I don’t live by the motto, “Replace fear of the unknown with curiosity.” Yes, in some cases, this motto works. But when it comes to travel, everyone travels differently. There is no right or wrong way to travel.
I’m a hypocrite of my own words. This past week was one where I reached another quarter-life crisis, the most emotional one yet, filled with far too many doubts and concerns. I hit an unfathomable point where I questioned myself with every step I took.
Should I travel more? Should I just force myself to backpack alone? Why am I not as brave as I thought I could be? I should be making the most of everything. Couchsurfing. Hostels. Planning. What do I do? I want to be happy, I don’t know, I think I know, I want to travel the world, I think I want a travel partner, I like solitude sometimes, I want to save practically, I never want to be in travel debt, I wish, I dream, I believe… what if, what if, what if!
I couldn’t think straight for several days. I was driving myself to the point of insanity, feeling unrested, and thinking on a whim that I could just buy a Round-the-World ticket for March and have it solve everything.
No. That’s not who I am at all.
I’m an American. Like many others, I tend to be overrun by worries, fears, and contradictions far more than any other culture in the world. My demise is my own mind. I allow my mind to tear me in different directions, heavily influenced by travel blogs (all of which say, “Go explore the world! Buy that one-way ticket, who cares if you go broke. You’ll never regret the travel you do”) and other backpackers I meet along the way. But if anyone knows me well enough, they know that I plan, organize, and am uneasy with a lifestyle that would call for living out of a bag.
I’ve only opened up to select few good friends who understand me through and through (you guys are my kindred spirits. Thank you endlessly). They’ve all told me the same thing this week: You need to do what makes you, and only you, happy. No one knows the right choices for yourself except you. Who CARES what anyone else says or thinks. This is your life, not anyone else’s.
And then a funny thing happened… I watched a video that changed the course of my future.
Everything happens for a reason.
Yesterday morning, my flatmate, Moragot, posted a video of him taking his girlfriend Kelly (also my wonderful flatmate) to Disneyland and Disney California Adventure Park for her first time ever.
It was exactly what I needed. Impactful. Beautiful. Moving. So simple, and yet so much hidden meaning beneath it that truly resonated within me.
I’m going to sound like a sap for writing about this. Yet, something as simple as a video made by people you know can strike a chord when you finally realize what it is in your heart that you want and need out of life.
I cried. Not sad tears, but incredibly exuberant tears of realization, comfort, and understanding at long last. The type of tears that just flow without you realizing it, because something is so beautiful and so close to home. I watched the video over and over and over… and over again, even when I returned from a medieval sword fighting class to clear my mind.
I didn’t cry because I missed the Disneyland Resort itself. I’m living in far too beautiful of a country to miss it! I cried because the video was so much more than just a video.
In many ways, this served as a metaphorical key to my own happiness. It opened the door to showing me how great my life could be if I just let go of comparing myself to every other “adventurous” traveler. Perhaps it’s due to Mo’s fantastic videography/editing skills, but it truly evoked deeper emotions in me. Every shot, every transition, the slow motion effect… everything fit together so perfectly, yet had such a heartfelt message.
But most of all, I could see the sheer happiness, excitement, and love in their eyes. Having known them for only about three months, I may not have that deep of a relationship/friendship with them. Yet, I feel even more blessed to even be a part of their lives. They’re truly amazing people.
And oh, the music… Music is my therapy on my hardest days, and it always will be. Thanks to Mo, I’ve now been listening to Lights & Motion nonstop. “Aerials” is probably one of the most tranquil, feel-good compositions I’ve ever heard. It’s amazing that he chose that track for the video.
The video also brought tons of memories from the past year to the surface: breaking down when I had to hug my old boss goodbye, who remains my favorite person on earth; how I spent my last evening in California; when I boarded that plane from Honolulu to Auckland; how Mo and Kelly created their own special memories in my prior stomping grounds. And how I’m private about the most important parts of my life in general.
It made me realize that I’m perfectly okay with the way I’ve settled here rather than backpacking around. This has been quite an unexpected journey, but it’s my unexpected journey.
Mo and Kelly: Thank you for unknowingly helping me to become a step closer to discovering (and being okay with) my identity, even if I seem like a lost little Hobbit that you graciously took in. I look forward to creating memories that involve both of you as the road goes ever on… ❤
And to all past, current, or future Disneyland Resort Cast Members: I highly recommend that you watch their video here, since it could impact you as well. Perhaps not in the same way, but it might make you realize how important you all are in creating priceless memories for others who could be experiencing the magic for the first time ever…