Jodi Ettenberg's travel blog inspired me to fall in love with food. Because of her, I traveled to Saigon for a month to eat hot soup in tiny alleys every morning, and to spend two months in Oaxaca savoring tlayudas and mole from the neighborhood abuela. She inspired me to create my own cookbook, and is one of my travel heroes.
But these days, Jodi struggles to walk up a flight of stairs. A combo of unfortunate genes and a botched spinal tap left her brain fluid leaking through her spine, and when she's upright, she quickly gets drained and suffers from serious headaches, fatigue, and excruciating nerve pain, among other things.
She might not ever travel again. But she traveled when she had the chance!
And while getting treated for her CSF (cerebral spinal fluid) leak, she had an anaphylactic reaction and almost died on the operating table. She was super calm, and her doctor asked if she'd been in shock.
Her response was something like, "No, I was just thankful. My life has been an absolute gift." She got to do all the things she wanted before the leak happened.
In her most recent newsletter, she said,
And the leap, well, I can’t imagine how I’d feel knowing what I know now about my genes/health had I stayed at my desk until later. Later, at least in terms of the travel and adventure I’d always dreamed of, may never have arrived.
If she hadn't quit her job at a very young age to travel and follow her own path, then maybe she would have NEVER had that chance later on!
Similarly, my family friend Mickey passed away from cancer recently. Before her death, we were chatting and she said,
Charlie and I traveled all around Europe for an entire summer for our 48th wedding anniversary. It was truly wonderful. We were both completely healthy back then, and people asked, "Why not wait till your 50th?" and I said, "Who knows where we will be then?" On our 50th anniversary, I was on a hospital bed getting chemo.
If there's something you feel you are meant to do, please don't delay.
Who knows if the time will be there, later on.