Lie Down and Die? Never! 6


About three years ago I went through the hardest time of my life. It was definitely my darkest hour and I don’t wish this type of anguish on anyone. I am not going to get into specifics, but those of you that know me best, know the details. A lot of you may have been in a similar state, some much worse off than I was.

When a person is faced with this degree of sadness, heartbreak and suffering, the majority of people would take the easy road and just give up or look for sympathy from others. Since I had never been faced with such adversity, I really did not know how to deal with it at first. I could not even concentrate on work as I had left my amazing job because of this whole ordeal! My first instinct was to lie around and hope the pain would just go away. After a few weeks, I realized that I had lost over 20 lbs and had barely slept. I was deteriorating.

Then one day it hit me… I have never been the type of person to give up, why start now? I decided to turn this negative energy into something positive and joined a gym. I turned sadness and anger into repetition after repetition. After a few months, I had completely transformed my body using the negativity as fuel. While I got my affairs in order, the intense exercise provided me with an outlet and helped me think more clearly. Something had lit a fire in me and it was turning into a raging inferno.

After those few months, I had finally sorted out most of the problems, but needed to really decompress. My affairs were settled on a Tuesday. The following Wednesday, I found myself on a flight to Sydney, Australia. It would turn out to be one of the best decisions I have ever made. Little did I know, my whole life would change on this flight.

It was on this 15 hour flight where I heard one of the most inspirational quotes that completely changed the way I live my life. I had seen this movie a hundred times before, but this time, what Morgan Freeman said hit me so hard it brought me to tears on that Qantas flight, only a few hours out of LAX. You know the quote… “Get Busy Living, or Get Busy Dying… That’s Goddamn right!” – The Shawshank Redemption.

From that instant, my life changed. What was important to me before, suddenly became pointless. What seemed pointless before, all of a sudden meant the world to me. The suffering I had just endured was a beacon to change the way I lived. Call it a moment of clarity or whatever you like, but from that moment onward, my entire existence made sense.

In these last three years I have experienced and accomplished things that I would have called people crazy or stupid for even attempting. On that first flight to Australia, I created a bucket list and have checked off almost every single item since. I have started adding new items to the list because I need new, crazier things to accomplish!

I climbed mountains, traversed the cracks and caves of an ancient glacier, Bungy jumped on two continents, jumped out of a perfectly good airplane, shot Rambo’s machine gun, went diving in the Great Barrier Reef, pushed my body to the pinnacle of physical fitness, tore around Melbourne in a Lamborghini, swam with Great White Sharks, listened to Lions roar and Hyenas cackle outside my tent in Africa, almost died while white water rafting the Zambezi river…. You get the picture, I have done a lot! This short list is just the proverbial tip of the iceberg. When I try to list everything, it seems as though I have lived an entire lifetime of experiences since my ordeal, only three short years ago. The funny thing is, I feel like I am just getting started!

I have also learned and grown a lot on a personal and professional level. I have had clients that have become great friends and made connections with people all around the globe that have made such a positive impact on my life. My biggest accomplishment is the fact that I have turned photography, my greatest passion, into a successful business with thousands of readers following this blog all around the globe.

Don’t get the wrong idea, I am not trying to brag or boast. Those of you close to me know that I hate when people do that. I am only trying to illustrate to you that there is nothing at all in this world that should keep you down. NOTHING.

For me, it took a horrible, life changing event to wake me up and to realize what really matters. To quote Morgan Freeman in the Shawshank Redemption again… “He crawled through a river of shit and came out clean on the other side.” (That movie has so many great quotes!). Again, this hits really close to home with me because if it were not for the horrible ordeal I went through, I would have never discovered myself, I would have never became a professional photographer and I would have never traveled around the world three times in such a short time.

I got the inspiration to write this as I laid out in the California Sun yesterday and realized how fortunate I am. I am doing what I love and am living a life that most people would be envious of. I cannot express how thankful I am for everything that I have been given, even the hardships. These hard times and the way we handle them are what moulds us and guides us to either prosperity or despair.

I am also writing this because I know there are a few of you out there that are going through hard times. I hope that my experiences will help you get through it. Focus on the good and positive, use negativity to fuel your ambition, prove to yourself that you will not lie down. Move on. There are also two passages in the bible that I really like… “And he spake a parable unto them to this end, that men ought always to pray, and not to faint” – Luke 18:1… and my absolute favorite passage from the good book “I can do all things through Him who strengthens me” – Philippians 4:13.

The last thing I want to mention was the most amazing compliment I have ever received… About a year ago, a person I didn’t know too well at the time came up to me at the gym and said a few words that almost brought me to tears, right beside the bench press. All he said to me was “hey man, when you are around, everyone around you gets happier”. Imagine that? I did not even know what to say, it was the nicest compliment anyone could ever give me.

