Jul 26

All of Life is About Choices

Debbie Hatch | Family & F.I.T.

Touring the mosque in Adana, Turkey

Touring the mosque in Adana, Turkey


As I enjoy the last few sips of my coffee, I am scrolling through some of my photo albums. It’s a beautiful day. The sun is shining, there’s a light breeze, I have coffee, and these memories warm my very soul.

This isn’t just a travel expose though. Stick with me until the end.

This has to do with health and fitness too.

This has to do with life.




Somebody told me, the other day, that I’m “lucky”.

While certain things can happen purely through luck or happenstance, I believe we can also create our own. We can make ourselves available. We can put ourselves in a position to be able to accept “luck” when it falls in our laps.

Palau, Federated States of Micronesia

Palau, Federated States of Micronesia

Lucky? Maybe. Fortunate? Absolutely!! I have been fortunate, truly fortunate, enough to have traveled extensively. Just about every single state in the US, throughout Europe, Asia, and Oceania.

I can’t name a favorite place although I have favorite memories from each. Among them:


– Camping & diving on the beaches of Okinawa, Japan with my family. Diving with the submarine.  Dragon boat racing.


Truk, Federated States of Micronesia

– Driving though an entire field of sheep, in the middle of nowhere, outside Aviano, Italy with my niece. Cappuccino!!! Real, cappuccino. Pizza in Venice, and almost being arrested for taking pictures of grapevines. Being jacked up for carrying a fork in my suitcase.

– Navigating the Paris subway and eating gelato in the courtyard of Notre Dame with another niece. Walking for hours every day. The gum tunnel. London Eye. Eating my hand-carried lunch on the Eiffel tower. Almost being arrested for taking pictures of the National Police.   Hmm. I’m starting to see a pattern here.

– Finding beautiful flowers tucked among ancient abbey ruins, and wasting time at Stonehenge with my sister. Scones. THE most amazing tea house in the middle of nowhere. Driving ,and driving, and driving…


– Camping on the shore, and roasting marshmallows, in Bar Harbor with my other sister. Listening to her complain about my driving as we went up Cadillac Mountain.  Lobster rolls.

Eiffel Tower, Paris, France

Eiffel Tower, Paris, France

– Camping in Yellowstone.  Baby bison.  Mountain goats.

– Touring the Guinness Factory, and seeing the colored doors of Dublin, Ireland.

– Having fresh, roasted sardines on the street in Lisbon, Portugal.

– Walking on the beach, talking with a local about our cultural differences in the Azores.

– Enjoying Pide Ekmeği at a rooftop restaurant, and fresh rolled-on-the-street cigarettes, just outside of Adana, Turkey.

– Black, and green beaches in Hawaii. SUP with dolphins and diving with sea turtles.

– Our last night dive in Truk. Just me, my husband, and a beautifully encrusted WWII shipwreck. Moonlight. Fish. Jellies.

– Speaking of jellies, Jellyfish Lake in Palau. Giant parrot fish and sharks.

…and so on, and so on, and so on. Such amazing memories!!!


Tower.  Pisa, Italy.

Tower. Pisa, Italy.

Let me be 100% clear – this is where I want to make sure you see more than just the wonderful places I’ve traveled to.


None of this was given to us.

Neither of us were born into well-to-do families with lots of money and great travel experience. They didn’t (still don’t) travel. We both grew up in small towns in Maine. Our families did not have a lot of money; necessities were covered but little extra. When we met, Brent was eating Chef-Boy-Ardee pizza and Ramen. I was a single mother raising my two children and a foster child on just over $400 a month.


Brent had been on a road trip from Maine to Alaska when he was 5; and had traveled to Carolina, California, Cuba, South Korea, and Japan as a Marine. I had never been on a plane until I was 31 years old. To that point, I had been throughout New England and Florida only.

Tower Bridge, England.

Tower Bridge, England.


Travel (and LIFE) happened because of choices we made.


Brent got his degree by putting himself through college. He worked from 9 pm until 7 am, and went to school during the day. I began bettering my situation by taking a job on rotating shifts. I would work 7 am to 3 pm for a few days and then 11 pm to 7 am and then 3 pm to 11 pm. Let me tell you, it’s not easy to be changing hours all the time. You never actually settle into a sleep pattern. It was what I needed to do, and after doing odd jobs (I cleaned houses, worked as a baker in a grocery story, a clerk at a convenience store, and a nursing assistant among other things) it was nice to do something more substantial.

– This was a choice.

Liverpool, England

Liverpool, England

Together we agreed that Brent would go back into the military. Not easy. We had to leave life-long family and friends. When we got on the plane that first day, headed to Japan, it was our family of four against – and out into – the world.

– This was a choice.


I couldn’t find work when we arrived on Okinawa so I volunteered. I wasn’t being paid, and I knew nothing about the military (nothing!!!), yet I took a job working 50-60 hours a week in a very fast-paced military customs and courtesies office.

– This was a choice.


After a year of volunteering, a paying position was created. Hooray! At that point, I also started going to school. I had never completed college and realized I wouldn’t be competitive for promotion without a degree. Life became 40-60 hours of work per week, plus college classes and homework. Remember that I also had two children at home.

– This was a choice.


We moved to Florida and both continued to work. I enrolled in school: this time earning my BA. Working 40 or more

Dublin, Ireland

Dublin, Ireland

hours every week, plus college classes and homework. Two kids in high school. Not easy!

– This was a choice.


Once I earned my Bachelor’s, I had an opportunity to change careers. It would mean I would move into an area I knew absolutely nothing about. I sat in my office and did nothing but read regulations for 8 hours a day. Not fun!

– This was a choice.


Long story short. We moved. We moved again. I went back to school. We moved again. Etc. Etc.


I ultimately started my own company, which has provided a means for me to travel the world.

Bad Dürkheim, Germany

Bad Dürkheim, Germany

Here’s the thing:


Had we not made a choice to leave our families and go into the military

Had we not made a choice to sacrifice both time and money in order to go back to school

Had we not made the sacrifice of time to work as hard as we did

Had we not made a choice to take risks (I started a new career 3 times)…I would have not had the skills necessary to start my own business.

Had I not made a choice to ignore my fear and start a company…


***  We would not have had any of the opportunities that we have today. None of them. ***


Please don’t waste your life wishing for the things that you want. No matter what your goals are: to travel, to be happier, to learn something new, or to be more healthy – – –


Wishing does NOTHING for you. Look at your Opportunity Cost. Set priorities. Make choices.


You have to make different choices if you want something different.

If you would like to be more healthy, as an example:


You need to make a choice to eat better, which also means

You need to make a choice to eat less crap

You need to make a choice to drink more water

You need to make a choice to exercise, at least a little bit

You need to make a choice to do the things that make your life better, which also means

You need to make a choice to stop doing the things that make your life worse

You need to make a choice about which relationships are worth your time and effort, and which aren’t

You need to make a choice about whether you’re truly willing to do what is necessary to get you to your goal. No one can do that for you.


You got this! You really do…but only if you make the choice to make a change.

3 pings

  1. What are we Missing by Being Bystanders in Life? -

    […] not “lucky” and neither of us were born into privileged families.  We have made a series of decisions that put us here – on this beach – on this morning – enjoying its splendor. […]

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