Updated: Oct 20
The journey, by its very nature, if you want to walk it openly, is unpredictable.
Even for the most experienced travelers, those who know how to prepare for everything, those who recognize challenges when they are still small and senseless, those who understand the local language, and those who are very well versed in the intricacies of travel. The journey, By its wonderful-oxymoronic nature, is unpredictable, especially for those who walk with open eyes and the self-assured compass of an attentive heart.
Slow boats, closed banks, tortuous roads, loud nights, guides who let you down, dead ends, things and times who got lost, sudden storms, holes in bowls, intuitive warnings, accidents, mistakes, not knowing how things might've been, deciding not to go with everyone, people that don't wont to understand you. All are unplanned, and all are essential parts of the journey.
Therefore the experienced traveler is not the one who doesn't encounter the unplanned, not at all. He is the one who manages to see them as essential parts of his course. He is the one who feels the frustration, the fear, the embarrassment, the regret, the hardship, the insult, the anger, but can make them the key to his decisive moments. Not necessarily because they were dramatic (although in many cases they are), but because they required him to think again, reconsider, to ask himself the barest and most painful questions. He is the one who succeeds in turning unplanned into energy that moves him further, helping him get closer and closer to his destination. The experienced traveler can see the unplanned as the moments that protectd him, moments that allowed him to remain loyal to his journey, that inspired him, that set him forward with a renewed belief in himself. as the moments when he acknowledged his abilities and learned to trust himself even more.
We tend not to give these moments enough credit. We tend to see them as something we would rather avoid, especially while they manifest themselves. But actually, these are the moments that direct us. The moments that remind us where we are and where we are going. These moments remind us of How far we've come, the stip trails we've already ascended. They are the ones who remind us of what we are capable of and how many unplanned we have conquered successfully before. They are the ones who force us to attend to the voice within us (the small, deep, you-must-succeed voice). The voice that knows why we set out on our journey in the first place. The one that is not ready to go back yet. The voice that knows why we seek to walk so diligently and with our eyes so open.
The unplanned is a strange notion. It is what directs our journey. It is the element in every epic voyage that require faith, spirit, and agency. It is the actual call for adventure and the first wind in our sails.
How strange then is the realization that we must experience as much unplanned as possible to reach our right destination!
Video: A series of unplanned events led to me being left alone in this village (without money, cell reception, and a way back). After an emotional welcome, this is how the local children said goodbye to me and sent me on my way. I will tell that story at another time... Laos, Nong Khiaw. 2022
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