Difficult lessons learned from travelling with friends

So here it is lessons learned from travelling with friends:

  1. Make sure you are actually on the same page.
  2. If they don’t know what travel insurance or a visa is, be worried. When I asked my friend the night before we were due to travel whether she had bought her travel insurance, her answer couldn’t have shocked me more. “What’s that?” Cue *blank face* “Are you s****ing me?”
  3. Push for what you want especially if you planned the whole thing.
  4. Be worried if they suddenly panic the night before asking if you’re taking them to a really dangerous country with terrorists. Every country has terrorists. But NO in case it wasn’t obvious, do I look like I’m going on holiday to be kidnapped, tortured and then potentially murdered?
  5. If they can’t tell you where we’re going, you’re screwed. It means they’ve done ZERO research and looked at NONE of the material you sent over.
  6. Don’t let them get away with doing jack s**t unless you’re the kind of person who likes to plan everything cough *controlfreak* cough – which is fine if it’s your holiday they’ve invited themselves to. Not that I didn’t ask for suggestions but I was given carte blanche. I did ask where she would like to stay etc. but she said she trusts me!
  7.  Turns out she didn’t actually trust me after our first hostel. Where is our 5* hotel? I can’t live among the poor! They are so different! I’m scared. No, I’m being melodramatic she’s not into 5* hotels and she’s not demanding, but she was very scared and felt the disparity between the rich and poor as well as being a tourist.
  8. Don’t trust them when they say – “You fit in more because you look more like them.” Me: “Wtf!? I’m Asian and I’m brown. I look like a tourist just like you.” Friend: “Yes, but I’m paler and noticeably more touristy.” Me: *mutters under breath* Yeah because you act so unnatural.
  9. Frankly just don’t listen to them. They are irrational and pass on their own anxieties.
  10. If they mention that they’ve only been to two other countries outside of their own, be worried. They’re not seasoned travellers, they’re newbies which is fine if you’re a newbie too.
  11. If you try to take them to historical sites, but they keep diverting you, just know you will never reach those historical sites.
  12. If you want to go on daytrips, but they don’t set an alarm and the only one you set went off but you couldn’t hear it (due to being hard of hearing), but they could and didn’t wake you up, you can be sure they’re not into going on that trip.
  13. If you want to go anywhere, but they don’t want to book anything nor do they want to just go – you can be sure nothing will materialise except wasted time and effort.
  14. Finally – my last and most important piece of advice: just go by yourself – solo travel seems so much easier unless you have amazing friends who you’ve travelled with before.
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What does it mean to be in the unknown?

Today I am struggling with quite an interesting topic but which I would like to reflect objectively but will also try to keep a positive reflection on it. I am grappling with many ideas after reading a psychic reading and not because I am convinced that I want to find out what my future holds and pay $80 because I am unconvinced. Although a lot of what was written seemed to be true- I did not necessarily view my life as completely negative though I can be negative sometimes. But mostly I try to be optimistic. I am not materialistic and I do not care much for money except to have enough to enjoy a good life. I don’t need fancy phones or fancy gadgets. I just want happiness but obviously happiness is not a continuous state. It is constantly in flux.

What struck me about the psychic reading was that the woman was trying to convince me to buy her services and let her help me. The examples she used of not knowing what the future holds and how we must not walk in darkness really hit me. That is how I live my life- I take each day as it comes. I don’t expect anything to happen. I just live. But is that wrong? She makes it sound wrong. It reminded me of my brother who always said “what are you going to do with your life? You can’t keep walking around waiting for something to hit you.” Life is not like that. But the thing is I continue to walk in the unknown- I continue to wait for something to hit me in the face. The psychic gave an interesting example about a series of doors and how if we knew what was behind the doors we would avoid the bad and stick to the good. We wouldn’t just pick random doors in the hope of catching the good. Its not right to walk into the unknown unprepared. But truthfully I find it more exciting. You never know what could happen and you never have expectations. I mean how can you know what is the best choice until you make a choice! It is so easy for someone to say you should plan and prepare yourself. Well yes you should for quite a few things but life is unplanned.

I don’t know if life is planned. I don’t know if I believe completely in destiny. Saying that I suppose I contradict myself when I say that I believe that “Everything happens for a reason” because I truly do believe that. So perhaps then there is such a thing as destiny and a planned life. Though I would not consider myself a hard determinist nor would I consider myself a libertarianist because I do not believe we have complete freedom to act. Our choices are limited sometimes by external factors. For example if I wake up in the morning and I want pancakes- I can’t have pancakes if I have no eggs or flour. In that sense I am limited to act. Though one may argue I have the choice despite that and I have the choice to go out and buy eggs. But then I don’t have that choice if I am in a rush and I am restricted by time constraints. I consider myself a soft determinist because honestly that is the one that seems to make the most sense to me. We do have some freedom though it is limited. We have some control though some things are out of our control. It is like the example Hobbes gave about a flowing stream of water that is constrained to flow one way which is downwards- it cannot flow up, however it can flow in different directions downwards. It is limited by not being able to flow up, but is still has some choice to flow freely downwards. This is the same with life- we do have some control over the present and what we choose to do. I could potentially quit my job but I may not want to. I could go on holiday if I have the funds, but I am scared. Things such as external factors limit us and that may be fear, time, money, people etc. We have no control over death- not really. We can’t control our death- though some may argue that we could- we can choose when we want to die by choosing to kill ourselves. But not really. We don’t know what fate or destiny has in store for us. We don’t know how the future will pan out and it would be great to know but it would also be pretty crap.

