Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Thoughts on Blog and Trip

    I’ve been thinking some about my blog and about my trip.  First, on the blog: I have decided to recount only selected days of my trip instead of every single day in order to lessen the time I spend in front of a computer.  I haven’t decided whether I will attempt to summarize the days I breeze over with a few sentences or just not speak of them at all.  It pains me to rush through my recounts of days like that because each day contains so many mini-adventures that I could easily write a few thousand word short story on each of them.  I think, though, that it will be better to expand on the descriptions of the most exciting days than try to cram in a summary of three days into posts the length I’ve been doing.  I’m taking good notes on all days, so, regardless, I’ll have the details later if I want them.
    The pictures, though, I think I will be able to keep up with.  I may use them to tell the stories I leave out.  Maybe I’ll focus less on days as a whole and more on individual experiences throughout the day.  My posting less may work out better in the end because I’ll be able to go on that many more adventures and maybe one day it will save me from having to answer a publisher’s question of, “What do you mean you posted every single story on the internet?”
    On the trip: Quitting my job to go on this trip was the hardest and the best decision of my life.  Every single day is an adventure that I will remember for the rest of my life.  I went from feeling like my life was over to feeling like my life is just getting started.  My enjoyment of this trip is sustainable because it comes from the genuine form of happiness that can only come from experiences and never from things.  Every single day I am where I want to be.  There are many places I want to visit and many things I want to do, but traveling around my home country is what I want to do first.
    If I were offered the option to trade lives with anyone I would decline.  There are people who have more money, fame and power than I, but I don’t think there are very many people who are free as I am.  There are many, many people who could be as free as I am, but someone’s potential to be free or anything for that matter is meaningless unless they take advantage of it.
    As glad as I am for the decisions I made and the work that I did along the way that allowed me to go on this trip, I am more thankful for the opportunities that were given to me along the way.  I don’t know how many of the world’s parents are willing and able to raise and support their children through college, but I do know that the amount who would support their child’s decision to change life paths after achieving what they thought they wanted (especially when it involves quitting their job of designing a spacecraft during a recession) is much less.  I’m lucky enough to have both.  Thank you.
    I’d also like to thank all the friends who I talked to before the trip to gather up courage to go on it.  One young lady in particular deserves special thanks because she was not only the first person to convey her admiration for my writing and my pictures, but had it not been for the many, many life philosophizing talks with her, I am quite sure this trip would not have happened.  If any of you happen to get any enjoyment out of any of these writings or pictures, you can thank her for giving me the courage to post them.
    The way I am traveling is what makes each day an adventure.  It may not be for everyone, but I now think of planning every detail of a trip like planning every detail of a dance.  You will be sure to touch your feet to every place on the floor you wish to go if you grab your partner by the throat and thrust them around, but neither of you will have very much fun.  Some may worry that you would miss many things if you don’t plan everything in advance, but I think if you compared any length section of my trip to someone who plans everything in advance you’d find that however long they take to plan a trip, during that time I can go on a trip of the same length, see just as many wonderful things as they will and have a HELL of a lot more fun doing it because I’m not worried about where I have to be tonight or the next day.
    One of my favorite things to do on this trip, to make me remember how lucky I am to be living the life I am, is to imagine how many years it would have been before I’d visit the places I am during a particular moment in time if I’d stayed on the life path I was on before.  In the case of big cities the answer is usually years; in smaller ones, the answer may be decades; on remote mountain tops in places I’ve never heard of before, the answer is most certainly never.
    I would not advise anyone else to go on a trip like mine or, for that matter, to go after any other person’s dream.  There is little advice I feel worthy to give at this point in time, but one thing I can offer is for everyone to think very, very hard about what they want to do with their lives.  I didn’t get to this point by saying, “Screw it,” and throwing everything to the wind.  I got here by thinking very hard about what I wanted to do with my life every day for years.  I’m fortunate to live in a country where a lot of people fought very hard to create a country where people could live as they see fit.  Many today CHOOSE to be content with misery, but, it is their choice.  I choose to pursue happiness.  I will offer something else in support of this: Whether you believe life is generally good or generally bad, you will find evidence to support your belief.
    I am not a very confident person, but I know for certain that I am succeeding at life.  No matter what happens from here on out, by choosing to go on this trip I have succeeded.  I can say that with certainty because I now know to measure my success by the only standards that matter.


texascandler said...

Hi, Ryan, this is your aunt Magali. I'm so happy to see you taking this adventure. Bravo! Just wanted to say "hi," and let you know that my parents used to take me for picnics to "Washington Crossing" park all the time when I was little. I haven't seen it since 1970, so don't know how well it has held up, but those are happy memories of my first 7 years of life in New Jersey (we lived in Pennington, pretty close to Princeton). You doing this reminds me of my having gone to work at Catholic Charities to bring legal representation to the poor when I became a lawyer, when I instead could have gone to work doing "insurance defense" at a big firm for a lot of money. I know I did the right thing. Good luck and be careful on your trip. I'm looking forward to reading your blog and enjoying your trip vicariously.

RR said...

You rule. Inspiring, motivational, philosophical, profoundly phrased. My fave line is, "There are many, many people who could be as free as I am, but someone’s potential to be free or anything for that matter is meaningless unless they take advantage of it." Amen. Robert Frost wrote, "I only hope that when I am free/ As they are free to go in quest/ Of the knowledge beyond the bounds of life/ It may not seem better to me to rest." You would have gone. You were seeking that freedom before we crossed paths.

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