Drop Bear Hostel. Santa Marta, Colombia! Day 14.
I noticed a restless glare in her eyes. She sat on the beach, talking about places she wants to go. She heard the beaches are better in Tayrona. She read the activities are better in San Andres. Someone told her that Cartagena is not worth the visit. The waves crashed ashore, the full moon lit up the sky. She did not see it.
She reminded me of myself.
In childhood, a disease entered and festered in my mind.
The ‘grass is greener somewhere else’– disease.
The ‘trying to get away from this moment’– disease.
The ‘if I would only be in (enter cool place)’– disease.
Berlin is nice, they say. I am in Miami. I want to be in Berlin.
I am in a rooftop bar in Dortmund, packed with beautiful women. I can’t talk to them. I need to go back to Los Angeles. California girls. Lufthansa flight. I am in Los Angeles. Attractive women everywhere. I can’t talk to them. I need to finish my book first.
The ‘happiness is just around the corner’– disease.
I move to South Africa. What a jol, bru.
Apartment by the beach. My friends like me. My girlfriend likes me. We have barbecue every day. I can go and see lions in 25 minutes.
I need to be in New York.
New York. New York.
I send a message. I get the interview. I am hired. I go to New York. Yeah.
I sit in some grey high rise on Broadway. 26th floor. Two MacBook’s. Fancy. Money. I don’t like it. I need to start my own business. That’s it. I need this business.
I quit my job.
The ‘if I would only be (enter cool profession)’– disease.
She sits at the beach. Mentally she is somewhere else. Three places at least. I can relate, sister. I mastered this disease. 10,000 hour rule and what not.
Here is the golden rule of traveling
Be where you are.
Oh baby. Be where you are.
Well… technically, you are always where you are, right? Your left toe, your index finger, your curly hair. They are where they are, right now.
Only your mind can be somewhere else.
My body may sit in front of a computer, I am paid for my full attention. Eight hours plus a little extra for good measure. My mind is in a Peruvian Ayahuasca ceremony.
You need to get this, if you want to enjoy your travels (and life):
Be where you are, starting right now.
I’m no neuroscientist, probably for the better, but I know that my brain forms habits. If I build the habit of postponing, excessive thinking and planning at work, I will carry it with me, no matter where I go. You take your unfinished business with you.
If I want to escape my job, secretly resenting but withholding my thoughts about it, my mind will bite me in the ass as soon as I hit the road (lots of ass).
How to practice the golden rule of traveling
Observe your thoughts.
Watch them pop up like moles. Watch them disappear like a fly you try to squat. Just observe and allow them to be there. I guess this is impossible to describe in words. People heaps wiser than myself tried it for ages.
Just Wu-wei it. Tai-Chi it. Wu Tang Clan it.
There is no reason to belief your thoughts. You can, if you want.
You are not in control of the way you think. Your mind has been formed for you, in early childhood. Mine got blessed with the habit of always trying to be somewhere else.
Yet, do I have to act upon it? Nope. Not any more.
I got to eat now. I am hungry. $2.20 for a ‘menu executivo’. Nice.
More unnecessary wisdom later.