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At 19, Patrick Joseph Falterman left his life in Houston to realize his dream of exploring the Amazon.

Falterman sold everything he owned to purchase gear and began hitchhiking to the Amazon on an incredible journey. It ended up taking two years to complete and changed his life forever. Along the way, hesaw unbelievable things, met fascinating people, and yes, got into some trouble now and then (which he freely admitted). The point is that he took a chance and was rewarded with a life entirely different from the one he left behind.

In turn, he rewarded the world with an account of his adventures, complete with hitchhiking guides and detailed anecdotes that read more like a thrilling novel than a blog.

Unfortunately, in September 2016, three years after achieving his dream of reaching the Amazon, Falterman was killed in a plane crash, leaving only the stories of his travels behind.


Below is a powerful illustrated tribute to Falterman's life and memory drawn by his friend Cale:

Many of us have had moments where we’ve said to ourselves: “If I stay in this life situation, I'm going to have major regrets in 10 years. I need to get out." Maybe it's not so dire for you. Maybe you've just felt that occasional pull to drop everything and jump on a plane to a remote destination because life's gotten a little too monotonous. That compulsion to adventure is inherent in roughly 20% of all humans. It's actually in our genetic makeup.

You don't have to follow in Falterman's footsteps to set yourself free. This is just one man's unique journey. There are many different paths that can put you on the road less traveled.

It's about deciding to do that thing you've been putting off — taking yourself to a new place (literally or figuratively) if only for a day, an hour, or even a moment.

"The point is that time is fleeting, so be who you want to be, now," Cale writes in a message. No one understood this better than his friend Patrick, who had only 26 years on this Earth but always grabbed hold of each moment and lived the hell out if it.

Joy

1991 blooper clip of Robin Williams and Elmo is a wholesome nugget of comedic genius

Robin Williams is still bringing smiles to faces after all these years.

Robin Williams and Elmo (Kevin Clash) bloopers.

The late Robin Williams could make picking out socks funny, so pairing him with the fuzzy red monster Elmo was bound to be pure wholesome gold. Honestly, how the puppeteer, Kevin Clash, didn’t completely break character and bust out laughing is a miracle. In this short outtake clip, you get to see Williams crack a few jokes in his signature style while Elmo tries desperately to keep it together.

Williams has been a household name since what seems like the beginning of time, and before his death in 2014, he would make frequent appearances on "Sesame Street." The late actor played so many roles that if you were ask 10 different people what their favorite was, you’d likely get 10 different answers. But for the kids who spent their childhoods watching PBS, they got to see him being silly with his favorite monsters and a giant yellow canary. At least I think Big Bird is a canary.

When he stopped by "Sesame Street" for the special “Big Bird's Birthday or Let Me Eat Cake” in 1991, he was there to show Elmo all of the wonderful things you could do with a stick. Williams turns the stick into a hockey stick and a baton before losing his composure and walking off camera. The entire time, Elmo looks enthralled … if puppets can look enthralled. He’s definitely paying attention before slumping over at the realization that Williams goofed a line. But the actor comes back to continue the scene before Elmo slinks down inside his box after getting Williams’ name wrong, which causes his human co-star to take his stick and leave.

The little blooper reel is so cute and pure that it makes you feel good for a few minutes. For an additional boost of serotonin, check out this other (perfectly executed) clip about conflict that Williams did with the two-headed monster. He certainly had a way of engaging his audience, so it makes sense that even after all of these years, he's still greatly missed.

Noe Hernandez and Maria Carrillo, the owners of Noel Barber Shop in Anaheim, California.

Jordyn Poulter was the youngest member of the U.S. women’s volleyball team, which took home the gold medal at the Tokyo Olympics last year. She was named the best setter at the Tokyo games and has been a member of the team since 2018.

Unfortunately, according to a report from ABC 7 News, her gold medal was stolen from her car in a parking garage in Anaheim, California, on May 25.

It was taken along with her passport, which she kept in her glove compartment. While storing a gold medal in your car probably isn’t the best idea, she did it to keep it by her side while fulfilling the hectic schedule of an Olympian.

"We live this crazy life of living so many different places. So many of us play overseas, then go home, then come out here and train,” Poulter said, according to ABC 7. "So I keep the medal on me (to show) friends and family I haven't seen in a while, or just people in the community who want to see the medal. Everyone feels connected to it when they meet an Olympian, and it's such a cool thing to share with people."

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Education

Teacher of the year explains why he's leaving district in unforgettable 3-minute speech

"I'm leaving in hopes that I can regain the ability to do the job that I love."

Lee Allen

For all of our disagreements in modern American life, there are at least a few things most of us can agree on. One of those is the need for reform in public education. We don't all agree on the solutions but many of the challenges are undeniable: retaining great teachers, reducing classroom size and updating the focus of student curriculums to reflect the ever-changing needs of a globalized workforce.

And while parents, politicians and activists debate those remedies, one voice is all-too-often ignored: that of teachers themselves.

This is why a short video testimony from a teacher in the Atlanta suburb of Gwinnett County went viral recently. After all, it's hard to deny the points made by someone who was just named teacher of the year and used the occasion to announce why he will be leaving the very school district that just honored him with that distinction.

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