That’s the biggest lesson I’ve learned this past month, but my six months on the road have been building to this one important realization, I think.
I’ve always thought that the biggest compliment someone could give me would be that I am capable. That I can handle it, I can get shit done, I can make it work. I’ve gotten a compliment as close as ‘she always fakes it till she makes it’ - which I will absolutely take and put up on my trophy shelf. Most people behind my back, however, would call me a know-it-all.
So, over the past six months that sense of capableness has been tested, and any sense I had of knowing about shit has been obliterated. I don’t have it all figured out.
Sure, I have my shit together enough to travel around the world. But that’s just navigation. In Australia I couldn’t for the life of me remember to open their doors with the little button (why do you guys do that, anyway?) and was always pulling on locked doors. In Indonesia I got myself into a situation where a drunk villager was knocking on my door and whispering in my window in Balinese at midnight. Later, in eastern Indo, I arrived to an island without internet, a post office, or a bank with only a little plastic blue credit card that was absolutely worthless there. People extended me kindnesses and I oftentimes accepted them awkwardly without the grace I hoped to present. A month on a beautiful sailboat in French Polynesia rendered me to a mass of limbs with no sailing experience, constantly in the way. Coming off of a month being the literal big sister, road tripping around New Zealand, it was incredibly humbling to be in the deferent apprentice role. And by humbling I mean I felt like a total idiot and realized I don’t know shit.
So that’s the big lesson traveling the world has taught me, I guess. And it’s fucking awesome. I don’t know shit! I feel like shouting it from the top of a building. It’s so freeing. I can stop handling everything. I can accept that I don’t know anything, and open myself up to learning. I’m not in control! What’s there to learn in always doing everything right? How can you prove you’re a badass without a ground to pick yourself up off of? I choose not to focus my life on avoiding suffering, embarrassment. I choose to tie up the dinghy incorrectly so it floats three football fields off into the lagoon at night, almost and I mean almost getting sucked out the pass to the open sea. I choose to accept an unexpected gift without having anything in return. I choose to say the wrong thing to my travel mate. I choose to accept that I don’t know shit. Life is good.