My name is Davis. In September 2014, I decided to spend a year reaching out and finding ways to help people I’ve never met, but admire. You can find out more about my story here. I update my progress every Tuesday.
I first learned about Parker Liautaud from reading about his journey becoming the fastest person to reach the South Pole. I was amazed by the type of quest Parker chose to embark on.
While I was warmly home in Atlanta for Christmas, Parker was trekking over 350 miles from the coast of Antarctica to the South Pole.
As I read the article, questions started popping into my head. I wanted to know: how did he get started with polar exploration? What challenges has he faced being a champion of our environment? What obstacles has he faced? And what is his dream?
Turns out the best part was we attend the same college. I made a note to myself to email Parker once we were back on campus.
I never got around to it.
This summer, I spent 3 weeks in Taiwan and one of those weeks, I spent living with other Taiwanese and American students in Xiaolin Village in central Taiwan, which in 2009 was destroyed by a mudslide during Typhoon Morakot (known as Taiwan’s worst natural disaster). We spent the week discussing many issues facing Taiwan, including recent climate changes.
When I returned to campus, I developed a new interest for learning more about climate change. I added the HuffPost’s Generation Change to my weekly reading list and one of the articles I read two weeks ago was on global warming on the effect of gender inequality. As luck had it, Parker was its author. The same week, I had lunch with a friend who is a Geology and Geophysics (G&G) major. When I mentioned my summer in Taiwan and new interest, she recommended that I should meet Parker, who is also a G&G major.
One week and two mentions of Parker, I took this as a sign that it was time to reach out. From what I know he would be one of the most interesting students at Yale (I would dare to say across the US) I could possibly meet. Our dorms are 7 minutes away from each other, and since it is my senior year, this distance isn’t going to get an closer. I decided to email him.
We’re having dinner on Wednesday. And yes, I am very excited!
If you are curious, my email was just a simple ask and why I think we would get along.
Lessons to takeaway:
So I realized that my being at Yale was why my dinner with Parker is possible , but if you only took this lesson you are missing a more important point. The point is every big city, suburban town, or rural village has its share of amazing people.
If I was not at Yale and say at I was home in Riverdale, Georgia (which I will be for Christmas), I wouldn’t be able to have dinner with Parker so easily, but I would still be able to pick up the local paper and find stories of people doing amazing things and I would reach out to them in the same way with a genuine interest in their story.
If you want to connect with someone local who inspires, why not do it?
For next week, I’ll try to connect with Sean Covey, who wrote of one of the most influential books of my childhood.
See you next Tuesday.
Want to join me and reach out to your role models? You can get details for the 7-Day CWA Challenge below.