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2015 In Review

I am ringing in the new year with the same good friends as last year, back in my hometown area in Illinois. No problem with ringing in the new year with a great group of people. I am still working in the same job too! I am a Paraprofessional for students with Autism and I absolutely love my job. I love working with my students and I love working with all the other student in the after school program. I have also been way more active with volunteering and helping out with school functions.

I have done quite a bit again this past year so I think I am going to just bullet point what I have done instead of writing a novel! In case you don’t make it to the bottom I just want to say that daily I increase my knowledge and exposure to the world and future of our children as well as seeing their future. I am fine tuning my message as well as beginning to get my actual voice heard instead of just my words. I have made big advances with this blog and I owe so much gratitude to those who follow me and support me on this journey. Now here is a huge list of only some of the things that have happened in 2015.

  • I vowed to friend everyone I meet and I have done just that! My friends list is flourishing with inspirational people
  • I have visited more Florida beaches then most people that have lived here all their lives.
  • I have visited 2 area zoos.
  • I moved from a place full of bugs to a great place biking distance to work!
  • I bike to work now just about everyday.
  • I have visited about a dozen State and National Parks in Florida
  • I visited Cassadaga FL. Which is a very spiritual town. It was a very inspiring visit.
  • I CLEARED ALL MY DEBT!!!!!!!
  • Brand new custom license plates to reflect my blog “UPW MRC”
  • Attended the biggest soccer game I have ever been too! Over 62,000 people to watch 2 brand new teams to the MLS for a season opener game! New York City FC vs ORLANDO CITY SOCCER CLUB, my new favorite team! And I have my best friend to go to the games with me, with our new season tickets that we await for the 2016 season
  • Survived one Florida winter and I am ready for the next! Last year it was below freezing for a whole 2 days, HA! Right now it is in the 80’s.
  • In March…..ya we are only at March….I shared with my friends and followers 31 days of gratitude. What an amazing month, I have far more than just a months worth of things to be grateful for too!
  • Found out that Taco Bell is stealing my catch phrase “You want me” they are putting “you know you want me on their hot sauce packets.
  • I am pictured on advertisements to work on cruise ships from my first Southern Caribbean Contract with Royal Caribbean! My over excited smile is getting people jobs on cruise ships. 😛
  • Discovered sunrises at the beach! AMAZING!
  • I have had a hand full of people doubt me and my goals and this year alone I have proved them all wrong and cut off friendship with those people.
  • I made about 70 cupcakes for the staff at my school in May and they continue to talk about them waiting for me to make more cupcakes again!
  • I started back with walking and running. My knees are handling it well!
  • Brought the soccer ball back to my feet. I play on my own on the weekend and I play with the kids in the after school program as well
  • This blog has reached over 100 countries and I gave a big shout out to people from Illinois, Philippines and India. As of today I now give a big shout out to staff and friends from Florida who have taken the time to support my blog as well.
  • In May I read 3 book which is a big thing for me in one month.
  • I discovered Marc Mero in May. He is a motivation speaker for students, doing exactly what I want to be doing. Just a few weeks ago I had the opportunity to meet him and see his presentation. I am setting up time to sit down with him and ask him many questions.
  • Kids say the coolest things. Every day they say what I look like based on colors I wear. Anywhere from a donut or a shark to a pretty princess or Superman. They also give me compliments all the time. One Third grader in the after school program said “Mr. Marc you smile all the time, even when you are upset with us you are smiling.” I have worked on smiling all the time for a long time so this was a huge compliment for me.
  • Went up to Illinois to sell off my storage unit and take home a few things, kind of wiping my hand of an old life and embracing a new one.
  • Saw My old soccer team Chicago Fire play my new team Orlando Lions, in Chicago.
  • A friend of mine came to visit me in Florida for her vacation. We did it all, beaches, Sea World (for both our first time), Busch Gardens, Chocolate museum, comedy club, and her first soccer game, and drove my car on the beach for the first time.
  • Worked on a cruise ship over the summer in Vancouver Canada and Alaska. Absolutely an amazing experience. Met a lot of great people and hit a lot of firsts like, first time to Alaska, first time seeing whales in the wild, first time seeing glaciers, horseback riding for the first time and a hoard of pictures to document all the amazing things I did while I was up there. I had salmon prepared 8 different ways while I was up there not to mention several kind of fish and other sea creatures. Hiked the mountains at each port of call
  • Toward the end of my trip I got Cellulitis and Necrotizing Fasciitis and almost lost my leg and possibly my life. I am grateful to still have my leg and life and be walking just fine today. Its those near death events in your life that make you appreciate your life more.
  • Upon the start of the school year I was super excited to have known I was very welcomed back and have little by little gathered a few friendship as well.
  • In August my blog was 3 years old and getting stronger every day.
  • Saw the U.S. Woman’s National Soccer team play Brazil.
  • Over Halloween I tackled 2 bucketlist items on a long weekend trip. I went to New York City for the first time and I saw a TED Talk live event on Broadway. I packed in so many first that weekend. Saw the Statue Of Liberty, top of the Empire State Building and the New World Trade Center Building, as well as the World Trade Center Monument, 2 museums, Time Square, and determined that Chicago Style pizza is way better then New York Style.
  • Some of my coworkers gave me a great prebirthday celebration at school.
  • Had a great Birthday on my own in November, however I did manage to meet a great friend and one of my followers from Facebook at a rock and gemstone show.
  • I found garlic stuffed olives at a local store
  • I joined Toastmasters and won best speaker on my very first speech
  • I started volunteering at Give Kids The World. An all expenses paid dream vacation for terminally ill children and their families. What an amazing opportunity and organization and I will continue to volunteer more in the new year
  • People keep complimenting my photography and are always surprised to hear they are unedited pictures from just my cell phone. I treated myself to a Nikon 3300 DSLR camera with a bunch of accessories and finally was able to capture the moon! I can not wait to post the pictures from this new camera from my trip up to Illinois.
  • Helped out a local crafter and got an ornament personalized to say “UPwithmarc” I intend to Illustrate “Upwithmarc” everywhere in the future to come
  • This December was when I actually meet Motivational Speaker Marc Mero
  • Made It back to Illinois for the holidays and saw my new nephew for the first time. I also saw snow for the first time in like 2 years! I made and befriended a snow man too

