Friday, December 23, 2011

The Responsible Adult

That's the mark of a true adult; total responsibility for self. It is a mostly exhausting process, sadly, and much of the time the rewards feel few and far between.

This isn't a reward as such. Traipsing about the world is an incredible luxury. Awareness of this cannot and should not be undone, and the opportunity not taken for granted.

At the same time, the only person responsible for me is me. I make my own decisions, pick my consequences and get to choose which regret to live with.

Tessa, come Boxing Day you will have been traveling for 2 months, the longest you've ever gone, and there is no known end to this. You were not at full capacity when you left home, and haven't operated on such for too long. To this journey you've assigned some purpose. There is something you need to prove, but what, and to who, you do not know.

You are not as strong as you think you are. It is okay to admit that.

While in Berlin, I give you permission to do nothing. Go out and tourist your little butt off if you want, or stay in the hostel dozing on the couch between cups of tea and look only out the window.

Ask nothing of yourself. Test nothing. Challenge nothing. Be nothing.

And maybe we'll get through this.


  1. This I can so very much relate to. With truly long-term travel, you are almost forced to find a sustainable way to fill your days. No one around to expect anything of you - but also no one around whose expectations can give shape or meaning to your days. And so it's just yourself discovering which things really matter to you, and how you shape up under ultimate freedom - what you let go, and what you hold tight to. It's not a swift (nor easy) process (though doing brag-worthy things helped justifying it to myself), but I at least found I preferred the me who came out at the other side.

    Don't know what christmas means to you, but I hope you gave it some shape you enjoyed here in (showing-a-surprising-lack-of) cold and dark Europe.

  2. Thanks, Aan. That's a good way of putting it. I just keep thinking back to my trip around Japan, and how exhausted I was at the end of it because I COULD NOT WASTE TIME EVER AAAAH.

  3. Yeah, rest days are essential. Any trip longer than two weeks, I just schedule in one day a week as "recovery". That's also a good thing about long-term travel - you have so many days that you _can_ actually take that time without feeling like you're wasting precious days and feel guilty about not seeing all the things you wanted to.