How can we learn from our mistakes when we already know what they will be? Yes I walk in the darkness and I have no idea where my life is going. I find it hard to climb out the rut and my future is completely unknown because I have no idea what will happen tomorrow. But I can’t control that and I can’t change that because plans change. You may think you have a plan but it all changes because of circumstance.

I would love to pick the right doors and avoid the evil, hurt and pain. But that is simply to easy. The game is never easy! People always say “Oh if only I had known better!” “If only I did that instead of this…” But the thing is how could you know? You made a decision based on the evidence you were presented with or based on your feelings. You made that choice so when you make your bed you have to lie in it. You can only become wise by learning.

No one can protect me from the unknown. No one can tell me what the future holds. I mean psychics probably could and I could heed your warning and even if they are telling the truth I am making a choice right there and then. Some people would call me foolish to follow the psychic and some might say I was right if everything turned out well. I won’t blame anyone for my mistakes except me because I made them. I won’t heed your warning because even though I am completely afraid of the unknown, it is the best thing I have right now. Surprise me.

Life never forgets to surprise you! It happens more than once! The psychic tells me I will be happy for 6 months and I must sign up to find out more- but I don’t want happiness for 6 months! I want happiness for life! 🙂 But most of all I need to learn by myself and make my own mistakes. I need to exercise the right amount of caution. But I need to be positive.

So I ask you what does it mean to be in the unknown? Does it mean to be lost? Am I lost now? Maybe. I don’t know but somehow I’ll find my way out the darkness. There has to be a light and there will be a light. Life might just throw something in your way!

Change is harder than people think….

“A great writer reveals the truth even when he or she does not wish to.” Tom Bissell- This quote popped up after I published this article and I just had to include it because it was very true for this story of mine. So without further ado here is some of my ugly truth.

So I recently successfully completed a telephone interview and I have an assessment day on Wednesday but I am very scared, but  I don’t really know why. I suppose it is because of the failures of my last interviews and I am afraid of how people perceive me. But the truth is I am trying to find myself and this day is for a job in sales. Everyone says that people should follow their dreams, but this is not my dream and I know in my heart that this job is not the right one for me. I want to run and not take part. I want to ring up and say I am not interested but that is the coward in me who doesn’t want to bother with the effort or the research. I hate presentations and I don’t want to do it so I want to run. But there is always something in me which stops me from quitting- which makes me face the things I hate. Because if I don’t face them I’ll always be scared and run away. If I don’t try I’ll never know. That is the part of me I love and hate at the same time. If I give up now there’s no point because I didn’t even try. Even though I don’t want the job, the experience of the interview is good. But another part of me says what’s the point? I should save myself the humiliation! Well who knows I could meet some very nice people. I could actually learn something. I could stop running from my fears. No I don’t really want this job, but I do want to try and experience things. For me jumping out of a plane or para-sailing is far more exciting, but it is also a lot more dangerous.

That day I answered the call- I didn’t care I just went for it because I knew I had nothing to lose and I didn’t really care. But now, now that I have passed the interview I do care. Or perhaps it is that I care about how I look in front of top business people. I don’t want to make a fool of myself in front of them. I don’t want to fail. I just want to get this over and done with but at the same time I want to run in the other direction and not face this day.

Recently I have been fearing the future. I don’t know why but it was my graduation last week and I was not looking forward to the stress, seeing people, the fear of tripping over my heels. But on the day during they ceremony I felt blessed. I felt so happy- going up for my certificate I had no time to be scared because I was happy. This was what I worked 3 years for. All my hard work paid off. So why didn’t I want to face the day? Can you imagine what would have happened if I missed it? I would have missed out on such much! On such a momentous and important day for me. Granted there was a lot of people I didn’t want to see and didn’t want to talk to and I didn’t really talk to them because who says you have to? University is over. All that matters is what you achieved and who you are.

After America over the summer I have not been the same. I thought I hadn’t changed which I disliked because I wished to change- I wanted to be more confident but the truth is I had changed. I had become worse, more fearful, more reserved and quiet! I came to hate myself. Such a shame just as I was coming out of my shell after all the good uni had done! Even after these few months I hated me. I wanted to forget. I wanted to forget when people hurt me. I wanted to forget everything. I was ashamed. Why? Because I did not like me. Why did I care so much what people think? I don’t know. When I spoke to someone they said why would you want to change? You’re fine the way you are! Well I think I do need to change some things but I am fine. I’ll take that!

The problem is I let my insecurities rule me and I let fear control me. I hate it and I am trying to change it. I am trying to change me for the better. But it is no easy process. Things happen for a reason. The other day someone asked me what my dream job would be and I thought and in my head I had absolutely no idea! But because I needed an answer I said I would like to have been an author. Truthfully I don’t think I would have! I like writing stories- but for myself and for my friends. Perhaps I would have liked to have been a doctor. No maybe I would have liked to have worked for a charity. I still could- I like helping people so I could work for a charity. Maybe I will try it. It’s not impossible and completely out of my reach unlike medicine where I actually need a medical degree.

Nothing is impossible! I just have to keep telling myself that. I need to change. I need to wake up and be positive. I need to get back to where I began. When I was a baby I had no care in the world and was not affected by any external judgements. So I can’t get back that far. But I can shield myself from criticism. I can choose not to let things affect me. It is hard to change, but I must do it. I must be the change I want to be. But most importantly I must learn to love myself.

At least I know that some people love me, my family, friends and most importantly God. That’s right me and the man upstairs are changing the rules. I will not fail. And if I do that’s ok I’ll just get right back up and start again.