Traveling by Hope and Will

As I’ve spent several long weeks trying to figure out my exact travel plans in Thailand and beyond (determining where I’ll be at every moment, where I’ll stay, when I’ll come and go, what I’ll see and do). And though I have a vague sense of things, I’ve finally come to realize that this tedious planning is not for the best, if not futile entirely. I’m worse off with having a plan now than I was when first started planning. All the tedious planning left me feeling only frustrated, like the prospect of actually starting my journey is fading away into the distance. Therefore, I’ve now decided to simply go and trust where it leads me.

Now don’t get me wrong, planning can be very beneficial at times. There have been places I’ve traveled where planning allowed me to see many more and obscure things that I might not have seen otherwise. But the planning I did then, just as the planning I’m doing now, left me feeling stressed and frustrated. Furthermore, much of my experience on those trips involved me rushing around in cites to make sure I checked off all the boxes, spending 75% of my time looking down at maps or guidebooks, and feeling an overbearing pressure to fulfill all that I set out to fulfill.

Although those journeys were rewarding in that I saw many things, I can fairly say, looking back, that I could have easily done without checking off many if not all of those boxes. Perhaps my time would have been better served if I had simply wandered around aimlessly, spoken to locals, and sat back to watch the ebb and flow of the city, feeling its palpable energy.

So I have to ask myself, what is the purpose of my current journey? Moreover, what should be the purpose of all my future journeys? If the only purpose is to see as many cultural attractions of a city as time allows, then yes, planning is absolutely necessary. However, it inevitably comes with the price of worry, stress, and frustration.

On the other hand, if I desire to simply experience different cities and cultures, understand the movements and nuance of  the place and its people, get caught up, for a moment, in the flow of life there, and absorb what material I can in the folds of my consciousness, then there is no need for exact planning. There is only a need for a relaxed attitude that is accepting and grateful for all that comes my way.

I understand that in a limited amount of time we all want to see as much of a city as we can, but as it goes in life as well, quality is always superior to quantity when it comes to human experience. Would you rather have a string of lackluster experiences that you soon forget, or a mere few that deeply impact the fabric of your life?

Perhaps my journey will be filled with hiccups and moments when I wish I’d planned things better, or moments of fear and loneliness when I wish I were back in my home where things are easy, safe, and known. But the thing I’ve lately realized is that you cannot always rely on the stabily of other people and circumstances. Sometimes you just have to embrace the unknown and know that your subconscious self will guide you to where you need to go.

By having faithful confidence in your capabilities to deal with whatever issues, pragmatic, existential, or otherwise, that come your way,  you can see more clearly the purpose of your existence and the sense of meaning behind your actions.  And ironically, in sacrificing this firm sense of control over your every move, you feel what can be perhaps the closest thing to a true sense of freedom and understanding of your self.

Like with all things in life, you just have to trust that imbedded in your subconscious mind you know what it is that you truly want in life, and by relinquishing the reins you’ll be led there. And even if there is bad along the way, those times can teach the most. Thus, I am grateful for where I’ve been, and look forward to where the road will lead me on this journey.



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September 2013