Giving Thanks To Hanks

“Run Forrest Run” seems to be capture the essence of Tom Hanks’s character in film. Whether fleeing racist bullies in the segregated South, escaping death by rowboat from a deserted island, or dodging media scrutiny for ditching his crippled plane as pilot on the Hudson River, here is my ideal of a calm and collected” man. Rarely overthinking his fears about the past and future, these heroic roles depict a common sense approach to making moment to moment” decisions when life-threatening challenges are faced. As a huge believer in the idea of being in tune with the “now” through independent travel, the following video/quote excerpts from four of his most famous films seem most relevant to this Hanks admirer.

Forrest Gump

“My mama always said, “Life was like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re gonna get.”

I live in uncertain times as a middle class retiree, yet relish the opportunity to experience a cultural awakening in India or volunteer to save wildlife in Africa. It would be a waste of my life today to worry about the prospects of age-related illness or the security threats of terrorism. I will take my chances to accept the risks of traveling on my terms.

Apollo 13

“From now on we live in a world where man walked on the moon. It’s not a miracle. We just decided to go.”

Finding new places to visit seems overwhelming at times in the vast world of opportunity. Many locations that once appeared rationally inaccessible, however, now seem within my practical reach of travel. With commercial flights to Cuba now possible, I would relish the idea of scenic travel to this secretive, Communist country. The distant remoteness of Tibet or Antarctica  could not deter me from visiting them with the multitude  of online travel booking options.


“I know what I have to do now. I gotta keep breathing. Because tomorrow the sun will rise. Who knows what the tide could bring?”

In practicing yoga for over five years. I have learned through meditation to plan my days mentally to “let go” of life’s uncertainties. I am not the cause of external stress conditions in the environment that surrounds me yet I do control my reaction to them. Many islands of contentment exist in my traveling mind as I read a little, laugh a bit, and get some exercise whether I am physically traveling or not.


“Everything is unprecedented until it happens for the first time.”

I never thought that I would use my 2008 Honda for anything but daily work commute to school yet found it practical in retirement for  completing several, marathon road trips across the United States. Wondering at the end of a long school day if my creaky knees would limit me physically as I got older, I could never predict that I would now embrace walking ten or more miles a day in my European travels. Absorbed in my busy dedication to lead my class, I would rarely take risks outside of the familiar environs of my work setting for social commitment but now have embraced the extra time in retirement to develop friendship connections internationally. Clearly, my curiosity to experience “newness” has always been an asset to my independent travels.

4 thoughts on “Giving Thanks To Hanks

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  1. What a fun read! I really like how you tied in Hanks quotes to your life and travel experiences. Very inspiring. I think you are very brave in your adventures! And life is indeed “like a box of chocolates”!!! 😊


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