 

Some things are little some things are big but I guarantee all the things I have done in 2015 are not listed. With that being said how many things have you done and accomplished in 2015? Happy New Years to all.

Last Stop, Ketchikan!

My final port on my Alaskan cruise job was Ketchikan Alaska. The reason I have been able to do so many things is I work only when the boat is moving. Therefore, when we are at port I get off just as the guests do!

The very first thing I did in Ketchikan was go snorkeling. Now if you do remember I was talking about temperatures between 60F and 40F degree. Not Idea for snorkeling, however they gave us 7mm (thick) wet suits. With those wet suits, it turned that 50F ocean into bath water! I have seen so many things snorkeling before but I never actually handled anything before. The black spiny sea urchin was actually crawling around in my hand and that was really cool. Random fact I learned about those black spiny sea urchins: When I was in the Caribbean, I stepped on one by accident and my foot was numb for like 3 weeks! Down in the warm waters of the Caribbean they have the ability to sting you but up in the cold waters of Alaska that ability no longer works!

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Next, I went on a tour of the Saxmen Village. Many Native American tribes still exist up North. We got to see a traditional ritual dance and actually got to participate as well. These dances are very sacred so being able to dance with them is very special. There village is also home to the largest collection of totem poles in the world. As you know, each totem pole tells a story. You will see that some do not look finished; however, they all are as traditionally they are not always full of carvings all the way up.

