“I always like to look on the optimistic side of life, but I am realistic enough to know that life is a complex matter.”
As I sit writing this on the plane from Kansas City to Los Angeles, it hit me full in the face, that the day has arrived. Whether I’m ready or not, the time to feed my nomadic soul is here. I’m always amazed at how I can spend so much time counting down to something and then when it arrives be completely taken by surprise and unprepared.
This isn’t my first “big tip” nor will it be my last. However, this trip is different for me. I’ve spent the last couple of days really reflecting about my trip to Asia and why I feel so different about it.
Usually, I can’t think about anything but the destination.
Usually, I’m getting ready to leave for months at a time.
Usually, I’m going alone.
But none of those “usuals” are true this time. I’ve been so busy with work, redesigning my blog, and coordinating the trip I didn’t pay attention to how quickly the days were slipping by. I’m pretty sure my friends and coworkers were more excited than I was- not fully understanding that my mind was on finishing everything I could before I left. Some may even say that I wasn’t ready for this trip.
One of my many life rules is “have standards, not expectations”. Since I first started traveling, people have asked me if I was ‘ready’ to go. Which I’ve always found to be an absurd question. It’s like asking someone “are you ready to have a baby” or “are you ready to get married’ or “are you ready to go away to college” you may think you are, but you can never be truly ready for anything in life that really matters.
Being ready implies you know what to expect and are prepared for it. That you have an idea of what’s waiting just around the bend, but that’s not what traveling is about and that’s sure as hell not what life’s about either.
The more I got the question the more I was reminded of René Descartes (the dude who said ‘I think therefore I am’). Descartes was a philosopher and mathematician who had a theory about the human brain having a limit to what it can imagine and comprehend. He’d tell someone to imagine an object with four sides (go ahead and image a thing with 4 sides).
Once they’d confirmed they could, he’d tell them to imagine a thing with a million sides (go ahead give it a try, I won’t judge you for failing). Every single person would tell him they couldn’t do it.
The predeparture part of traveling has always been like that to me. Filled with a lack of expectations and readiness. Afterall, how could I possibly be ready for something that I have never experienced? That I can’t even comprehend? We’re all limited by our experiences and until you go somewhere and do something there’s no way you can be ready for it.
I learned to approach my trips (and life) with that open mind and up for anything attitude. It’s why ‘I don’t say no too much’. That philosophy has led to some of the best moments of my life. When you do something with an open mind, appreciate the little things, and don’t sweat the small stuff you’ll be amazed at the situations you find yourself in and the experiences you have.
All you can do is open yourself up to the new and exciting and that’s the reason so many people love traveling. It forces us into situations we haven’t planned for and could have never imagined just a few days ago. Traveling helps us to learn what we’re capable of by constantly keeping ourselves just a little uncomfortable. Only through being challenged can we grow.
This trip is different from the ones I’ve taken before which means most of the experiences I’ve had before don’t really apply. I’ve been working instead of daydreaming about my destination. I’m ‘only; going for a month and I’m leading a group of ten. I’m even less prepared than usual.
So no. I’m not ready. But I’m going anyway.
The best way to keep up with my trip to Southeast Asia is to follow me on Instagram- Todds_Tales.
“A developed country is not a place where the poor have cars. It’s where the rich use public transportation. ”
Mayor of Bogota
“Every time you fall down, pick something up.”
“The only part of you that hurts when you’re given the truth is the part that lives on lies.”
“I find hope in the darkest of days, and focus in the brightest. I do not judge the universe.”
“Nothing is original. Steal from anywhere that resonates with inspiration or fuels your imagination. Devour old films, new films, music, books, paintings, photographs, poems, dreams, random conversations, architecture, bridges, street signs, trees, clouds, bodies of water, light and shadows. Select only things to steal from that speak directly to your soul. If you do this, your work (and theft) will be authentic. Authenticity is invaluable; originality is non-existent. And don’t bother concealing your thievery – celebrate it if you feel like it. In any case, always remember what Jean-Luc Godard said: “It’s not where you take things from – it’s where you take them to.”
“Creativity takes courage.”
“Your brain gets too comfortable in your everyday surroundings. You need to make it uncomfortable. You need to spend some time in another land, among people that do things differently than you. Travel makes the world look new, and when the world looks new, our brains work harder.”