“Hey! So, listen. You’ve got help me out. I have no idea what to do. I spent all day, and I mean all day, like 12 hours, researching airline tickets, and then I finally, finally, figured how to make all the connections work out, and then I checked all my finances and made sure everything was ready to go, and I was just about to put my credit card number down, and I froze! I’m frozen! I mean, what am I thinking? I’m going to a country for 7 weeks where I’ll only be able to communicate in a language I started learning two months ago? And then I’m going to hike for five of those weeks? Along a path through mountains that I know nothing about? And camping alone? I mean. Can I just do that? And then Senegal? After all, it IS a country on the “dark continent”. And I’ve never really been to Africa before. And the one time I did, I got chased down the streets for being a single white woman walking alone. And Mumbai? I mean, isn’t that a big scary city that I’ve never been to before? Where there were bombings just this week? And travelling through India alone was so intense last time. Am I really ready for that again? And I’m going to be spending ALL my savings. I won’t have anything again. Is that really what I want to do? Anyway. You’ve got to give me some advice. I really need your help. So….yeah…call me back when you get this message.”
I left that monologue on the voice mail belonging to two of my best friends last night. And when, by the next day, no one had returned the call, I knew it was for a VERY good reason…
Someone, smirking down upon me, had obviously pulled up the strings on all the characters in my personal life puppet show, hushed the audience and said, “No, no, no. Don’t give her any hints. She has to make this one her own.”
And as I’ve found to be the nature (and purpose?) of dreaming, it seems that over the night, some unnamed higher self sat on Fear and played typewriter on its chest till it cried “mercy!” and my subconscious was settled. High on some ethereal amphetamine administered overnight, I sprang out of bed (sans morning meditation) and raced to the computer where the Courage that had congregated at my finger tips (has anyone else noticed Confidence’s tendency to coagulate on finger pads?) salsa-ed its way, forward and back, all over the keyboard dance floor until three tickets (France, Senegal, India) were plotted, purchased, reserved and confirmed. *dip*
It’s a lot like cliff jumping — ticket purchasing. You’ve just got to stop looking over the cliff, muster your muscles into accord, hold your breath and JUMP. How could I forget this precious piece of counsel that I offer a dozen times a year to those inquiring? (Isn’t it just in the nature of the divine comedy called “Life” to give us plenty of opportunities to take our own advice?) But what an interesting adaptation of my old standby to twist, “What would you do if you weren’t afraid?” to “What would you do if you were yourself?” I guess it all depends on how you define “self.” And since I’ve got a higher one out there, that I’m ever aspiring to chase down and be, I suppose it’ll all one day make sense, in some future version (13.1?) of reality.
In any case, I just thought it important to share that I am not without fear, hesitation, an annoying rattling inner-dialogue, self-doubt, anxiety, or a mother. And that the monologue above is one that — even I — am prone to having with myself and message machines.
The good news is that, also like cliff jumping, ticket purchasing is fun. And once you’re over the ledge, you’re pretty much above, and over, the anxieties and fears as well. I’ve found that there’s little time, while hurtling through the air of direct experience, to look over my shoulder and contemplate from where I came or wonder if my health insurance is still in effect. Nope. The jump itself is usually just an all-consuming combination of a heightened awareness of the six senses, an acute sense of presence and an exaggeration of time and minutes.
Oh. And bliss.
Bliss. Bliss. Bliss. Which I have found, never in the pits of (inner) self-sacrifice, conformity or material comfort, but always under the rocks of surrender, surprise and simplicity. Bliss, which, as opposed to Confidence, prefers to loiter on the upper-end corners of my lips.
Where it lingers now.
And bless insecurity, self-doubt and anxiety for giving me something to hurdle over. For giving me the air to fly through. The fall to surrender to. The unknown to adventure within. I just can’t get over the depth, intricacy, and ingenuity behind the coordination of all the lines being pulled in Life’s puppet show. I don’t need to witness miracles or hear promises of heaven to believe. Life’s method is proof enough for me. So evidently divine by the intelligence of its nature indeed.
A quick FYI for any others investigating/contemplating their own leaps of faith and flight: In my research, I gathered three different quotes from air brokers on Around-The-World tickets, but in the end found that I was able to beat all those quotes by over a thousand USD via www.sidestep.com and www.kayak.com.
That was a fantastic remark, anonymous. I don’t understand or agree with your assessment of the situation, though; It seems that an individual interested in bridging a gap of understanding between all cultures and cultivating spiritual awakening isn’t someone who’s working against such ethos in which you purport to be of the utmost, paramount importance.
Do you believe in Science?
Well, what altruistic act have you done lately? I would be more amazed if you saved all your money and gave it to those who are DIEING or STARVING. What about the CHILDREN who are dieing, right now, as we speak? Who cares about YOU and your mysterious, spiritual, awakening, whatever.. GIVE to OTHERS, then. There are people in REAL NEED on the planet.
I could actually help you with the Mumbai [I live there]bit of your journey if you want. Feel free email me if you want [the email is on my blog somewhere]
I wish I’d kept count over the years the number of times you’ve posted something that seems to be in direct correlation with something I’m feeling. (I’ll just go with infinity+)
Just tonight (or rather this morning @ 4 a.m.) I found myself fretting over something similar. So, as I ususally do for some reason I clicked on over here for some much needed inspirational reading. (I love to go back to read your entries from when you first started your journeys) This time though I didn’t even have to scroll or click through archives.
It’s comforting in a sense to see that even seasoned travlers like yourself still have the same worries newbies like myself do. So thank you for that inspirational post. It means more to me than you’ll possibly ever know.
Also, thanks for the airfare quote links. Sidestep is a new and much welcomed resource to me. 🙂
I think you should consider writing a book on your experinces.
It’s obvious you have a very keen, creative writing style.
If nothing else you can compile all your thoughts in an ebook if the traditional print way is not your cup of tea. What amazes me is your ability to always accomplish your goals. I’ve noticed you have the Karma to leave the country for months, return with a job, apartment within days or weeks.
I would like to know at what point did you deicde to travel instead of
engage in the traditional lifestyle of a college grad? Was there an experince or event that changed your horizon. Ciao
Is pilgrimage essential for spiritual awakening? Good luck.
Did you write this? It is blowing my mind..