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One of my last adventures was to go crab fishing and ending the day with an all you can eat crab fest! This was amazing and full of surprises. I got to handle the crab when they pulled up the fishing pots! While the tour guide was talking about the crabs and the crab pots, I saw a bear moving around in the background. I politely interpreted the guide and said there was a bear behind her! We all immediately glued to the side of the boat closest to the bear. They were all so grateful for my observation. Bears are one of the rarest to see out here as a tourist because they mostly come out at night times. This was actually my second sighting. It was not over yet because on our way back we got to see Bald Eagles diving to the water like 10 feet away from our boat it was so amazing. Even though I only hand my phone, I actually managed to get some great action shots!

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Well that was it for my Alaska tour. I hope the doctor will let me start my regular job tomorrow. I find out from the doctor today. My leg is not hurting anymore and it is healing, but it looks like I will have a scar on my leg. I am grateful I had this journey to Alaska and I am grateful I did not lose my leg. Moving forward my post will return to more positivism as I reach for my goal to be a motivational speaker for our children.

Have an amazing rest of your week and as always thank you so much for your following and support.

Next Stop Skagway

Skagway was my favorite stop. Scenically glorious, that is if you love the water and the mountains! You do not even need to get off the ship. You look forward to the boat yard and the old town of Skagway while further in the distance is a valley of mountain peaks. You look behind you and see 2 absolutely mesmerizing snow caped mountain peaks. Now I say mesmerizing because I saw these peeks 4 times in all weather conditions, but still somehow it was like a painting that never changed! To the left more mountains, and to the right we were cliff side. They only way to look left was straight up or straight down, and straight down you saw the train that took you into the Yukon Territory. I was signed up to take this train tour but then I had this incident that sent me home. Even without that, it was still the most beautiful port. It was also the hardest to just pick a handful of pictures to post.

My first visit was very exciting, I was going horseback riding. On the way to the ranch we were driving around this empty inlet where they explained that the tide came in and out 4 times a day. This was no normal occurrence for someone visiting because the water exchange was huge. They have 25 foot tides up here and that is so crazy. Random fact; I have not been a horse person but I seem to have found myself around them on many occasions, yet at the age of 34 I have never even been on one till today! It was so much fun, and the horses were so well trained, taken care of, and not over ridden. I got the lazy horse, of course I need some sort of challenge when I am doing something new! The scenery while riding the horse could not have been more amazing, and as we were heading back to the ranch I saw my first Alaskan bear as well. Maybe it was my height on the horse but that bear was adorable.

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(Top right is just to show you the low tide line.)

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(Then you have high tide in that same valley)

Next I just went walking through town. It was all original buildings so it was really cool to see even if they were littered with jewelry and souvenir shops! Now fast forward to the next time and I decided to go hiking on my own. This was hands down my favorite day! I grabbed my backpack, water, newly purchased hiking shoes and just went for it. As you will see in the pictures I was extremely grateful for those hiking shoes; the terrain was about as rugged as it gets. Climbing continuously over rocks and roots, there was switchbacks on the trail but the grade percentage up had to be higher than normal too. Then coming down your feet are smashed into the front of your shoes the whole time. It was all worth it! As you go up you see the ship and the town get smaller, and the natural scenery just get more spectacular. You could see mountain peaks not seen from below, mountain lakes that are always full of the clearest fresh water and stunning waterfalls the entire way up. Here is where I would like to say what everyone already knows; pictures never do there justice but I can provide you with a little sample of what I got to see today. I hiked a total of 8 miles round trip and starting at sea level I climbed an elevation of 3,100 ft.

skag pic 1

(these are pictures of the trail)

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The sunset and sunrise are a bit different up here in Alaska from what I am used to. Sunrise is at about 4:30am and sunset is after 11:00pm. Complete darkness does not come till well after 12 midnight. Below I took this picture at about 11:20pm.

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Up next I will be taking you to Glacier Bay National Park. This was a park we went thru on our cruise ship. The ship I was on was designed especially for adventures like this!

First Stop, Juneau

My first adventure in Alaska, or my first port of call was in Juneau. To kick it off I hike to the top of Mount Roberts. This being my first hike I cheated and took the tram car up the first 1800 feet. I was not going to wait for people to go with me. I am here in Alaska for a limited time so I was not afraid to go alone.

