Ode to Road

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, and fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people will not feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It is not just in some of us; it is in everyone and as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give others permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.

Tomorrow marks the one year anniversary of my free roaming travels; a second dose of exploration for a wanderlust addict. Tomorrow concludes my Sophomore year in “On The Road” University.

It began at a drab security checkpoint in San Francisco International Airport. I remember yelling out “I love you,” to my mother, over the din of metal detectors, TSA agents, and the bottleneck of fellow passengers.

Then after slowly turning away to find my gate, I immediately felt buoyant. Every step I took was charged with excitement. A smile burst forth in spite of the glum and tense atmosphere of the bustling airport. I was finally untethered from the fatigues, aims, and concerns of working life. I was free once again.

On March 15th, 2015 I flew to Auckland, New Zealand. My travels thereafter swept me North up the East coast of Australia. They flew me to Indonesia. Eventually I found my way to Singapore, the gateway to Southeast Asia. And from there I traveled overland for six months to Sa Pa, Vietnam where I write from now. Nine countries total, in twelve months of travel.

All the people I’ve met, of every description, in every walk of life, and from all over the world, stand out as the most rewarding aspect of travelling. Locals and foreigners alike. They each bestow an insight beyond valuation. They’ve collectively educated me about the world like no at-home curriculum ever could. Interacting with them has improved my life immeasurably. I cannot offer enough gratitude. I would list off the names of every single person who’s impacted my travel if I thought a bloated paragraph would pay proper tribute.

But of course there’s so much more than that.

There are all the places explored. There is all the food eaten. The skills and lessons learned. The adventures of moving from town to town, country to country. And there is the sweet cocktail of fun and rough times that give life on the road its unique flavor.

I’ve had this wondrous year for a total cost of around $6,000, all inclusive.

I’ll talk about the how and what, the tips and tricks. I’ll share the sublime experiences, the tales of adventure. I’ll advise on places to go.  I’ll write about where I went and why, and what each experience meant to me.

I’ll do it because the experiences alone validate the time I’ve spent on the road. The fun alone would be worth it. For the friends made, the sites seen, and the things learned it would all be worth it.

But I did more. Traveling means more to me than good times.

So the heart of my writing will be about how I let myself be changed by my travels. How I let cultural illusions crumble. How I questioned preference and challenged priority.

Along my travels I rid myself of superfluous need. I tested assumptions. I probed the boundaries of safety. And with a naive open mindedness I let cynicism dissolve. All with the implicit intent to uncover truth; the way the world actually is, not how it appears extruded through a flat screen.

For my efforts I gained so much more than a few funny stories.

I developed an imperturbable confidence around any group of people. I developed a supreme comfort in any environment. I learned what common traits every human shares, and which are merely culturally imbued.

I developed a keen empathy. I overcame the moral implications of law, love, culture, and fear. I constructed a cohesive belief system that encompasses everything, from the actions of the universe to those of society, people, and the self. I cultivated a belief system that beautifully weaves my station into the fabric of all that exists.

I transcended myself. I cannot possibly explain all the qualities that I’ve fostered, nor the full extent of their value. But I’ll try on this blog.

And maybe you’ll find some use of my attitudes as well.

Over the course of this year, through a deep understanding of it, I grew to love the world, as well as all the people in it. Even those who’d exploit me, take advantage of my ignorance. Even the bigoted and intolerant.  I forged and tempered a method of interacting with the world that contains a softness for acceptance, and a strength for endurance.

I travel with a poetic sense which rescues any experience from banality. I’ve cultivated a perspective that takes full advantage of bliss, and withstands hardship unbending.  Here I express those thoughts.

Thank you for reading.

-C

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