Today I had a talk with my Mom.
We've had three of these discussions so far… usually about college.
Everyone my age in my world is deciding what they want to do, either because they want to or they have to. And I feel left behind. Sort of like if I don't decide now… if I don't have a plan in place for 2013, something terrible is going to happen. It's because I'm a control-freak. I think I've always been one.
At any rate, the subject of this 10pm discussion was to open my mind to this trip. I haven't, so far. I've followed everyone around, suggested things I wanted to do, enjoyed myself… but I haven't opened up to it. I still have plans. I'm so busy with these plans that I don't let my poor, depraved brother on the computer.
The advice? Stop with the plans.
In the spirit of listening to my mother and opening my mind to new experiences, I've lowered the goal to 200 books for 2012. That's small and manageable, right? While still proving challenging enough to keep me reading. (I'm 9 books ahead of schedule, and I need a big enough goal to keep going).
But the interesting idea is that… though I'm here, seeing all these fantastic old things and beautiful scenic routes and having all these experiences… I'm not really enjoying it. I'm not really participating in it.
I am, just like I said before we even had the first plane ticket— I am just along for the ride. I'm not going to take the initiative to read a guidebook, or decide where to go. It doesn't interest me.
And that's what has to change.
How can I learn anything if I'm purposely or subconsciously holing myself up in my safe cocoon of writing and reading?
I'm not going to abandon the cocoon for a while. The cocoon will still be there for me to come back to. I'm still going to have my challenges.
But I'll have a new challenge as well— learning about myself. Isn't that partially what this trip is about?
Before we left, part of my 'visions for the future' was speculation into how this trip would have changed me.
So far, I'm the same person. Maybe 106 days isn't enough to have changed, but surely after fifteen weeks I should at least care about more than when I'll have time to read The Count of Monte Cristo!
So far I know that the best days are the ones in which we meet someone. When we sing with a tuk-tuk driver or re-meet someone we thought we'd never see again.
Or when you learn about someone's life story.
The people are the best part of the trip for me. It can be the worst day in the world… until you meet someone nice who eagerly asks you where you're from, or if they can take a picture…
And they smile so widely to have met you that you feel blessed to have been there.