Below are just a few of the images that I downloaded from my Facebook. I guess you could call it a lifetime in pictures, but it is only a handful of things I have done in the past three years!

Cheers readers… More of California and the USA is coming, but I had to write this first!

Firing 100 rounds on the M249 Saw... Rambo's Gun! Las Vegas, Nevada

Firing 100 rounds on the M249 Saw... Rambo's Gun! Las Vegas, Nevada

 

Traversing the Franz Joseph Glacier... South Island, New Zealand

Traversing the Franz Joseph Glacier... South Island, New Zealand

 

Getting a speeding ticket in the fist hour of a One week road trip through New Zealand

Getting a speeding ticket in the first hour of a one week road trip through New Zealand

 

My first Bungy jump... Queenstown, New Zealand

My first Bungy jump... Queenstown, New Zealand

 

Driving an 18 wheeled semi with my name on it... Melbourne, Australia

Driving an 18 wheeled semi with my name on it... Melbourne, Australia

 

Exploring the paddocks of Werribee, Australia on a dirtbike

Exploring the paddocks of Werribee, Australia on a dirt bike

 

Skydiving over the Great Barrier Reef... Cairns, Australia

Skydiving over the Great Barrier Reef... Cairns, Australia

 

Diving the Great Barrier Reef... Way off the coast of Cairns, Australia

Finding Nemo in the Great Barrier Reef... Way off the coast of Cairns, Australia

 

Sailing the Whitsunday Islands... Gold Coast, Australia

Sailing the Whitsunday Islands... Gold Coast, Australia

 

Dancing up a storm on Christmas Day... Bondi Beach, Australia

Dancing up a storm on Christmas Day... Bondi Beach, Australia

 

Watching the sunrise over Ayers Rock... Uluru, Australia

Watching the sunrise over Ayers Rock... Uluru, Australia

 

Watching Roger Federer spank an opponent at the Australian Open... Melbourne, Australia

Watching Roger Federer spank an opponent at the Australian Open... Melbourne, Australia

 

Tearing up the streets of Melbourne in a Lamborghini Gallardo

Tearing up the streets of Melbourne in a Lamborghini Gallardo

 

Witnessing traditional Muay Thai Fights at Lumpini Stadium... Bangkok, Thailand

Witnessing traditional Muay Thai Fights at Lumpini Stadium... Bangkok, Thailand

 

Elephant trekking through the mountains of Northern Thailand... Chiang Mai, Thailand

Elephant trekking through the mountains of Northern Thailand... Chiang Mai, Thailand

 

Playing with Tigers... Chiang Mai, Thailand

Playing with Tigers... Chiang Mai, Thailand

 

Learning to cook like a Thai Local at a Chiang Mai Cooking School, Thailand

Learning to cook like a Thai Local at a Chiang Mai Cooking School, Thailand

 

Among thousands of limestone peaks... Halong Bay, Vietnam

Among thousands of limestone peaks... Halong Bay, Vietnam

 

Low Tide Caving... Phang Nga, Thailand

Low Tide Caving... Phang Nga, Thailand

 

Walking along the Persian Gulf... Dubai, UAE

Walking along the Persian Gulf... Dubai, UAE

 

Swimming with Great White Sharks... Dyer Island, South Africa

Swimming with Great White Sharks... Dyer Island, South Africa

 

Sitting with penguins... Bettys Bay, South Africa

Sitting with penguins... Bettys Bay, South Africa

 

Quad Biking the expansive sand dunes... Swakupmund, Namibia

Quad Biking the expansive sand dunes... Swakupmund, Namibia

 

Exploring a road to nowhere... Africa

Exploring a road to nowhere... Africa

 

Climbing massive hills, just because... Waterberg Plateau, Namibia

Climbing massive hills, just because... Waterberg Plateau, Namibia

 

Hanging out with the San Bushmen... Kalahari Desert, Namibia

Hanging out with the San Bushmen... Kalahari Desert, Namibia

 

Bungy jumping into the Zambezi gorge... The Border of Zambia and Zimbabwe

Bungy jumping into the Zambezi gorge... The Border of Zambia and Zimbabwe

 

Right before I was sucked into a whirlpool and almost drowned on the Zambezi River... Victoria Falls, Zambia

Right before I was sucked into a whirlpool and almost drowned on the Zambezi River... Victoria Falls, Zambia

 

Posing for a picture with Enock, the man who pulled me out of the rapids and saved my life

Posing for a picture with Enock, the man who pulled me out of the rapids and saved my life

 

Swimming on the razor's edge... Devils Pool, Victoria Falls, Zambia

Swimming on the razor's edge... The Devil's Pool, Victoria Falls, Zambia

 

