“It’s a Shire. It’s a Hobbit town”
– Reykjavik Mayor Jon Gnarr on the harmlessness of Iceland.
Today I came to the realization that my seventeen days in Iceland will mark the 2nd longest time I’ve been outside the USA (the longest time was studying abroad in France in 2005). My absolute favorite part about being in a single place for an extended time is getting to know and really understand the people. So after spending almost two and a half weeks with them, I can honestly say: I love Icelanders!
“There are two mistakes one can make along the road to truth…not going all the way, and not starting.”
– Hindu Prince Gautama Siddharta
I’m happy to say that I’ve started my journey, or my “road to truth.” And that road begins in Iceland.
So, why Iceland? I’d love to say I’ve always dreamt of seeing the original Geyser, walking on the largest existing glacier in Europe, or partying under the midnight sun in Reykjavik. But those would be lies. Similar to most people I know, Iceland was a remote, unfamiliar, and confusing place in my mind (who would live on a country made of ice?) But if you’ve seen Mighty Ducks 2, you’d know “Greenland is covered with ice, and Iceland is very nice!”
After I decided to travel Europe for 7 months and set the June 1 date, the next step was booking a flight. I decided on only two flight criteria:
1. Must go to Europe.
2. Must be inexpensive.
“He still had some doubts about the decision he had made. But he was able to understand one thing: making a decision was only the beginning of things. When someone makes a decision he is really diving into the strong current that will carry him to places he had never dreamed of when he first made the decision.”
“When you want something, all the universe conspires to help you achieve it.”
– From The Alchemist by Paolo Coelho
I just finished reading The Alchemist. I first read it five years ago, but I don’t think I was ready for it yet. This time was different (Thanks Arielle).
If you haven’t read it, it’s an incredible story of a boy who embarks on a journey to live his dream, pursue a treasure, and fulfill his Personal Legend. I highly recommend it to anyone who is searching for a sense of purpose or trying to fulfill their own “Personal Legend.” It is a very timely book for me as I embark on a journey of my own and spend the next seven months traveling and living around Europe. As I reflect on the months leading up to this trip, there are many lessons in the book that resonate with me. In particular, the power of having a strong desire to accomplish something and wholeheartedly making the decision to accomplish it.
I checked my work email inbox one more time. I turned off my laptop and carefully closed it shut. It was the last time I would think about “work”, at least in the sense that I knew it, for the next 7 months. Today was my last day of work before kicking off a “career break.”
My spreadsheets, PowerPoints, and meetings would be replaced with a satchel, a new sense of purpose, and a mission. In a few short weeks, I’d be leaving on a one-way flight to Iceland.
But I had one last email to send. I decided to send a note to my co-workers announcing my plans to travel around Europe for 7 months:
To help me articulate what GiveLiveExplore represents, I pressed myself to answer the questions below. This was mostly a personal exercise to define GiveLiveExplore, but I think it serves as a good tool for communicating the purpose and vision.
What is GiveLiveExplore?
GiveLiveExplore is a lifestyle company guided by a lifestance articulated in The Explorifesto. All GiveLiveExplore projects, products, and services will be led by the underlying values in The Explorifesto.
Why are you forming GiveLiveExplore?
I am forming GiveLiveExplore to be more intentional about building the life I want to live. I plan to use it as a vehicle to explore personal and professional projects that excite me.
What is the purpose of GiveLiveExplore.com?
The purpose of GiveLiveExplore.com is to serve as the digital home of all GiveLiveExplore projects and the GiveLiveExplore blog.
What is the purpose of the GiveLiveExplore blog?
The purpose of this blog is document my journey of creating an intentional lifestyle, guided by The Explorifesto. I will share my thoughts, insights, and progress on projects along the way. I hope to encourage and inspire others to be more intentional about their lives and have the courage to live life according to their own beliefs and decisions.
Who is the audience for the GiveLiveExplore blog?
Anyone who’s lifestance aligns with The Explorifesto and who strives to be more intentional about building their life.
What is The Explorifesto?
The Explorifesto is the manifesto guiding GiveLiveExplore. It articulates a way of life that guides me personally and the GiveLiveExplore company. I believe that by living each day according to the The Explorifesto, you cannot help but feel a sense of fulfillment and aliveness.
Image © Holstee
For those of you who haven’t heard of the clothing company Holstee or read their Manifesto, please do that immediately. The Holstee Manifesto and the story behind the company is a must-read.
Holstee has been a huge inspiration to me. The Holstee Manifesto encouraged me to make an immediate leap of faith and do more of what I love. But the Holstee Story has inspired me to strive for a long-term fundamental shift in my lifestyle. Holstee recently started a project called My Life by Holstee, where they’ve asked individuals who have been inspired by Holstee to share their story. Here’s my Holstee story:
I love to travel and explore, and ever since I studied abroad in college I’ve made it a priority in my life. But I’ve always had the dream of living on every major continent. Not just visiting, but truly living and experiencing life as a local. I’ve been fantasizing about taking my first long-term trip for years, but since I’m mostly calculated and logical, the timing was never perfect. I kept setting mental deadlines for myself, but other people’s priorities seemed to keep it from being a reality.
My priorities changed on January 17, 2012. That night, one of my close college friends passed away unexpectedly in a car accident. Shannon was full of life, incredibly smart, inwardly driven, and just an all around amazing person. Between college, studying abroad together in Europe, and traveling to Brazil in 2010, some of my best memories were spent with her. Up until this point I had been extremely fortunate and was never forced to confront unexpected death with someone so close.
The Holstee Manifesto articulated the feelings I had about Shannon’s death into a simple sentence: Life is short. The unfortunate truth is that the lesson never sinks in until you’ve learned it firsthand. Our time is not guaranteed and every single day is a gift. At the same time, the Manifesto represented the way Shannon lived her life: Do what you love and do it often.
I realized that while there may never be a perfect time to take a long-term trip, there may never be a better time than right now. So on January 25, I booked a oneway flight to Iceland, departing on June 1. I wasn’t exactly sure how I would make that date work with my job, my lease in Chicago, upcoming weddings, etc. But I discovered that something magical happens when you actually decide to do something. Mountains move and seas part. Things are falling into place.
Instead of quitting my job, I asked for a 7 month leave of absence, which I was graciously granted. I have been aggressively saving money. And I even have friends and family who will be joining or visiting me. So starting on June 1, I plan to live throughout Europe for the next 7 months.
In addition to this immediate trip, the story behind Holstee has inspired a more fundamental shift in how I want to live my life. I’ve decided to start GiveLiveExplore, a lifestyle company based on my personal values and ideal way of life. Although it’s a work in progress, I plan to use my upcoming trip to practice acting out the GiveLiveExplore lifestyle I intend to live. I have some specific projects in mind and will be documenting my experiences along the way. And I’m starting to craft my own manifesto as well.
The Holstee Manifesto encouraged me to take action NOW, and the Holstee Story inspired me to start acting out the life I intend to lead. Thank you Holstee team for the inspiration!
Hey there! I'm Matt Trinetti.
GiveLiveExplore is a blog about being deliberate – in work, travel and life. I launched this site in 2012 to explore writing while physically wandering around Northern & Eastern Europe. Today it's the home for my writing, work, travels and projects.
Tales of Iceland is the true story of my trip to Iceland. Written by Stephen Markley, published by GiveLiveExplore.