I love catching up with old friends, quickly falling back into the same routines and humour that brought us together in the first-place years earlier whether at school, university or previous jobs. Chatting to one friend as we were walking to dinner, she said something I perceived as a huge compliment - “you seem very . . . zen”. This was new for me, and quite wonderful. As I confessed to a colleague before leaving on my Pan-American for four months, this trip wasn’t just about travel, it was about finding myself again. Part of the process was to try and focus on being present.
Regardless of what was going on throughout the world, in my personal life, with work, with friends and their lives, I focused on me and my journey. If it wasn’t important for my next few days or weeks as part of the trip, it wasn’t worth thinking about. It wasn’t easy, but I made sure that each day I enjoyed that day for what it was instead of focusing on what I might be doing in three years or where I might be in twenty years. I even restricted to thinking about only those people that were travelling with me. Of course, family and my girlfriend are the exception, but if there were problems with either I was determined that it wasn’t going to bother me, and I wasn’t going to stop enjoying where I was and who I was with. I had worked too hard and too long to have anything but a good time. Besides, it was a privilege.
To travel the way I do is nothing but a pleasure. Although demanding and often difficult, it is a joy to be in a position financially and mentally to take on such a trip. Often during my work days back in the office, I would ask people if they are winning. The responses were, as they say in corporate life, “mixed”, which basically means it ranged from “yes things are awesome!” to words that I can’t write without causing offence to gods, goats and everything in between. But it’s only just dawned on me how I look at life: am I concerned with winning? Not really. Winning for me is simply not losing heavily. It’s the first time I’d ever thought about it this way – there will be downs and challenges and times I am upset and angry, but it the reaction to it that is important. And equally when you feel like you’re having a winning day, not to wonder too much what is coming around the corner (as it will inevitably sit you right back down on your arse!) but to enjoy it for what it is. Celebrate the good times, struggle through the bad times, but enjoy every moment for what it is as it will soon change. The tide will turn, whether you want it to or not.
Writing and writing...