Category Archives: Far Off Adventures

Homework Assignment

1. Get a blank piece of paper.
2. Draw a ‘T’ that goes from the top to the bottom, left to right.
3. In the middle of the left column write the word ‘Yes’.
4. In the middle of the right column write the word ‘No’.
5. In the ‘Yes’ colum list everything that makes you happy.
6. In the ‘No’ column list everything that makes you unhappy.
This may take you a week, a month, a lifetime to complete. There is no maybe. Either things make you happy or they don’t. You will feel it in your gut when you are done with your list.
7. This is the important part. You must now start removing the items in your ‘No’ column and start acting on the items in your ‘Yes’ column.
There will be things on your list that you will not be able to remove completely or act on, for example – nuclear arms, global warming, seeing your favourite actor win an Oscar. The point is to cross off and act on as many as possible. Your list is a work in progress, as are you.

This task was assigned following a lecture that started on 94th and ended somewhere around 59th and encompassed a few loops in the park my teacher deemed it necessary for me to take the lesson home and work on it. Knowing me, knowing them, I should have seen it coming. They know me too well to trust me to do this without the task being set. Sometimes you need to see things in black and white.

The reason for my lecture? It is time I started to do things for myself. Find my happiness. Admittedly, the way I am with people is my best-worst quality, for those few I regard as true friends it borders on ridiculous. I know this about myself. It is not the first time I have had this said to me. At different points though those words are easier to hear, it also helps if it feels the person telling me I need to do more for myself isn’t bashing me over the head with my actions.

My problem, a lifetime of doing what you need to be done. I say that as a matter of pure fact, nothing else. I do so without thinking now, and to me my homework assignment appears contrary to who I am. However, my fear is disassembled. The logic is simple. Two people whose opinion I value highly using the same example. When on a plane you are instructed to place your own mask around your head before helping those around you. If you cannot breathe, how can you possibly hope to help anyone else? This is why they are necessary in my life.

There is excitement amongst them as they imagine what will fill my list. Fireworks. It is harder for me than I thought it would be to list items, in either column. What makes me genuinely happy? I know for certain something that doesn’t. Now at least. Top of the list in the ‘No’ column and already crossed out. Too many items in the ‘Yes’ are undeserved if I allow that one to remain in my life, that’s a sacrifice I am not willing to make. Ahead of the curve, I need it there to remind me that it is a ‘No’.

Its simplicity makes so much sense I worry about making it more complicated than it needs be. Simple question: Does it make me happy? If it is ‘Yes’ then I keep it, if it is ‘No’ then I let it go.

My happiness is on this path. I am set to meet it.

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Leaving on a jetplane…

12yrs ago a guy met a girl, possibly over a canteen table, maybe in a college hallway. I’m not sure. I remember the beginning and I remember the moments in between. There have been many, and some of them may have been difficult, but they stayed the course. Tomorrow we get on a plane to fly 13,000 miles because that guy and that girl have decided to get married, and we, as their friends, have been asked to share the moment. I can’t believe it’s been 12yrs. Where did it all go?

I’m going through my travel routines. Luggage is packed. Just the handcarry to sort now. Several trips have taught me to whittle it down to the essentials, but somehow I still manage to overpack. Backing up the PC, life has taught me this to be a wise move, not just travel. Memory cards wiped. Wallet. I should sort out my wallet. Sunglasses. Liquids in a resealable clear bag. Gadgets set to charge before I pack away the multitude of chargers in the morning. I may be running behind but I have the routine down now.

It still doesn’t actually feel as though I’m leaving even if I will hopefully be sat on a plane in 10hrs. I’m not looking forward to this flight. The US is easy. Direct flights under 10hrs. Nothing compared to the gauntlet before me. Still, if I could do it for Cambodia then I can do it to go home. Home. It’s more unfamiliar than any place I choose to travel to now, but it’s where my roots lie. This is where the people that I am made up of came from, even if the people who have made me who I am are scattered around the world.

Vacations stopped feeling like the getaway they were supposed to a long time ago. My phone providing instant access whenever someone wants to reach me. The Crackberry no doubt making that even more possible. Wi-fi connections and the netbook assisting further. The scenery changes but I keep those close to me nearby. They’re my (in)sanity after all. I’m sure there will be moments though, when the beeping of one device or other no longer sounds, and I’m home again.

So many of us headed to the same place. Still missing some, but knowing they’ll be in our hearts. Moving on and getting married. Moving out and buying homes. Moving away and making new lives. We’re growing up. When did that happen? Leaving on a jetplane, am I ever the same when I come back again?

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Voluntarily Gone

Exactly a year ago today I was preparing for that tomorrow I’d waited a lifetime for. In many ways I can’t believe a year has passed. At other times it feels it’s been a lot longer, so much has changed since I have been back, and I suppose a lot has stayed the same. Such is the nature of all things. When I think of the changes I have made it does feel like a lifetime ago, but ever since I started this evolution that’s how so much of this life feels.

Cambodia was that moment I had always put off, until it came to the point when I didn’t want a tomorrow anymore where I thought, ‘If I’d only done it when…’ That’s where I was headed, and in that year I had already made so many choices that I did not want that to be my path. So I finally did something about it and I booked my ticket and I didn’t look back.

