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Mini Conclusions

Saturday, Dec 1, 2007 from Baraga, Michigan

The Good of the Country
This may be the most important of my so-called conclusions. So this one is first, and listen up! There is a lot of good going on in this country! A lot! If you watch the 6 o’clock news you see violence, war, lawsuits, and more. It’s terrible. People were worried about me going out in this country and staying with hundreds of strangers. I stayed in over 100 households of strangers, and NOT ONCE was my safety in jeopardy. People took care of me, offered me food, and showed me an incredible time. We need to have faith in our own country, and if you’re able to turn off the news and get out in the community you will see a lot more of this good going on. A sub-conclusion of this, media needs to change, it’s time we start reporting more positive aspects of the country. Every day at 6 o’clock millions of Americans are being depressed by the news when there is something positive going on down the street that they don’t even know about.

We’re all alike, very alike
It doesn’t matter if your at a rodeo in South Dakota or shopping for Versace on Rodeo Drive in Southern California. We’re all very, very similar. For the most part, the things that make us different are the things that won’t matter a hundred years from now. Yet those are the things that tend to divide us. It’s the things that make us alike that makes us who we are. People are all looking for the same things in life. I’m inspired to get along with anyone, no matter what.

Importance of Shopping Locally
Eat at a local restaurant rather than Olive Garden. Shop at your local hardware store and pay the extra quarter. Find local products in your area. For example, there is no reason why someone in Vermont should have to buy generic maple syrup. I found the value of shopping locally, and most of it has to do with character and atmosphere. Local restaurants are unique, exciting, fresh, and often better food than the big chains. The more we eat and shop at these local places, the less fast food and things we’ll see. I love my Starbucks too, but give your local coffee shop some business.

Value of Community
This is what makes or breaks a town in many ways. In Casper, WY I saw an entire town get behind a cause to raise money for a young girl having her second organ transplant. That was awesome! There are towns like Burlington, VT where everyone is a friend and knows each other. And if they don’t, I probably got more strangers saying “Hi” in towns like this than anywhere else. Then there are places where people don’t even know their own neighbors (and at least one case of neighbors suiting each other that I ran into). Community can be built in many simple ways, say hi to people in the grocery store, shop locally, attend events, and invite someone over for dinner.

Importance of Giving
There’s no better way to learn the importance of giving than a year like this where I’m living off donations and having people give me amazing things. From crisp hundred dollar bills, to amazing steak dinners, awesome gifts, and great support, people have given me inspiration to last a lifetime. You don’t have to give money either. Give a complement. Give emotional support. Give somebody an opportunity. Give someone a hand on the street. Don’t walk by a chance to make somebody’s day or to do a good deed. And as another note, I have to make this point. If you have the money, give it. I learned that it’s true that those with less financial security are more willing to give than those with great security. There is no reason why a college student should be donating more money than a millionaire, and it happened a number of occasions.

And my personal favorite… Dreaming Big
This is something I hope to pass to anyone. A dream is never too big. A dream is never too late. You’re never too old or too young. You’re never too poor or too weak. People doubted my dream and they will doubt your dreams as well. Use it as fuel. The world is at your fingertips. Be ambitious, use your resources, be motivated, be creative, and commit whatever it takes. It’s all about attitude, and as corny as it sounds, a winning attitude is what it’s all about. Sometimes you’ll hear a sports announcer mention, “the team needs to learn to win.” It’s true. This year I learned how to dream and follow it to the end. Learn to win, learn to dream. Grab life by the horns. Live hard. Sleep well. Enjoy.

Blog Date Posted: Dec 1, 2007 | 806 words | comments 2 Comments
Comment by Mrs. Doris Oxford
From Gulfport, MS

Justin, I have enjoyed following you via the Internet. You are truly an inspiration to all ages. It's too bad everyone isn't able to read everything about you and your trip. It took more courage to do what you did than most people have. I'm sure that deep down your parents had a little fear(even if you didn't) about the whole thing.You fullfilled a dream that will last a lifetime. We are so glad that Marcella wanted you to come to Gulfport. It was wonderful meeting you and we've enjoyed traveling right along with you. Your pictures are excelent. We'll be waiting for your book.I'm sure that with your ambition and attitude,you'll be successful in whatever you choose to do. May God Bless you and let you know what is that he wants you to do.Things are looking a little better down here now than when you were here. We plan to be back in our church January 6th 2008.That will be a day of celebration for us. We hope you will visit our area again. God Bless! Mrs.Oxford

Comment by Barb
From L'Anse across the bay from Baraga, MI

Hi Justin, Amen and amen. Thank you for saying what most of America feels in their hearts. We, too, are sick of the media. Hardly watch it anymore. It is stressful and depressing. Our country and its people are so much more than the media reports. I could write a book. Merry Christmas and God's Blessing on us all...We need to stay focused.