One year ago today Webmaster Randy Gaulke left his New Jersey home to begin his six-month stay in France as a freelance tour guide to the battlefields of World War 1. For those considering stepping out of “real life” to pursue their passions his message continues to be: “Take a chance; Step out in faith; Don’t let fear control your life; and if you fail, you can always pick up the pieces.” The message is similar for those who would like to visit the American battlefields, but who are being held back or paralyzed by fear of travelling in a foreign culture overseas.
The Webmaster’s feelings expressed in “La Vie en France #18: Thoughts After Four Months in France” are still valid today:
- Pursuing one’s passion really is a team effort. So many people supported him in so many ways during his sabbatical.
- Getting a 53-year old man out of his comfort zone has been one of the great outcomes of this adventure.
- The ride has been fantastic!
- Flexibility, creativity, cultural understanding and connections were/are needed to endure and overcome bumps in the road.
- Some things work better than others.
- Sometimes a closed door can be an opportunity.
- The Webmaster has met many more Europeans and Americans that he would have, had he not started on this adventure.
- In April 2017 his blogsite had 63 subscribers and the Meuse-Argonne.com Facebook Group had 569 members.
- In April 2018 his blogsite had 86 subscribers and the Meuse-Argonne.com Facebook Group had 1,070 members.
- About 25% of Facebook members are European!
- The Webmaster has learned much more about the geography of the battlefields, especially the Meuse-Argonne, than he could have learned using books and maps alone.