After years of begrudging expenses, fears, and commitment, I finally decided I am going to go to Africa. Oddly enough, all it took was a picture of a monkey next to a well-placed “Apply Today!” ad. My reaction was very simply: OKAY!
Well played, marketing execs. Well played. (Of course, cute baby animals are basically my cryptonite.)
But in all honesty, I’ve been toiling over this for far too long.
My biggest crutch with finding success in a conventional life is my itchy feet. If only I could blame it on a skin condition, treatable, perhaps, with a perscription lotion or scrub. It’s sort of like poison ivy, except where after spending 2 weeks looking like a leper before you eventually return to normal, itchyfootitis doesn’t go away until you exhaust yourself quenching it. But when it comes to quenching a craving, unlike mowing down half a cake and then feeling like a bloated whale for two days, there is no guilt about travel. There can be no regrets about experiencing other cultures, lending a hand to a good cause, and meeting new people. This phenomena is beautifully paraphrased in one of my favourite quotes: Travel is the only thing you buy that makes you richer. (“Anonymous” was quite the philosopher.)
When it boils down to it, it means I’m going to be a very broke rich person. But life is too short to waste it worrying about something as “easy come, easy go” as that. Besides, my tears of rapture will wash away all of those financial concerns. That, and until I get this out of my system, I’ll just squander my time wishing I was doing it. This is something I have to do or I fear I will never evolve into a responsible adult.
Sidenote: I’m probably being the opposite of a responsible adult in pouring everything I have into this wild adventure, but it’s like simple mathematics. If you need to cancel out “x” to find “y”, sometimes it means adding it. This is my way of cancelling out “x”: by adding it. Or something like that. (I’m not much of a mathematician.)
When it comes to all those things society throws at you about “growing up” and “getting settled”, I can’t focus on it, I can’t settle, because I know I have to do this first. I’ve been biding my time, trying to balance what I really want and what I think I should do with little adventures and sidetrips and hiking and all that, but when it comes down to it, I’ve realized I NEED this. Maybe I’m a little crazy (almost guaranteed, actually), but sometimes it takes a little bit of crazy to see outside the box.
Well, I want to LIVE outside the box. So, I might as well roll up my sleeves and boulder on.