My grandmother used to tell me when I was a kid to listen to my body. She would say,”If you are hungry, eat. If you are tired, sleep.” She also told me not to care what anyone else thought. This is a woman who wore bell bottoms in the 80’s. One of the most beautiful traits of traveling alone is that at some point, you will always shed the skin of opinions that you are coated with by your friends and family. Except Granny’s, of course. You learn to detox yourself of your beliefs and act on instinct as an uninfluenced man, living as best as you, yourself, feel fit. You don’t care what anyone else thinks. The opinions and comments of those you know eventually stop ringing in your head as much as your own evaluations and assessments. Because they aren’t there to scold you. When you regain this control of your own ideas and self persuasion, you start to dissect the right-ness or wrong-ness in everything, and you recognize societal pressures that are unnecessary. You start to detox your mind of all the toxic influences in this world.
Everyone who reads this can figure out that I love coffee. It’s what makes me tick. In the states, I could spend all day in a coffee shop. Whether it is reading a book, surfing the web, or writing. My coffee shop time is my relaxation time. After a jolt of caffeine, neurons start flying and I get overwhelmingly insightful. Well, I’ll be damned if I don’t spend some afternoons or mornings in coffeeshops on the road as well, doing the exact same things. It comforts me the same as it does back home.
I recently had a conversation with a friend back home. He was quizzing me about my spending. I told him that I’ve been spending less money than I thought I would be at this point. He replied with , “Well you aren’t doing anything. All you do is sit in coffee shops like you do here.” Besides feeling offended by his comment, I was swarmed with uncertainty. ‘Was I doing the same old thing on the other side of the world?’ I thought. I reflected on how I spent my time so far. It didn’t feel like I was wasting my time, not seeing things. It felt like I was more allowing myself time to reflect and decompress and write. Besides, this blog didn’t just spring from my head instantly. And in reality, when he said that, I was actually in the process of overcoming a rough head cold. But I like to go see sites in the early morning and late afternoons to avoid the mid day sun. So what?
Here I was on the other side of the world trying to meet someone else’s expectations of MY journey. But this comment brought me to the realization that every moment of this trip doesn’t have to be some adrenaline pumping, awe inspiring moment. And I’ll be home a lot sooner if I go ever second to the max! I’ve stayed out past sun up with people, clubbing. I’ve seen beautiful places. I’ve had world renowned cuisine. I’ve done stupid shit living in the moment. I’ve had good days and bad days. So who the hell was he to judge my experience? Even I get tired sometimes!
Everyone’s ideas of vacation are different. Is it wrong? Not necessarily. When I went to Jamaica, I backpacked around the island with a good friend. We stayed in shanties, ate local food, drank with the locals, and got quite an insight into Jamaican culture. Others would rather go to Jamaica’s all inclusive resorts and shut off their brains and relax. To them, vacation means relaxation, not adventure. That’s fine. It’s when their Montego Bay massive all-inclusive resort is built on top of a turtle nesting grounds that I have a problem. Or if they stay at the God forsaken Sandal’s Resorts that won’t allow same-sex couples to book with them. But my point is there is no right or wrong definition of vacation.
I know I’ll go crazy if I don’t get some down time in everyday. I know that I’ll have a mind splitting headache if I don’t get coffee everyday. Is that wrong? I don’t think so. If you do, then come join me. We’ll walk around all day in the Vietnam sun without a break… then what will you think? I’ve got $5 bucks says you’ll want a comfy air-conditioned coffee shop at about 1:30 in the afternoon. I share my experiences truthfully. But when I close my laptop, the opinions halt for me. I am here on my own, and that means being without the judgement of others ringing in my ears. During this time, I’m my own man. No one is here to tell me what to do. It is up to me to make myself happy. This is my advice to you: Be you. Make yourself happy no matter what it means. Don’t listen to the advice of your friends, family, or the public. Live Miley Cyrus style if it’s what you really want. Answer to no one’s ideas of what your life should be. Learn to be an uninfluenced man or woman! Detoxify yourself of the expectations others have for you! Because you only get one life to live.
“The best teacher is experience and not through someone’s distorted point of view”
Side note: When I initially wrote this, I wrote “Live Lindsay Lohan style.” But I realized that she has passed the torch.