It is funny I should say I went alone, you guys know I am a people person so I ended up catching up with this couple from another ship and they were on the same path I was. It was great because it was dangerous to hike alone. We were basically up in the cloud cover. It was wet and most of the time you could only see about 10 yards in front of you. However there were plenty of clear moments as well and the views from up on the mountain tops were absolutely gorgeous! There were these hoary marmots everywhere too. Picture a very large and fat ground squirrel and that’s what these cute little creatures were. Also on our hike we saw ice and snow in the mountains. At one point we found one piece that was safe enough to slide down! So much fun and the fact that we were a group now we were able to get all these amazing pictures for each other. My most favorite part aside from the view and the wild life was Mount Roberts was bursting with minerals. Quartz was just extruding from the mountain everywhere. At times this beautiful white stone was littering the trails. I also found a small piece of jade, one of the gemstones Alaska is known for. The jade mines are all closed but you can still find it on the mountain sides. As a reward for all the hiking I did I ate the biggest plate of crab nachos I have ever seen!

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The beauty of my working trip to Alaska is I come back to each port several times. The normal cruiser can only come here once and pick one thing to do. I came back again this time I took a tour of a salmon hatchery, the Glacier Gardens, and Mendenhall Glacier! What an amazing day. I learn so much about Salmon and their part in our circle of life. The hatchery was a nonprofit organization trying to balance the ecosystem with the salmon. Now it was off to the gardens of the Alaskan rainforest. What a beautiful site. The couple that started these gardens years ago came up with this great Idea for hanging gardens. They had taken fallen trees and turned them upside down and made them large natural flower pots! Lastly it was off to the glacier. What a beautiful site to see and this was the first of many glaciers I saw on my trip. Right next to it was a beautiful waterfall that you could walk right up to, so naturally I did.

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The shows not over yet in Juneau! It was time for some rainy day whale watching. I think the guest loved having me on the tour I was the token whale spotter. There was so many! I stopped trying to get pictures and just enjoyed the fun these whales were having fun jumping in and out of the water. What an amazing site to see and as if the whales were not enough we saw some sea lions as well. We did not stay to long because these big guys were lazy and they wanted to board our boat to relax!

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When you cruise, you can count on every port you stop at to be full of shops and souvenirs. I made a quick pass thru my first time but that was it! I was here to see nature; the mountains, the water, the wild life and the glaciers. There was still more stops on our trip. My next post will be Skagway. I hope you enjoy the stories and pictures. I know these posts are off topic of my ultra positive posts but hey it’s my blog and adventures are a part of a positive life. I am grateful to be able to share my journey with you.

(I took over 400 pictures while out in Alaska; it was really hard to pick a small sample for my blog. If you we wish to see way more pictures please feel free to friend me on FACEBOOK if you have not already!)

Variety Friday (Travel)

My life is all about goals; traveling and finding myself were very important ones. I am from Illinois and as of August I have found myself and now live near Orlando Florida! I wrote down most of the places on my journey from about 2 years ago to now and thought it to be quite impressive. Anything is possible and I have a past of so many good things that happened and a future just waiting for more! To all I say travel, live life, and get out there and find yourself if you have not already!

If you are interested here are most of the places that hold some great memories just in the last 2 years!

-Dallas, Texas
-Fort Worth, Texas
-Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
-Fayetteville, West Virginia
-Kalamazoo, Michigan
-Coldwater, Michigan
-Atlanta, Georgia
-Toronto Ontario, Canada
-San Juan, Puerto Rico
-Basseterre, St. Kitts
-Bridgetown, Barbados
-Castries, St. Lucia
-Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas
-Fort De France, Martinique
-Oranjestad, Aruba
-Philipsburg, St. Maarten
-Roseau, Dominica
-St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands
-St. John’s, Antigua
-Tortola, British Virgin Islands
-Willemstad, Curacao
-Key West, Florida
-St. Petersburg, Florida
-Fort Myers, Florida
-New Smyrna Beach, Florida
-Daytona, Florida
-Currently back in Illinois to visit everyone here for the holidays.

and many other places that I may not have mentioned!

