I knew that this time when I left home, much like the first time I left in 2010, that it would be a big thing. Not just a holiday with coconuts on the beach and awkward tan lines, but that there would be big change within me. I know I wont return home the same.
That change, the shifting of my core and the things that really drive me, deep down, has already started.
14 hours of transit from Auckland onto Melbourne and Singapore left me with an opportunity to think, to mull. I was hurt when I was home, by someone I cared about but there was something else that was stinging deeper – I was hurt by the loss of the future I’d imagined; the possibility that had baited me home in the first place was long gone.
I’d loss my tomorrow, which gave me two options: to reinvent a new tomorrow, or to focus on today.
I’ve spoken about things I wish someone had told me and missing out on things, but one thing that I think travel forces you to do to is to be present. Whether it’s because you’re in such awe of the beauty of Ha Long Bay that your breath is literally ripped from you and you can’t do anything but stare, slowly, and breathe it all in. Or maybe it’s because you arrive in India in shortshorts, busloads of men staring and no real plan, only to find that any form of comfort has been winded out of you.
In those moments: those beautiful moments of true chaos, whether of supreme beauty or unfamiliarity, there’s nothing else. For those moments there’s no tomorrow, yesterday is well and truly gone so all you have is now. You’re forced to maintain eye contact with this moment. Instead of hiding behind the future you let this moment fuel you. You surrender to the now.
In normal day-to-day life there’s responsibility, there are bills, commitments and plans. There are things we should be doing better: our diet, our exercise, our finances, our relationships… we should just do more, better, all of the time. Because if we do then eventually we will get to a point in time where we are really happy. Hell, even if we’re pretty happy right now, we could be happier – if we had this or did this.
We’re always so close to happiness, but we never really reach it or if we do we guilt ourselves into thinking we need more of it.
I think a lot of us get lost in the possibility of tomorrow, or next year or in a decade. We fall in love with our future selves; they are fitter, nicer, smarter and more settled. Their bank accounts are richer, our future kids are cute and we’re finally doing what we really, truly want to do – but only in our minds.
What I learned when I was home in Christchurch, a little too abruptly, is that tomorrow is certainly not promised to us. All you have is now.
I wonder what I could have achieved in life if I’d stopped daydreaming about what I would or could be, and just was me, right now.
There’s that silly quote that the present is called the present because it’s a present: a gift. I think that’s a horribly cheesy way to look at it, but the truth is right now is all we’ve got, so it’s time I start enjoying it completely.
Started things off with a 40 baht Thai dish that burned my face off, wandering around unfamiliar streets and falling in love with this side of the world all over again.
I love Asia. It feels really good to be back.