As I fly to Tokyo from DC, I once again am looking at the reasons for taking this trip. I’ve gone back and forth between two extremes:
1. The need to ‘define’ this trip, to create goals and meaning in advance
2. A complete lack of structure, no agenda, no goals. Seeking the meaning each and every step.
With the former, you have purpose, a direction. But you will also find disappointment and unexpected pressure to do something, to be somewhere or to exist in a specific way.
With the latter, you open to spontaneity, to the unexpected and momentary. But can a ship sail without wind?
Many months ago as I planned this trip, a wise friend explained to me that I will always have the options of indulgence and creativity. He said “Do whatever the hell you fancy at the moment, but when possible, create rather than consume. Music, drawing, writing… active creation”. I take this advice seriously. The concept of a Permanent Vagabond or 4 Hour Work Week individual at first seems very appealing, it ultimately feels very selfish and narrow to me. Gaming the system for your own desires and material-improvement, putting in the minimum amount of work in order to become a free-floating consumer to me will never be the path to enlightenment, more likely a path to more confusion and suffering. I must give Ferriss some credit – his concept of a mini-retirement (retiring at different points throughout life rather than at the end) and his general philosophy of walking on against traffic are fantastic ideas all of us can learn from.
As most of you know, this journey is about self-discovery, an inward search to provide outward direction. In basic terms: Finding out what I want to do when I grow up. I know I will vacillate between the two extremes described above. I may find my purpose within months of travel. I may come home with more questions than answers. I may end up living with a tribe in the jungle of Laos for the rest of my life. I’m not sure. What I do know is that I plan to create. Internally and externally. I have already well over-consumed my share in 29 years.
If the wine wasn’t working on me I’d like to explore the concept of the self and the tribe. This will have to wait.