One of the many joys of being a Peace Corps Volunteer (PCV) is you often end-up reading books you might otherwise miss. PCVs are always searching for something to read, and I’m no exception, so I was very happy to be able to gather a stack of books when I first arrived at the PC office in Tbilisi, Georgia.
I’ve was so busy settling in, I didn’t get to read “Honeymoon with My Brother” until last Saturday, but it quickly turned into my favorite of the bunch. It was published in 2005 and was written by Franz Wisner, who at the age of 33 got dumped five days before his wedding, and a week or so later was demoted at his job. Bad week, huh? Yup, but the really interesting part is what happened next . . .
The first person he called when realizing his girlfriend of 7+ years was backing out, was his kid brother Kurt. They weren’t close, but he realized Kurt was the one he really wanted to talk to. His brother arrived in a day or two, and convinced Franz to go ahead with the wedding even without a bride since the location and accommodations were already paid for and many of the guests were en-route or had tickets in hand.
That turned out to be a great decision, having close friends and family around got Franz through the first couple of days, and gave him the stamina to deal with his demotion the next week. His relationship with his brother and the support of his friends ended-up being the calm in the eye of the emotional storm swirling around him.
In an odd turn of events, Franz soon convinced his brother to join him on a mega-trip using the already paid for honeymoon plane tickets and hotel reservations as a starting point, and as they say, the rest is history. Their plans for a one-year trip evolved into series of 3-6 months stays on various continents and expanded to two years, punctuated by short trips back to the States. Their journey of a lifetime cemented their relationship; ignited their passion for travel and led to “Honeymoon with My Brother”.
“Honeymoon with My Brother”, details not only their travels but the path they followed to rebuild their relationship. What I truly enjoyed about the book is Franz never sugar-coated his pain and confusion, but also never let if get in the way of a good story. He deftly weaves dealing with the aftermath of his failed relationship, stalled career, and guilt for not being there for his brother when his brother’s marriage fell apart a few years earlier with entertaining travel tips and tales.
I highly recommend the book, both as a travel and a life guide. But most of all, because it’s a great read. Here are a few of the insights I gleaned from its pages . . .
Things don’t matter as much as people do. Yeah, yeah. We all know this, but I’m guessing most of us find it much harder to actually live it.
Life can sting and burn, but that doesn’t mean it will end-up in flames – and if it does, rising from the ashes just might be the way to go. An homage to creating the life you want, even when you are not sure or keep changing your mind about what that life is or even thinking about wanting something seems like too much effort.
Slowing down, taking time to think, and to heal is hard to do. But I know from firsthand experience, it works.
Honest reflection is a part of growth and necessary whether you are standing still or traveling the world. Don’t fight it; invite it.
Action and courage go hand-in-hand. Note to self: the first step may seem the hardest, yet sometimes life gets even worse before it gets better; try not to worry and just keep moving forward.
When traveling, don’t forget to pack patience and a sense of humor. “Happiness is my constant traveling companion, if I only remember to open my suitcase.”
Time is our friend – even when it feels heavy – and it can help heal wounds, if we let it. Life is a marathon not a sprint.
After writing “Honeymoon with My Brother”, Franz and Kurt headed back on the road, which led to a second book; a happy marriage and two kids for Franz. He and his brother Kurt are best buddies; their lives are good. To read more about Franz, Kurt and their journey, click here, here or here.
To get a new look on life, scroll down and see the view from my host family’s home in the eastern suburbs of Tbilisi, Georgia . . .
PS As always, the book cover is included for illustrative purposes, not to suggest you buy!