Not a bad list for only 2 years time! Seek and you shall find adventure in your life. What places are you meant to travel to, near and far?

If Money Did Not Matter

Today’s post is a journey. I hope that you all have the time to take this short journey. It will inspire you, give yourself the time to read on. Now I know some of my posts can be a bit lengthy but the way I see it if you make time to read you make time to succeed! Now who doesn’t want success? If you complete this small journey today I only ask one thing. Tell me one major thing you are working on or working toward in your life. A question to be refined at the end.

When you were a kid growing up, what did you want to be? Be an astronaut, a chef, or even the president. What did you want to do with your life? Scale the tallest mountain, meet someone famous, or even travel the world. How many of your dreams have been fulfilled? One of the main things holding us back from what we desire most is money.

let me introduce you to Alan Watts a philosopher, writer, and speaker(play video below)

What if money did not matter? Your options are limitless, you can be whatever you want to be and do whatever you want to do. Our own human nature and society has groomed us into the idea of earning a living to just simply earn a living. Very few of us go on earning a living doing what we love. Most of us continue doing what we are doing just to continue doing what we are doing. No that is not a typo think about it! Are you in a job just for the money? Do you wish you could be doing something different? Stop wishing and make it happen. This is your life.

This whole concept has been a huge part of big changes in my life and only now has it come into the light for me. I have been a professional graphic designer for over 10 years and all of the sudden I lost my passion for it. I was always looking for that better job with better pay. Aside from design my ultimate goal has always been to become a motivational speaker. I never saw money in it so it got kind of lost inside me. The struggles of life have surfaced it and brought back a beautiful dream. My life path is changing to so many wonderful things I can hardly keep up. People keep asking what my main view point will be as a motivator. I have Ideas of course but I still don’t have a solid answer.I do however have a monetarily free field of vision to take me there to find out.

None of us seem to give ourselves enough credit and that is were our dreams fall short. You have to believe in yourself and you have to believe in the path that takes you to the things you dream about. I refer you to another video of a song I posted awhile ago. I will be standing in the hall of fame and even if it is one person at a time everyone will know my name.

here is the song and post https://upwithmarc.com/?s=hall+of+fame

I can go on for hours about all the new thoughts and things in my life but everything I say and what Alan Watts says in his video is basically FOLLOW YOUR DREAMS! If you put money first in your life you are never going to achieve your goals past looking for more money. You can be who you want to be if you believe in it enough, if you are determined enough. Your life will evolve around your passions. Love your life and do what you want with it.

NOW IT IS YOUR TURN! Post a comment of one thing (or several) you would like to do if money did not matter.

The inspiration for this post was started from Upworthy where I found the video by Alan Watts. What a truly amazing site.

I have also added share buttons on the bottom of my posts. If you like what you read, please share this with your friends.

THANK YOU SO MUCH EVERYONE I am grateful for your following and support. Enjoy the rest of your week.

Famous Quote Friday

“Not all those who wander are lost” – J.R.R. Tolkein
 
Don’t be afraid to try new things and to go to new places. I have visited 21 States and been out of the country 2 times. I am always ready for more opportunities to go to more places. I have hiked to the Rocky Mountain tops in several places, and Spelunked my way under the surfaces of our earth. I have walked, hiked, biked, driven, taken the train and flown countless amazing places. I am not done yet! I am not looking for any great adventure achievements but I am never going to stop exploring, I am never going to stop wandering this land we call Earth. Get out and see what beautiful things this world has to offer, and at the same time explore yourself. See what makes you tick, find the things that you love, create a memory that can be passed down for generations. Take risks and go new places in your life.

Dr. Eric Perry, PhD

Psychology to Motivate | Inspire | Uplift

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