Thought I'd share a few things from my travels which prevail through life. Or at least they do for me:
Try - Regretting something you didn’t do will eat away at you more than the stuff you tried and got wrong. I hiked for 5hrs in snow uphill to find the path was closed at the top and I could do nothing but come back down again. I started a business, spent a lot of money, 8 months of my life doing it. And I abandoned it because I realised there was something else I was more passionate about. Who cares! We overestimate the impact of trying vs not trying. We’re a risk averse species, that’s why we’ve lived so long, but some great innovations and advancements have come about by taking a risk. Just calculate the risk, learn from the mistakes, learn from trying, take as much out of it as you can. It’s not enough to say “well I was trying to juggle chainsaws, and then I lost my arm, and I learnt it was dangerous”. We sensationalise failure because we’re afraid people will find out we failed, when the reality is that so many of us are doing so many different things, that really no one gives a shit if you’ve failed or not as they’ve got their own lives going on. You’ve failed? Awesome. I’ve got bills to pay, kids running around screaming, a job where my boss is going to kill me for not completing a report, a girls’ night out on Saturday, oh and you failed? So what! Fail. Embrace it, move on. One of my current favourite quotes is this, from W.C. Fields, the great American comedian – “If at first you don’t succeed, try, try, try again. Then quit. There’s no need to be a damn fool about it” Then again sometimes it’s worth the push. I don’t know if this is hypocraphyl or not, but guess how many times did Colonel Sanders go to a restaurant to sell his chicken recipe before finding one that would take it on? Guess? 10? 50? 200 times? Try over a 1000.
Adventuring and travel is a privilege. I read on forums all the time ‘what are the key takeaways of overlanding?’ and people are looking for these nuggets of truth, like carrying spare water, learning the native tongue, hiding a spare key in your shoe in case you get locked out in the middle of a salt flat in Bolivia (me), etc people want the inside fast track when in fact the key is staring them in the face the whole time. It’s as simple as this: “appreciate that 99% of the world will never get the chance that you have to travel and experience what you’re about to. So no matter how shitty the day, how bleak the outlook, enjoy the fuck out of it”. The same could be said of life. Unless you see and experience different perspectives you have no idea how lucky you are. No fucking idea.
Don’t listen when people tell you something cannot be done. The more vehement and angry and steadfast, the more fanatical someone is about something . . . take it with a pinch of salt. Usually they’re the ones that know nothing and have formed their opinion on half-facts, spouting them as gospel truths. Prove them wrong, and when you do, be magnanimous in victory. Women didn’t win the right to vote and black people didn’t get to ride at the front of the bus and Jews didn’t get to share the same white neighbourhoods as Christians because they did what they were told. Learn your place? How about unlearn your place. Go and find your place. This time around on my travels I met far more women travelling solo than ever before and it was great to see. In Australia there are currently more females than males (marginal %) so why do men have the top jobs? Jobs for the boys? No, don’t take it. Women will outlive us men anyway, when we die take control and beat the rest of us into submission. When you get to parity though please back down a bit or you’ll wipe us out!
Time. Spend your time wisely. How many people listen to music on the way to work? What about switching on the television when you get home? Game of Thrones, Peeky Blinders, Taboo, all these things entertain us. It’s a way of spending time, like you have an abundance and can easily acquire more. We often don’t think how important time is. Time isn’t money, time is the most important thing that anyone will ever possess. And you spend it! Spend it on distracting yourself, making time pass faster . . . diverting yourself away from reality. What the hell is wrong with reality that you need to be diverted all the time? Spend some time looking at your surroundings. Again, travelling enables you to do that. To disappear into a corner of the world and just sit. Think. To be less distracted and more focused. I make time every day to let the world turn without me at the corner of my couch with a cup of tea. I let my mind wander and it's wonderful. I find myself going for walks without music, with my phone on airplane mode . . . I don’t turn it off as I need my step count ha ha but spend time with yourself.
As an extra push, and this won’t be popular but I’ll say it anyway, drink and drugs don’t help. We like to separate drink but it’s a drug, so let’s just say drugs. Drugs distort reality. We go home on the weekend have a drink to relax, have a drink to celebrate, have a drink to relieve the stress. Well if you need booze to relieve the stress maybe the work isn’t worth it? Maybe you’re in the wrong job? Because whether I get the report to my boss or not, I’m not saving lives. No one dies because I don’t submit my timesheet on a Wednesday afternoon. If you need a drug to relax, maybe you need to look at yourself, look internally for a solution rather than relying upon a bottle or some pills.
Don’t be too hard on yourself. I’ve heard this a million times and then one day it hit me like a car crash when I saw a simple picture. I realised how ruthless I was with myself, and have been my whole life. I wouldn’t sleep for days upon some small decision which usually doesn’t matter. The picture is from a young artist called josie.doodles. I saw that on my trip and it almost made me cry at the realisation of it. Knowing you did the best you could with the information you made at the time is ok. You cannot ask for more. Being wrong, failing, spending your time unwisely, zigging when you should have zagged . . . if you live through it, if you haven’t caused people harm, then you’re doing good.
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