Biography: Dave Landis
I am naturally the kind of person who understands the positive value of taking intelligent risks. I have learned that in order to reach for my goals and dreams I must make myself vulnerable. I enjoy challenging and pushing myself to new self-defining levels through various activities in my life. Whether it is rock climbing, bungee jumping, a biology degree, a marathon, or a sailboat, I am always curious to explore the unknown depths of where a pursued dream can take a person.
The idea of this specific trip came about in August 2003 when Eric and I were returning from Africa as leaders of the LEAP program to the Mennonite World Conference in Zimbabwe. It was an idea that we had mentioned to each other in conversations various times throughout the past few years, and had always dreamed of making it a reality. When we were talking about it on our way back from Africa, we decided that we must do it. It was the best time of our lives to choose this adventure, to live this lifestyle, to take this risk.
I remember at one specific time during this past year that I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that this trip would become the largest risk of my life. I decided to reevaluate my career path, knowing that this break would interrupt my expected educational schedule, including MCATs, medical school applications, interviews, and the subsequent schooling. And more internally, I also knew that this trip had the capacity to change me into a person that I did not yet know completely, and that this transition could change the entire path of my life..
It is difficult to really know yourself, to know what you hope for, what you dream, and how your calling is realizing its maturation. I spent a lot of time during my senior year of college looking at these specific issues and pursuing various dreams. I built a sailboat and ran a marathon, and each of these experiences taught me many lessons about myself and the nature of my dreams. They led me to realize that when your dreams start to grow in size, a proportionally larger commitment is required, and you better start matching your dreams to your calling or your life will be spent pursuing ends that might not necessarily be what God has intended.
Over the year I continued to explore the ideas, topics, and issues that really invigorated my intellect and motivational energy, and I found that I was starting to lose some interest in biology and a future medical career. The foundational idea of the journey continued to provide energy to seek out out my options, and I continued to pursue this from various perspectives, through shorter and more personal applications. I independently started reading many books that somehow related to this experience, and since the fall of 2004, I believe that I have read over 50 books that have impacted my motivations for this journey. I also started to view smaller scale travel experiences through the same lens, being careful to watch for what motivated me and what left me desiring more.
I have found that many people desire this type of journey, but few pursue it. Many of us desire a lifelong spiritual journey in which we are transformed to match our calling and continually refined through challenges, testing, and humility. Many desire the aspects of a physical journey which provide the same lessons in a very tangible way. It seems natural to combine the physical and the spiritual, to merge all of our motivations and meaningful seeking into one common thread of experience. When we choose to live the journey, the interior and exterior parts of our lives form an essential integrity that provides deeper meaning into the methods of how we are to seek relationship with God.
And it is through these journeys that many find their callings. In my past it has been the service and travel experiences that have left the largest impacts on my life. Each time I return from one of these experiences, I gain a greater insight into a dimension of my calling, and I am able to articulate the dimensions that must be or must not be part of my life. Each one of these experiences changes me, and I can never live my life in the same way again. Journey by journey, I begin to find pieces of the calling for my life, and I trust that even though I am unable to see the completed puzzle now, my persitent stalking of this unknown calling offers me contentment that the pieces are continuing to fall into place.
And I am extremely curious, how will this journey change me? How will it deepen my understandings of God, of the world, and of myself? The journey is deep; the risk is incredible; the stakes are very high. And this is what we are called to do. We must be willing to take these risks. We must stalk our calling by pursuing it through our lifestyles. This is really all we can do.
In April I graduated from EMU with a bachelor's degree in biology, focusing on pre-medicine. Whenever I tell anyone my education and degree, they always ask, "So now what are you going to do with that?" My response is that I really don't know. I might end up using it, and I might not. Either way, I don't regret my science education and I tremendously enjoyed my college learning experience.
Throughout the past few years I have reconsidered my idea to pursue a career as a doctor and have started exploring other opportunities. My recent travel experiences in the Middle East and Africa have opened up my thinking to different and more attractive possibilities. The one thing that I do know about myself is that I want to do something internationally based, service oriented, and inspirational for others. I also know that I do want to continue my education in the future, gaining a masters degree and possibly a PhD. I also have strong interests in cross-cultural learning, adjusting and re-adjusting, and faith development within this setting. I'm hoping that this journey will provide insight into the many possibilities present throughout the world and will help point me towards a certain direction for the future.
