Who am I?
No matter the amount of flights, it never ceases to become any less incredible. Suspended below me, the earth is a raging sea of clouds that appear frozen in time. Looking above, I reflect on a brilliant blue that fades into darkness. I shift my eyes below to the array of patterns and colors of farmland that seem to stretch into the infinite, the roads and buildings, the tiny vehicles scurrying constant like worker ants.
We do not truly become aware of our own insignificance until we board an aircraft. We will not begin to understand it until we witness other ways of life, society, and belief. An open mind and patience are the essence of travel. We must be open-minded not only to other ways of life, but to different ideas and beliefs. The ones we hold dearest, the ones we defend with everything we have, the ones we die, kill, and sacrifice everything for; they are the false prisons that tear us apart. This I have learned.
When good things happen, we call them a blessing. When bad things happen, we call that a curse. Siddhartha said “There is no good, no bad, everything simply is”. It means that life is a mental projection, and no two projections are the same.
The friendships that we build on the road are strong ones, despite the often small lapse in time to form them. Often it seems that as quickly as we say “hello”, we are uttering the words “goodbye”. With a hug, a smile, and a promise to see each other again somewhere in the world, we disappear on a boat, plane, or train destined for a new, personally uncharted land.
Always moving is a desire as strong as any drug, it is an addiction of the boldest kind. Being alone in a foreign country is wonderfully uncomfortable. It forces us to change, to grow. We must adapt to our surroundings, we must survive. Once we do, nothing can rival the emotions of such conquests.
Three hundred and forty-eight is the number of days I have drifted the earth. The number of days I’ve spent camping, sleeping in parks, hitchhiking, eating supermarket discounts, living on sailboats, swimming in the ocean, maneuvering motorbikes through traffic, hiking up mountains and through jungles, overnight buses, ferries, learning new languages, drinking good wine, and making life long bonds.
I’ve been angry, impatient, soaking wet, stranded, left without money, injured, exhausted, and deceived. I’ve helped others, and in return I’ve been helped. I’ve lost, I’ve loved, and I’ve fallen in love.
As I sit on this 13 hour flight from Japan to Dallas, (in between two strangers because I refuse to pay for a seat upgrade), I can’t help but reflect on this year, and how things back home will have carried on the same. If I take anything away from my experience as a traveler, as a person, it is this:
Time is wasted when it is spent in fear, in hesitation, and second guessing yourself and your abilities, in surrounding yourself with people who reflect negativity, and project negative and stressful emotions inside of you. Do not allow yourself to be conditioned into a pessimist. Stay self-aware, recognize and talk about your flaws, but never accept anything as unchangeable.
Exercise regularly, read books, reflect, see the sun, drink lots of water and stop making excuses for your life, take control of it.
Oh, Handstands…ALWAYS HANDSTANDS!