Two years ago today my Dad, Richard Temple, passed away. He had a theory that all our meaning in life comes from the connections we make with other people. Finding meaning in life was a project Dad worked on periodically throughout his life. Like most of my Dad’s projects it was ambitious in scale, given plenty of thought, assembled with enthusiasm and slightly lacking in finesse. However all of his projects were beautiful upon completion because they displayed so much of who he was. Thousands of miles from home now I can say the only things I really miss are the people, so I think he might have been on to something.
Dad spent a lot of his formative years in Africa, as a child and then as an adult. It always impressed me that he was still in touch with people from that time. But it should have been obvious really because he found meaning in those connections. The last big project he undertook was a 500+ mile trek of the southwest coast shared at different stages with people he’d met at all different points in his life. The number of people who made the journey to the coast just to walk with him and share this journey was very moving.
I wanted to mention him on this blog because his theories and his passing were huge motivators in why I actually started this trip. I had always paid lip service to the idea of travelling but with no conviction as to when, how or where. My first day back at work after Dad’s funeral I just stared out the window and couldn’t shake the feeling of how futile the things were that I spent half my waking life doing. I wanted to get out and see and try things, meet people from every different walk of life, really fill my time while I was still in my prime. I have never felt so sure of something, before or since.
In the weeks and months after that day the comfort of routine began to seduce me, and I must admit there were lots of times where I thought that maybe staying at work made more sense. That the security of a job, a house, a familiar routine were things that people strive for and I was going to let it all go? But I hung on to that conviction, that absolute clarity that I’d felt. I won’t let myself forget. In a world of greys, when you are lucky to find some black and white I think you’d be crazy not to follow it.
So thanks Dad, for this and all the innumerable other gifts you gave me. And to people reading this – focus on connections. Make new ones and maintain the existing ones, because there’s so much joy to be had there. That’s what me and my dad think anyway.