A big apology for the lack of access to this website over the last two weeks. I am at a loss as to why access numbers should be so high now that I have finished the exciting part of the trip!
The problem with my journey is that is has given me this idea that whatever I put my mind to, I can achieve. It’s not so much a feeling of invincibility, but a feeling of self-confidence. An awareness of a truth that exists in every human being (not just those who cycle and skateboard around the world); that we are capable, we are naturally empowered with amazing talent and abilities.
With this awareness comes the challenge of choice. And it gets all very confusing. I have so many percolating ideas in my head at the moment. And they were quite quickly starting to do my head in…
- Broadway musical singer
- Outdoor ed instructor
- Simultaneous interpreter
- Primary school teacher
- Secondary school teacher
- Professional adventurer
- Solver of Japanese society issues
- Book writer
What brought me some semblance of sanity, was one hour of lying in bed in the morning three or four days ago. I woke up early, light not yet showing at the edges of the curtains. Like an unwelcome acquaintance arriving unnounced and never motioning to leave, my swirling thoughts quickly started their never ending circular rounds of the inside of my skull.
I always cherish sleep. But never as much as when I have something bothering me. Sleep brings a reprieve from the madness in my head at such times. The moment of clear consicousness between immediately after waking up and before the thoughts begin is like heaven.Perhaps it was because I had been praying the preceeding umpteen nights before for God to reveal direction to me, or perhaps it was just because of chance (it’s not like people who don’t pray to God never gain a sense of direction), but on that morning lying in bed, my circular thoughts started to unravel themselves, and straighten themselves into a clear line of thought.What am I doing, thinking of enrolling in a creative writing course?! One whole year devoted to writing a manuscript, when I 1) have no idea what I want to write about 2) have read about 2 travel books in my whole entire life and 3) feel nothing but a sinking feeling in my stomach every time I think about writing a book at this stage about my journey.
What am I truely passionate about?
So far, since arriving back to Christchurch, after completing the journey, life feels like a puzzle. The problem is that I’m trying to put the puzzle together in outer space. Bits of puzzle floating away from me. I can’t even keep the bits of the puzzle in the box while I try in vain to try to force unmatched pieces together with my clumpsy, space-suit gloved hands. I grab at pieces as they float around and above my head, trying to make sense of it all. And no sooner do I find a couple of pieces that fit nicely together, than they start floating away as I rummage around in the box for another matching piece, sending pieces flying again.
You get the picture?
So basically, even though there is still a clump of puzzle pieces all nicely fit together that show the image of a book, floating around in my outer-space of a head, I’ve let that lot go for now. I wasn’t finding other pieces of the puzzle that would fit at this stage, so I have decided to let that idea float for now, and move on to something that might help bring the whole situation down to earth to make better sense of what and where the puzzle pieces are.
So here’s the deal. This year I will be studying towards a Graduate Diploma in Theology at Laidlaw College. This decision was fuelled by the following considerations:
- This two and a half year period of human powered travel has been a turning point and a catalyst for radical personal and spiritual growth for me. My faith in the Christian religion (all the rules and regulations and doctrines) was thoroughly deconstructed and demolished, and what remained was an insatiable drive to learn how my unmovable confidence in the Jesus message would fit into my now drastically expanded global perspective. I had an extremely narrow and judgemental world view before my journey. I find myself now back home still with a strong confidence in the potential of the Gospels to transform the human psyche (Jesus’s message of love, reconciliation and redemption seems to me to be a solid solution to much of the brokenness and ‘dysfunction of the human psyche – Ekhart Tolle’ that so many philosophers allude to in their musings), but a little uncertain of how that all fits in now with my radically expanded global perspective on humanity and the earth.
- I’m not too keen to jump into anything blatantly ‘vocational’ at this stage, such as teaching or outdoor ed. “It is so easy to live a life that has been scripted for you by others, to fall into the mire of conformity by following a path that society has laid before you, rather than heeding your own unique calling. Comfort, complacency, routine, the path of least resistance, the easy road – these things are the bane of humankind. It is a disquieting moment when you awaken to realise the trappings of conventiality have created a life for you that is entirely different from the one you wish to live.” This is a quote from Dean Karnazes’s book 50 Marathons in 50 Days. It resonates within me as a sort of warning not to rush into things too quickly at the stage I’m at right now.
- When a friend of mine mentioned that she would be doing the same course (before I ever considered it as a possibility), I was extremely excited by how the course would challenge and shape and expand her understanding and view of the world. Experiences that force us to think outside our own bubble of comfort and understanding are what contribute to a wider, global awareness of the humanity and wonder of this rock we inhabit, and that wider awareness is what contributes to the big picture of love, tolerance, peace, and understanding. I had my awareness of things outside my bubble of knowledge and experience expanded to a huge extent during my journey. To spend a year this year in structured, directed thinking and discussion therefore seems an appropriate step in order to fully debrief my experiences.
- I’m excited by how I might be able to incorporate my personal and spiritual journey into a book about my travels. If I wrote the book now, it would just be ‘another travel book’. But there was obviously something deeper going on, something sub-consicous, during my journey, that I need to fully explore and be able to articulate well in the book.
Obviously there is a considerable opportunity cost involved in doing this year of study. I could potentially head back to Japan this year and earn around NZ$50,000 quite easily. Plus there is the fact that I still have an outstanding NZ$10,000 student loan waiting to be paid off. Another NZ$4,000 for a course that has no obvious application in terms of vocation is a risky investment.
I hope that this year will be a worthwhile opportunity for equipping me with skills and knowledge. A very luxurious opportunity, I admit, but here’s to the future and all the mysteries it holds…