“Buy the ticket. Take the ride.”
Hunter S. Thompson
My departure is only two weeks away! Funny how the anticipation of a trip, or any adventure that requires us being out of our comfort zone, suddenly creeps up. It’s like the sudden tap from behind given in surprise by a long- awaited friend; it startles you at first, and then the surprise of it only deepens the feeling of excitement of what is to come. But… there’s also a wee bit of uncertainty too, and that’s a good thing because it means that we are venturing outside of the safety bubble we’ve been living in. Suddenly it POPS! The moment has come, we’re exposed to the unknown, and the question, Can I do this? has to be answered.
The older we get, we tend to like things a little predictable and safe. The older we get, we’re less likely to take risks, and we limit ourselves and potential opportunities. This was made clear to me recently as I was staying in Brooklyn spending time with my son, who decided to stay in NYC after college and was lucky to find work in his field. Watching him navigate this busy metropolis —even commuting by bicycle from Manhattan to Red Hook— is impressive. Young people live life with passion. It’s why we love their company. So, fellow aging population–let’s not lend credence to the saying, Youth is wasted on the youth! Instead, let’s embody the quote by Helen Keller: “Life is either a daring adventure or nothing at all.”
I’ve often thought I would like to live in Brooklyn for a year, but all the uncertainties about a move like this paved the way with pot holes of doubt and held me back. This trip, I’ve been implementing the practice of facing the unknown in little ways like driving my son to his job in Red Hook and finding my way back alone, taking the subway, switching trains, and arriving at the right place, learning you can’t be afraid to ask for help. People in New York love giving directions. If you ask someone who doesn’t know the answer, nine times out of ten, someone else will over hear you and chime right in! I’m rewarded with a small hit of dopamine each time I learn something new. If we cultivate curiosity, new things, and confidence, our lives will be enriched.
So, I’ve also figured out that all I’m going to bring on this adventure is a 25 inch suitcase and a Pacsafe shoulder bag that will house my Mac air, travel documents, iPhone etc. There is lots of information out there on what to bring on a lengthy trip including these tips from How I Planned for Nine Months of Travel. Rolling your clothing also seems to be the best way to utilize limited packing space.
I arrive in Auckland, New Zealand, on January 13th and have a room reserved for two days through the Airbnb site. The hosts may even pick me up at the airport! I”ll spend a day or so in Auckland before meeting up with friends who live in Tauranga and Whakatane, also located in the north island. I’ve been told that visiting the south island is a must, but I haven’t figured out this part of the trip yet. I will also be practicing to expect the unexpected.
I thought it would be a good idea to reread Paulo Coelho’s book The Alchemist, the story of Santiago, the shepherd boy on a journey to find his “Personal Legend.” There are many life lessons to be realized from this story, but since I am trying to quell feelings of fear that rise up to overtake me as I bob to the surface for air, this lesson stands out: Fear is a bigger obstacle than the obstacle itself.
“Tell your heart that the fear of suffering is worse than the suffering itself. And that no heart has ever suffered when it goes in search of its dreams, because every second of the search is a second’s encounter with God and with eternity.”
I’ve read that great risks are rewarded with great rewards. My sister Janet has instructed me that nerves are excitement without the breath. So with that said, I’ll leave you with, “See you on the other side!”