After this trip, I really have no idea where I will be. I have a strong desire to return to the Middle East and spend a few years there serving the peace process by working within the current conflict. Another option is to look at graduate schools or seminaries, although I'm not exactly sure what to study yet. I'm putting a lot of my faith for the future into the insights and learning from this experience, and I trust that I will start to see many of my interests and callings merge into a focused direction.
- Steve Landis - Pastor at Franconia Mennonite Church, Franconia, PA
- Rosemary Landis - Nursing Administrator at Community Home Services, Souderton, PA
- Orie & Florence Kindy - Plumsteadville, PA
- Paul & Ann Landis - Lancaster, PA
Locations lived in…
- Born in Harrisonburg, VA on June 13, 1982
- Mount Jackson, VA, 1982-1986
- Pennsburg, PA, 1986-1995
- Harleysville, PA 1995-2004
- Eastern Mennonite University, Harrisonburg, VA 2000-2004
- Mount Jackson Mennonite Church – Mount Jackson, VA
- Finland Mennonite Church – Pennsburg, PA
- Franconia Mennonite Church – Telford, PA
- Penn View Christian School (K-8), 1987-1996 – Souderton, PA
- Christopher Dock Mennonite High School (9-12), 1996-2000 – Lansdale, PA
- Eastern Mennonite University (B.S. in Biology). 2000-2004 – Harrisonburg, PA
- Bergeys’, Inc. – Franconia, PA – 1997-2000
- Grand View Hospital – Sellersville,
- Central Transport
- House Orderly
- Nurse Aide
Spruce Lake Wilderness Camp –
- Counselor, Summer 2001
- Expedition Guide, Summer 2003
- Beaver Camp – Lowville,
- Wilderness Guide, Summer 2002
- Eastern Mennonite University – Harrisonburg, VA
Significant Travel & Service Experiences…
- United States (46/50 states)
- Many camping trips throughout the United States with the family
- Cross country road trip in 1998 with family
- Service Trips with Franconia Mennonite Church
- Augusta, KS
- San Antonio, TX
- Red Lake, Ontario, Canada
- Wilderness Guide trips throughout the east coast, especially in upstate New York
- Bike Tour through New England (Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine), Spring 2003
- Maine & New Brunswick, Fall Break 2003
- Service Trip to Pine Lake Camp – Meridian, Mississippi, Spring 2003
- MS150 City to Shore Bike Tour, New Jersey, Falls 1993?-2000
- Europe – Christopher
Dock Touring Choir, Summer 2000
- Czech Republic
- Middle East – Fall 2002, EMU Cross-cultural
- Africa –Mennonite
World Conference, LEAP Program
leader, Eastern Mennonite Seminary,
- Paris, France
- South Africa
- Mexico – Spring Break, Spring 2004
- Puerto Rico, VMBM, Academia Menonita Betania, Summer 2004
Interests & Hobbies
- Computers, Web design, electronics
- CPR for the Healthcare Professional, American Heart Association
- Basic First Aid, American Red Cross
- Wilderness First Aid, National Safety Council & Wilderness Medical Society
- Wilderness First Aid, SOLO
- Lifeguarding, American Red Cross
Over the past year, I have created a personal website in order to share digital photography with friends and to keep others in touch with my vagabonding lifestyle. This site has a collection of photo galleries from many of my past experiences, various quotes that I have found interesting, and a blog that has provided an overview of my life throughout the past few months. Note that the page will not be updated throughout the next year and that all updates will be on the vivaelviaje.com website.
* The nature of this journey will make it difficult for anyone to contact us immediately, but the best possible ways are by email or through this website.
- Email me at - I am hoping to check my email periodically throughout the year, but I can't make any promises as to how much I will be able to write back.
- Post comments to the blog on this site - Remember that these will be available to anyone who views this page.