set to Seattle time just so I know if my friends and family are awake or in bed!).

But here on the other side of the international dateline it’s already the 29th – an EXTRA day this Leap Year.  A gift of 24 blessed hours that we only get every four years.  Question is… what are YOU going to do with yours?

Sure, we can just go about our daily chores, business-as-usual.  Plodding through an ordinary day of work, and frittering away the evening watching Idol (which, btw – I just recently discovered I can tune into here in Saigon!)  Or…

We can treat this day as the GIFT that it is, and do something EXTRAORDINARY with it.

Nope, not likely you can fly to the moon and back by midnight.  Nor scale Mt. Kilimanjaro (though… you COULD buy that plane ticket to Tanzania, Africa – ensuring that you’ll at least gaze at its splendor in your lifetime).

I’m just sayin’….

The point is, it’s up to YOU to grab this gift of an extra day and do something a tad DIFFERENT with it.  Something you don’t usually do, something you’ve never tried.  Stretch a little.  Mix it up.

Better yet – just take a mere HOUR out of this extra day – to nudge your own dreams a wee bit closer to reality.

Like I keep harping:  This surely ain’t a dress rehearsal, folks.  And trust that nobody’s going to step in and hand over a fabulously thrilling life for you.  It’s up to YOU to make things happen.  To make your life interesting, filled with at least a smidge of fun and adventure.

So take a chance today.  Use this gift as an excuse to do something you wouldn’t normally do.

Me?  OK, I’m a bit ahead of the game having already jumped off a cliff last October and moved lock, stock ‘n barrel to this g-forsakin’ rice paddy (affectionately known as “Ho Chi Minh”).  For me EVERY BLESSED MINUTE these days is an exercise in DIFFERENT.  Each and every morning offers a new challenge (usually, but not always, involving a large dose of frustration and confusion.)  Shoot, just stepping off a curb, dodging a swarm of zooming motorbikes, buses and taxis to get across a Saigon street is an adrenalin rush not unlike jumping out of a plane at 15,000 feet!

But even here amid my wholly new life in Southeast Asia, it’s easy to get bogged down with the same ol’, same ol’.  Scribbling lesson plans, sweating at the gym, stopping at the ATM for a new batch of dong, and picking up some fresh beansprouts at the market.  Yep.  Even the (not so) glamorous life of an expat can easily lapse into boring.

So today I’m off to explore a new area of this wacko city.  It’s the 29th after all, and I’m off to grab the final two geocaches hidden here in Saigon.  One is reportedly “M.I.A.” (as noted in THIS recent cache log).  But hey – ya never know, the last cacher might’ve missed it, so I’ll at least give it a try.

And after that, this evening I plan to seriously look into a couple of wee get-aways here in Vietnam.  I only teach on the weekends after all, so I have 5 days each week free to start exploring my new adopted home.  The floating markets of the Mekong in the south are apparently but a 4 hr. bus ride away, so I could manage a couple nights there during the week.  And for my birthday – I’m toying with the idea of flying to Phu Quoc Island – just $100 round trip – for a birthday treat.

In any case, I’ve squandered enough minutes of my precious “extra day” here at this stupid laptop.  Time to unplug and make the best of the “gift”.

I hope you’ll do the same.  Just for today, think outside the box for a change.  Take this blessed gift of an extra day, and do something a tad reckless.  Uncharacteristic of your usual self.  And do please note in the comments what little “extra” something different you did.


About the Author

Off-the-beaten-path travel is my passion,and I’ve always lived life “like-a-kid-in-a-candy-store” – eager to sample as many flavors as I can. Indeed, my life motto has long been: This ain’t a dress rehearsal, folks!

