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O’ Captain, My Captain: Life & Travel Lessons from Dead Poets Society

As a millennial obsessed with pop culture and digging up old movies from a young age, I stumbled upon my first entry into the wanderlust worlds of Walt Whitman, Henry David Thoreau and Robert Frost via sneaking a view of Peter Weir’s Dead Poets Society past my bedtime. Far too young to fully understand the depth of the various themes outlined throughout the film until I later encountered the original texts, I nonetheless was emotionally inspired by the overarching message of living life to the fullest without seeking the permission of others to explore self-expression through the arts. It was then that I fell in love with one of my favorite movie characters of all-time, Professor John Keating portrayed by the genius Robin Williams. With Williams’ untimely passing on Monday, it is here that I share five pre-mature life lessons I learned and still carry along my journeys from dear O’ Captain, my Captain John Keating, through quotes and travel images, in honor of one of my favorite actors, comedians, and creative inspirations of all-time. Rest in peace Robin Williams, you will be greatly missed…

1) “Carpe….Hear it? Carpe, carpe diem, seize the day boys, make your lives extraordinary.”

Cesarin Mateo-Jetsetter Problems-Florence

Carpe diem & a resounding, barbaric yawp captured by JP motley crew member, Cesarin Mateo, while overlooking rooftops in Florence. Via @iamcesarin on Instagram

2) “No matter what anybody tells you, words and ideas can change the world.” 

Khadijat Oseni-Jetsetter Problems-De La Vega

Inspirational words by artist, De La Vega spotted on a night out in the Lower East Side

3) “Now we all have a great need for acceptance, but you must trust that your beliefs are unique, your own, even though others may think them odd or unpopular, even though the herd may go (imitating a goat) “that’s baaaad”. Robert Frost said, “Two roads diverged in the wood and I, took the one less travelled by, and that has made all the difference.”

Khadijat Oseni-Jetsetter Problems-Shaolin by Cesarin Mateo

Exploring abandoned locations and rain dances in Shaolin. © Cesarin Mateo

4) “Why do I stand up here? Anybody? I stand upon my desk to remind myself that we must constantly look at things in a different way. The world looks very different up here. Just when you think you know something, you have to look at it in another way…”

Khadijat Oseni-Jetsetter Problems-New Delhi

Bird’s eye view of New Delhi, India turned rabbit hole of existence

5) “We don’t read and write poetry because it’s cute. We read and write poetry because we are members of the human race. And the human race is filled with passion. And medicine, law, business, engineering, these are noble pursuits and necessary to sustain life. But poetry, beauty, romance, love, these are what we stay alive for.”

Khadijat Oseni-Jetsetter Problems-Haldi ceremony Udaipur

Observing poetry in motion at my dear friend, Shuchi’s haldi ceremony in Udaipur, India

Thank you for the early source of inspiration…still working on my verse.

R Williams as John Keating

Robin Williams as Professor John Keating © 1989, Touchstone Pictures