Diving into the high tide turquoise waters... Zanzibar, Tanzania

Diving into turquoise waters... Zanzibar, Tanzania

 

Jumping with the Maasi Warriors... Maasi Mara, Tanzania

Jumping with the Maasi Warriors... Maasi Mara, Tanzania

 

Standing on the Edge... Ngorongoro Crater, Tanzania

Standing on the Edge... Ngorongoro Crater, Tanzania

 

Land Rover Safari... Serengeti National Park, Tanzania

Land Rover Safari... Ngorongoro Crater, Tanzania

 

Smoking Shishe with the Locals... Istanbul, Turkey

Smoking Shishe with the Locals... Istanbul, Turkey

 

Standing with the Apostles... Twelve Apostles National Park, Great Ocean Road, Australia

Standing with the Apostles... Twelve Apostles National Park, Great Ocean Road, Australia

 

Climbing a rain forest covered mountain... Waya Lailai, Fiji

Climbing a rain forest covered mountain... Waya Lailai, Fiji

 

Reflecting... The Taj Mahal, Agra, india

Reflecting... The Taj Mahal, Agra, India

 

Jumping for Joy at one of my favorite places on Earth... Maya Bay, Koh Phi Phi, Thailand

Jumping for Joy at one of my favorite places on Earth... Maya Bay, Koh Phi Phi, Thailand

 

Farms in the Sky... Terrace Rice Paddies, Ubud, Bali

Farms in the Sky... Terrace Rice Paddies, Ubud, Bali

 

Exotic Food... Eating Deep Fried Scorpions in the streets of Beijing

Exotic Food... Eating Deep Fried Scorpions in the streets of Beijing

 

Watching the sunrise over Angkor Watt... Siem Reap, Cambodia

Watching the sunrise over Angkor Watt... Siem Reap, Cambodia

 

Hanging with the Locals... Angkor Thom, Siem Reap, Cambodia

Hanging with the Locals... Angkor Thom, Siem Reap, Cambodia

 

Floating in the Dead Sea... Ein-Gedi, Israel

Floating in the Dead Sea... Ein-Gedi, Israel

 

Playing with Holy Fire... Easter in Jerusalem

Playing with Holy Fire... Easter at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, Jerusalem

 

Standing in an Ancient City... Petra, Jordan

Standing in an Ancient City... Petra, Jordan

 

Competing in the worlds biggest fitness competition... Olympia Weekend, Las Vegas

Competing in the worlds biggest fitness competition... Olympia Weekend, Las Vegas


About Andrew Pateras

Andrew has lived in the GTA all his life and a good portion of his adult life has been devoted to sales. He studied Business Information Systems Management at Ryerson University. From there, he worked in sales for tier one organizations such as Hewlett Packard, Epson and Intel. Then as North American Sales Manager for GAP Adventures, he gained even more experience in negotiation and client service. Andrew has been a licensed real estate sales person since 2006. In 2007, Andrew also began a new venture in professional photography. Over the next number of years, he travelled on assignment all over the world. This is why he is meticulous when it comes to your marketing images! To say Andrew's travel and photography experience is extensive would definitely be an understatement. He has journeyed to remote and exotic locations in 48 countries on all six continents in search of adventure and authentic cultural experiences. Whether it is diving with great white sharks in South Africa, in a cage with Bengal tigers in northern Thailand or perched atop a land cruiser, photographing rhinos and lions in the Serengeti, he has likely photographed any holiday experience you can imagine. In 2015, Andrew earned the Directors Platinum award from Royal LePage for outstanding sales performance. Andrew's commitment as your real estate professional is to provide you with the specialized real estate service you deserve. Whether you're buying or selling, contact him with any questions that you may have. His promise to you is that your experience will be both stress-free and enjoyable. His focus is always YOU and the results you can expect from him.


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6 thoughts on “Lie Down and Die? Never!

  • Catalina Campuzano

    Absolutley inspirational and amazing. I love and admire your courage and strength. Everyone has a story and reason that has encouraged them to do better. It is so damn easy to give up and just hope that the pain goes away, but the stregth to keep going is what takes you places. Trust me I know, been there done that and I’m still going strong. Andrew I can relate to what you wrote and what you wrote actually motivated me to keep going. Thank you for sharing. Keep up the good job.

  • Tom Kiriakou

    Pateras,

    I enjoyed the read and looking through the endless pictures!

    All the best to you on your travels.

    My question to you is…what’s next?

    Tom

  • Mel D

    Andrew,
    Amazing story. I love reading your blog and seeing your pix. I happened upon this posting, and I felt I had to pass this onto a friend who is going through a tough time. I am sure she will find it helpful.

    MD