13 Responses to The Gift of an Extra Day

  1. Annie says:

    Haha NOW you have made my day :)Glad to see there are also more 50’s around (Angie), we babies have lots of living to do yet! Just saw the film The Best Exotic Marigold hotel, its very funny but also very inspirational as well 🙂
    (Annie also known previously as Anon with the money box)

  2. TravelnLass says:

    @Angie – aw, you youngsters are mere BABIES! But seriously, all I’m sayin’ is that you’re NEVER too old to follow your dreams.

  3. Angie says:

    See!! I knew I wasn’t the only 50 something you had inspired!! x

  4. TravelnLass says:

    @Mary M – always good to hear from you and get an update. Sounds like your “Plan” is moving along nicely. Dare I suggest… Might be time you started your own little blog documenting these plans as you inch your way to your traveln goals. I find mine (TravelnLass) to be an excellent personal “diary” to remind this dodderin’ brain, just what I was thinking “back then”.

    Setting up a blog is easy, but if you need any techno help, just give a holler (email me privately – see my addy on my “Follow Me” page.)

  5. TravelnLass says:

    @Anonymous #1: Nice to “meet” you “Tim” (btw, note that when you post a comment, you can click the bitty arrow on the pull-down menu next to “Comment as:” and insert your name – you can leave the “URL” blank unless you have your own blog or website).

    So “why” (…teach esl)? Long story – do check my past posts (click on “EFL” in the Label Cloud” on the right column and/or my “December 2010” posts for the whole story. Suffice, LOTS of factors, and yes, you’ll also find that I most definitely grabbed a CELTA certificate (the gold standard for teaching EFL worldwide – highly recommended) here in HCMC last December.

  6. Mary Moss says:

    What a lovely post. I just attended a friend’s funeral and I know “in my bones” that this life is definitely not a dress rehearsal. So, I’m almost finished with my 1st digital photography class & I’m signing up for 2 more short courses. And I’ve got my eye on a light-weight highly “connectable” laptop on ebay. All for launching my new life:-) Thanks for the care you put into your posts….you never know what dreams you’re inspiring.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Hello! this is anonymous #1 (Feb 28th 10:30pm). My name is Tim. I am 43 yrs old currently living in Los Angeles. I have made 3 trips to VN (the last trip was in 2010). I often miss the energetic and crazy streets of VN. My wife and I plan to visit family in HCMC in 2014. What made you decide to teach esl? Did you obtain a tesol certificiate first? I was just curious because I may want to do that part time when I retire in a few years. I envy your teaching schedule (only two days a week!)Happy Travels.

  8. TravelnLass says:

    @Anonymous: OMG, I’ve got GOOSEBUMPS! So glad I inspired the first bitty step to your travel dreams. Your comment truly made my “Leap Day”.

  9. Anonymous says:

    I am a recent addict to your blog but had glanced at a photo and just assumed you were 30ish. I couldn’t understand your above comment about 60 something so I carefully retraced my steps and re-read your whole blog very carefully, I am now even MORE impressed!!!!You have given me new hope as at 10 years younger than you I believed maybe my dreams to travel had come a bit late in life…so what did I do with my extra hours today? I promised myself to read things more carefully as I may have missed important contents and I also put my first coin in a savings pot travel fund. Thanks for your inspiration :)))

  10. TravelnLass says:

    @Carolyn: I must say, bringing a strapping newborn lad into the world 24 years ago – uh, surely qualifies as doing something extraordinary with the “extra” Leap Day. Congratulations my dear, and Happy Birthday, Daniel!

  11. Carolyn says:

    I’ll be doing what I’ve done every February 29th since 1988: celebrating my son’s arrival on planet Earth!

  12. TravelnLass says:

    Welcome aboard! I can only hope to inspire a few to grab their own lives and follow their dreams. At 60-something, I really mean it when I say “This ain’t a dress rehearsal!”. 😉

    Question is… so what little “extra” did my post inspire you to do today?

  13. Anonymous says:

    I came across your blog by chance today and enjoyed reading it. Thanks for the inpirational post. I agree that life is short and that we should live life to the fullest.

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