Sports have a peculiar way of opening doors, beginning conversations, and sparking friendships. Twelve years ago, I signed up for a karate class at my church that, unbeknownst to me, would end up sending me all over the world. Over the last decade, I’ve had the privilege of traveling to more than a dozen countries teaching and demonstrating karate to tens of thousands of people.
I have standard packing lists for each trip type, my passport info is memorized, I’m a sink-laundry aficionado, and jet lag is getting easier and easier to beat (though re-entry is sometimes still a beast). Drastic time zone changes allow me to send e-mails from the future. Example, “Greetings from Wednesday afternoon…hope you are having a rocking Tuesday evening.”
Whenever offered tea in India, fish in Alaska, mango in the Philippines, or dumplings in Taiwan, the answer is always “yes” – never turn these things down.
I never would have guessed that signing up for a karate class at my church almost 12 years ago would fill two passports. It’s surreal. During that time, I was making college decisions that haven’t made as big an impact on my life’s course as signing up for that one class.
Whatever your sport of choice, it can open some pretty big doors. The sacrifice and effort are well worth it.
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