Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Adventure > Writing

I don't know how they do it. Travel writers that is. I love writing. In fact, sometimes the urge to write gets to be so intense that I drop everything I'm doing and walk-run-dash-sprint (in that order) to a computer (I think a lot of people think I have a lot of horrendous cases of diarrhea or something) in order to spill everything onto the page. It's weird to say, but there's comfort in writing sentences, in finding just the right word to describe something. It's magical. Like, a Disney-like magic moment where things "click", if only for less than a blink of the eye.

That all said, it's getting harder and harder to write. Specifically, to find time to write. And no, it's not because I'm not experiencing enough or that I don't have the words to describe it all. It's just that - for the first time in my life - words can and are getting in the way of the adventures.

I see it like this. 

There are some people who take WAY too many pictures. To them, every moment has to have a picture. Which, fine, I get it - memories for the kids and all. But when you stare into a screen to get that perfect angle or stretch out the selfie-stick-thingee, thinking, "Hmm, I wonder if my Facebook friends will like this?", you're essentially tearing yourself away from the moment. Your eyes are a wonderful thing, and so is being in the moment. The minute you're sucked into a screen instead of what's going on around you, you lose the chance to be a 100% in that small segment of time that most likely will never happen again in your lifetime. And that perfectly centered, creatively-done picture? Uh, here's the deal, it's basically going to be liked a few times on the social networking site of your choice, then it'll slink back into some obscure album that no one except future stalkers and future boyfriends/girlfriends (which, could be the same person as the stalkers) will see again. That's not to say I don't take a lot of pictures - I do and love doing so - but I do my best to practice being present as much as I can.

This reminds me of the scene with Sean Penn (Sean) in The Secret Life of Walter Mitty where Ben Stiller (Walter) wonders why Sean, after waiting for what seems like an eternity to take a picture of an extremely rare "ghost" cat, decides to ditch the camera when it finally appears.

Walter Mitty: When are you going to take it?

Sean O'Connell: Sometimes I don't. If I like a moment, for me, personally, I don't like to have the distraction of the camera. I just want to stay in it.

Walter Mitty: Stay in it?

Sean O'Connell: Yeah. Right there. Right here.

Writing has turned to that. I don't have a lot of time any more to stop and reflect. Of course, I MUST do it from time to time (I originally wrote this on a train ride that looked like Hogwarts' bus had one-night-stands with a WWII submarine and a 3rd world prison, but it got deleted. So, one guess of where I'm typing this! Oh, you got it? You're goooood, you know me well).

Okay, wow, that was a long ramble with the point just being this: expect less writing from me from here on out. I'll do my best to do it at least one to times a week, but no promises. There's an adventure waiting as I type this. Friends to make laugh (or, really, friends to make me laugh). And a new world to explore.

I can't be in the coffee shop writing when the world is just outside the door.

Second order of business. What am I up to? Well, as I've mentioned before, I don't want to bore you with: I/we went to A then to B, and then oh God, crazy things happened at C! So, here's some choice pictures and some stories and some thoughts. Scratch that. Wifi sucks, IOU.

Last order of business. And this one is a pretty personal one. But, if anything, that's what this blog is all about: a journey that changes me (still have no idea why people even read this kind of stuff though).

I've always had low self esteem. For a ton of different reasons that would fill this entry up to the maximum word count real quick-like - from my own (society driven?) judgement of my looks, my character, my intelligence, and so. All of it, my qualities that make me, me, I thought (foreshadowing alert! Past tense used there!) were sub-par, so to speak. I've been blessed with a really good disposition though and can pretty much ignore it most of the time. I think people believe I have a pretty high self esteem. And for most of the time, I certainly do.

When it (my lows self esteem) rears its head is when it comes to relationships and the believing in myself. Relationships: they've always crashed and burned (well, not all, some just fizzled all undramatic like). I blame a lot of this on me. I wasn't ready and I didn't think too highly of myself (bad combination and I think a billion romantic comedies have this plot line). I've always thought it weird when someone gorgeous took interest in me. My response: I usually just run. I always thought there were "leagues" and the gorgeous ones - in beauty, and intelligence and humor, were always a few tiers up. Unreachable, I guess you could say.

It also appears when I think about the future as well and where I will end up and what I will do for a living. Everyone told me I was destined for great things, but I never really thought I was "good" enough.

I don't think that any more.

In fact, in two and a half months, across three countries, while meeting and traveling with countless different new people, I think I've really found my worth.
This trip has tested all my abilities and I've met all the challenges thrown at me (and then some!).

Low self-esteem? That's bullshit. 

Let's look to the all mighty Wikipedia for a definition:

In sociology and psychology, self-esteem reflects a person's overall emotional evaluation of his or her own worth. It is a judgment of oneself as well as an attitude toward the self. Self-esteem encompasses beliefs (for example, "I am competent," "I am worthy") and emotions such as triumph, despair, pride and shame.

I've found that the only thing that ultimately decides my pride, my shame, my triumphs is so extremely simple: it's me.

I am in control of what to think about myself.
After going on countless adventures, opening myself up to strangers (usually, it's the other way around for a social worker), and challenging myself to do everything I thought I was horrible at (directions is a good example...) I've found that I should never, ever think of myself as "not good enough" for anyone, or not proud of who I am and what I do, or, or, or... 

Yeah, I am in control. And I'm deciding I never want to let my self doubts interfere again.

And I can't pinpoint a single eye-opening scene that did this for me during this road trip of a journey, time blurs together.

-Maybe it's being away from the Western culture telling me what makes someone beautiful or successful or worthy (hint: it's not what the ads on your television tell you it should be). 
-Maybe it's seeing that I have a ton of great qualities that I've never actually acknowledged because I'm very codependent and do my best to always focus on others and not myself.
-Maybe then, it's this enormous amount of self-reflection time I've been given.
-Or maybe, just maybe, this is just me growing up.

I used to be scared to chase the things I thought I wasn't good enough for, relationships, my future, and otherwise.

So, Past, Present, and Future walked into a bar.

It was pretty tense.

But the past is just that, gone up and past (don't worry, I'm not going to break out into poetry. At least not this time).

I'm speaking in all future terms from now on.
And this time, I'm making my own terms. Confidently, loudly, and most importantly,


As for India. It's growing on me. It's beautifully mad. That's the best way to describe it all.


  1. It's strange, as I read this just now, I couldn't help but feel so identified. I am going through an odd moment with my self esteem right now and this enlightened me. Cheers!