Create rather than Consume

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.

Sayonara friends.

Air Canada Flight # 1

It’s official.  I’m leaving the country on June 1st.  Air Canada will take me from D.C. to Toronto to Tokyo. A lot happened today: My plan for the last 6 months or so was to make use of the United Airline miles that I’ve accumulated over the years slaving away at IBM. 200k miles provided a Round-the-World ticket (RTW) which translates to 6 flights or 35,000 miles.  My grand scheme was D.C. –> Tokyo –> Bangkok –> Istanbul –> Cape Town –> Buenos Aires –> D.C.   I quite happily spent an hour on the phone with an agent working through the details, and as I was literally about to give her my credit card information to ticket the itinerary, she casually mentioned that once I depart from D.C., I will be unable to modify the reservation at all – not even a date change!  This was completely contrary to everything I had heard in the past while spending countless hours on the phone with United ticket agents….

To do a little math:

Unchangeable ticket + Pilgrimage to Nowhere == NO GOOD.

The good news is that airfares are at there lowest levels in years. PLUS I get to be completely free from any constraints or schedules. I booked a one-way ticket to Tokyo for $490.  In the end I’m guessing my RTW trip will cost an additional $3000 for the transcontinental flights I’ll need.  But the freedom of not being tied to cities, dates, etc, is worth every penny.

Let the real blogging begin.  Peace.