I still find myself unable to talk about it and feel as though I have said enough. All I know is that it changed me, the way I knew it would. Perhaps that’s why I waited until I was ready to be different to make the trip. Thankfully though I had the sense to write my thoughts down at the time. I had intended on editing them, adding pictures, making them into more of a journal. So much time has gone and my memories are over full. So I’ve left the second week as it was when it was written, its raw format. Scattered thoughts I had to write down because I knew I’d forget otherwise.

I haven’t read these words in so long. I haven’t even looked at the pictures. Finally uploaded so others can have the smallest of glimpses into a moment in my life when so many things fell into place. Where I first felt my peace.

Voluntarily…Gone

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Coming Home

One final afternoon in my final city and I can say I’m ready to be home. Not ready to leave, but ready to see those faces again. They are what I have missed most. Not the familiarity of the streets and places, I have found that in the unexpected/most expected of places. Not even the hugs that I am sure will await me. I too have found those, in the most expected of places. For now I know where I am welcome, and to there is where I go.

This trip made simply for one reason, I did not know when I would be able to come back. When I get home and I look at the damage I have inflicted on my poor bank balance I know that it will have cost me dearly. However, when I think of the memories I have made, I know that I could not have afforded to not have those walks and not seen those smiles and not shared that laughter.

For those m0ments, there will never be a price to high. To share a meal with a friend, an ocean is no greater obstacle than a street. Though I cannot confirm when, know that it will be again, it will be often, and it will be as soon as I can no longer afford to be without your face sat across from me.

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One More Stop

I have travelled through cities and across states and have been greeted by warm suns and even warmer smiles. I have gone where I was most welcomed and most missed. I have gone to where the fractions of my heart reside because I could not bear to stay away for any longer, knowing that my return to them is some far off date. This has been my journey and now one final stop remains.

Only one more night and I’d be fooling myself if I didn’t admit that there’s still a part of me that feels some trepidation at the knowledge of my return to that city that has come to mean so many different things. But this was my choice. An idea born on a plane ride away from that spot and the actions of some that were able to erase the behaviour of one.

I surround myself with those who bring out the best in me, but know nothing of that darkness that still haunts me. That darkness I am afraid to let into my life for fear it will consume me again. I will not allow them to face that fate. I will not allow my own weakness to cause them pain. I will not betray everything I have come to be because of the promise that they once held in my eyes.

I feel myself a coward because of this, because I am not strong enough to stand in that one person’s path and make myself known. Yet the thought lingers in my mind, what if they knew? Then part of me speaks again, they probably already do. I have stayed out of the way but I have not hidden. I refuse to believe that I should, but I will not call them out for a confrontation either. Their own cowardice will keep them away, of that I am almost certain and oddly thankful.

I hate that these thoughts dominate my mind this night whilst the child who has sat in my arms for the past few days tidies her toys behind me; but I cannot let my guard down. I cannot let this city be turned again. I have made my choice. I have finally come to see what others have seen, not in them but in me. I know who I am, but the knowledge of who they were remains.

The ghost of my past. Its hold still lingers even though I chose to let go. That city…what will you do to me this time? Someone read ahead and find out how this ends.

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Leaving on a jetplane…

Jetplane

See some of you on the other side, see the rest of you when I get back. Be good.

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Just put one foot in front of the other…

No more sleeps. Today’s the day I get on the plane on the start of my “Grand American Adventure.” As usual it doesn’t feel like I’m actually going, and I’m pretty sure there’s something else I should be doing other than this, but I’ll sit for a while.

I told myself that I would never do this trip this way again, not West to East. The world’s are too different and I know in which I have been most welcome and where I have found myself left for dead as people groaned at the inconvenience of having to step over me. Still I go.

Time and circumstance has lead me to this adventure. Those people who I count amongst my favourites scattered across the globe and a need for me to see their faces once more. Part of me fearful of the days before me. I exist here in a world where I know no one dare do me harm for fear of reprisal from those who hold me tight. Funny, it is because of them that no one could ever hurt me. My own forcefield.

I venture out of it now. Testing myself to see how strong I am without it. I don’t do it blindly, each step someone there to catch me. The last one always being the hardest of course, how I will fare in the place that has claimed so many victims; so often me. But there’s where my secret weapon resides, my greatest protection, my biggest smile. Cowardice perhaps that my greatest danger knows nothing of my return, but I have learnt enough to know that one does not pull the tail of the dragon without their armour.

Too many items on my to-do-list remain. I’m afraid to look at it in case I see something I absolutely should have done and that I no longer have time to do. Batman will have to wait for my return, as will so many others. It’s always good to have something to come home to, and I have so many somethings. It’s getting harder and harder to leave this place, even though I know my return will be all too soon. Those on this side of the ocean making themselves so very necessary in my life.

Enough, I want more but there is no more time. There are instead last minute checks to make although I’m sure something will still be forgotten. There are suitcases to load and planes to catch and an adventure to be had. I am leaving on a jetplane, but I will be back again.

Until then…don’t ever doubt that I don’t miss you.

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