I know, I know. I’ve reached a pathetic new low, succumbing to attention grabbing click bait just to get you to read my blog.
But forgive me, because I’m not a blogger and it’s 3am here in Phuket, Thailand, and I just spent four hours attempting to sort out my finances (the kind of thing I travel to escape from, but follows me, inevitably.)
Rainy, dreary, cloudy Phuket, Thailand.
This beautiful vacation destination–filled with palm trees, surrounded by sandy clear blue beaches–is a mush of grey fog.
And on the table next to me is a notepad on which I have scribbled a list of my failures and mistakes I’ve made so far on this trip.
Yes, I know. It’s day number four since we’ve got here and I’ve already made so many mistakes that a small part inside of me just wants to give up. There’s a voice in my head saying that maybe traveling isn’t for me, maybe I’m doing this for the wrong reasons, maybe I should give up, go home, or have stayed in Israel longer. After all, there is so much I could be doing there.
This is the part of traveling no one really talks about:
Realizing that you’ve booked two flights for places you just decided you no longer want to go to.
Realizing that you packed too much clothes, too nice to give away, but too nice to wear and that the clothing here is SIMPLY adorable and perfect and only $1.50, but you have no room in your overloaded backpack to fit them.
Realizing that it’s going to be raining for the next 3 weeks, and that maybe schlepping your macbook pro with you wasn’t the best of ideas.
Realizing that you’re just a sham, pretending to know what you’re doing in this world, all sophisticated and well-traveled and whatnot, but really you’re just trying too hard to be “different” or “interesting.”
Feeling like an imposter for staying at hotels and motels as opposed to stuffing yourself into a dank room with 9 other complete strangers in a rundown guesthouse, or camping under the moonlight, praying not to be eaten alive by a pack of wolves or a swarm of mosquitos.
Or when you realize that you made too many promises:
Promises to plan everything thoroughly, but before you know it, you’re on the plane and hardly have a plan in mind.
Promises to call your family every few days, but it’s been 2 weeks and you still haven’t called.
Promises to live in the moment, but you’re still stressing out about all the mistakes you made, the ever imminent threat of malaria, the flight you need to catch tomorrow, your lack of sleep, and the bills you forgot to take care of back at home.
Promises to blog, and upload pictures, and write out every step of your itinerary so that you can share every incredible moment with your friends.
I am learning that traveling isn’t just about fun, “finding yourself” or “broadening your horizons.” It’s about losing yourself and making mistakes and promises you can’t keep.
I promised to blog, but I realized that this trip, for me, is an attempt to just let go and let it be. To just allow time and fate to carry me, as opposed to crafting my destiny so carefully that I barely have room to enjoy the moment I am in right now. So will I be blogging again? I don’t know, but what I do know is that I won’t be making any more promises because I don’t want to bear the weight of regret. I want to be light and free and present, and if that means I make a fool out of myself, then so be it.
I read this interesting article today in which the author asserts that the real way to find yourself is not to travel, but to stay at home. And her point is somewhat true. You won’t find yourself while dancing wildly at club, playing card games with a bunch of strangers, riding elephants, bungee jumping or ziplining across the rainforest.
But you will find yourself in the mistakes you make and the lessons you learn from them.
So allow me to close off with the classic cliche: Sometimes to find yourself, you just have to lose yourself.
Cheers to mistakes!