I Must Stay Young to Travel the Planet
One of my best friends Walt told me 20 years ago,
‘"The problem with growing old is the machinery wears out."
"The mind is willing, but how do I convince my body?"
He was about 70 at the time, I was about 35, and I am starting to get it.
I am looking at roughly 9.2 hours of travel time; the big question is this,
"Can I go nine hours without using the toilet?"
--- The answer is "Yes," I am 55 years old.
--- But, what if the answer is was "No?"
I advise my friends,
"All those comments you hear about growing old is good, is a lie, there is absolutely no benefit to growing old. Yes you are wiser, but who gives a crap when the body does not obey."
Mampong, Ghana West Africa --- Tuesday, December 28, 2010
Wisdom with Nothing to Prove
Wisdom comes when we stop trying to prove we are stronger, smarter and more capable than other people are, and just accept what is really possible for us to achieve.
There is nothing more macho than travelers, they seldom plan a reasonable trip, and they regularly plan itineraries as if they were "Superboy" or Supergirl."
It is 5:23 AM here in Mampong, I must decide,
"Am I Superboy or Superman today?
It is not helping this decision that the electricity is off, and I am typing on my computer by battery, there is no way to limit, stop or decrease the frequency of unanticipated problems. No matter how much I plan, in the end, it is just moving forward until I arrive. When I am traveling between locations, there is always nagging question in my mind,
"If I say yes, and go to the next city, will this be a good decision."
How do really people travel?
While I am making a problem to be solve out of this trip to Elubo… generally the average traveler does not see this as a problem, they just go. If they arrive at 8:00 PM in the dark of night, in the center of Africa, they do not stop and ask themselves,
"Was I stupid, did I make a bad decision?"
Walt again told me some great advice, I am adding,
"There are two things that all people believe they are experts at, Sex and Real Estate. And there are two things that nobody is an expert at, Sex and Real Estate."
Well, Walt owns about 35 houses free and clear, and now a few commercial building, free and clear, no debt, he is wealthy, but lives simple.
I am going to add, "Travel." You ever read Travel Blogs or commentaries on Travel; you would think everyone is an expert. How can I know enough about Ghana to be an expert, it would take a 1000 years to explore all the small areas of this country. Many a man or woman says to himself or herself when they are signing the divorce papers,
"I did not know my wife as well as I thought."
"Everyone thinks they are an expert traveler, and there is nobody that is an expert traveler."
With 12 years of experience, I am still painfully aware; I can make a bad decision. Now, with the problems of aging, my machinery is prone to maintenance and repair problem. The list of possible problems is growing bigger daily.
I must take a travel bite that I am 100 percent sure is comfortable, or be willing to pay the price in pain in suffering for an uncomfortable trip. I am not good at pretending a truly miserable and horrible ordeal was something else. There are no ordeals, providing I take small travel bites.
Aagh, my battery is dead, work or no work stop or go, a constant small hassle.
This little LG Cell Phone has a flashlight or a torch in the end; it cost me 20 bucks in Ivory Coast and is what I now use when there is no electricity.
5:58 I used my Cell Phone for a flashlight, changed my computer battery and 15-20 minutes later, I am back typing. There is a never-ending list of obstacles, it grows as fast as I solve them, the sun is now coming up, and in another 20 minutes, I can pack my bags by sunlight. I do not pack bags in the dark, that is way to uncomfortable for my short life, I will do that in a future life.
I must stay young
I do not fret or think, or put off my daily routine, I keep the routine even when everyone around me is chucking the routine. I wake up, I drink coffee, I type on the computer, I publish, I talk with Boy Genius in India over Yahoo Messenger, and my day is started.
Now, I must make the what if decision today, do I want to be Superboy or Superman, the truth is I cannot make the decision until I am face to face with the decisions. I will go to Kumasi, I will search for a Tro Tro to Takoradi, but if the Tro Tro to Obuasi or Dunkwa appears, then maybe I take one of those Tro Tros. (Vans)
Contrary to your legendary, mythical and romanticized usage of the word "Travel." The word travel is the word that sucks, the "Arrival" is the good part, and the landing in a great Hotel in the midst of too-many-problems-to-solve is the conquest.
Travel sucks, the process of moving is always uncomfortable, living in a great small Mom and Pops Hotel is heaven. Travel is the necessary movement between the place I want to leave and my future.
My body does not like jostling around in a van.
My body may need to use the toilet in Ghana, where they still shit in the bush.
My body has sciatica, one bad seat and I am in pain for hours.
My body does not like to carry a backpack weighing 50-60 pounds.
If I twist my body when loading the backpack, it could get strained, 20 years ago, this would never been a possible problem, now I must adapt.
I had Malaria a few weeks ago, my body is anemic, blood cells were killed, and I am at 70 percent of capacity for strength.
I am having small bolls on my armpit, strange and I am taking an antibiotic, I know I have malnutrition and need to pump up my vitamins, they cost 10 dollars a bottle here, triple the price of the USA.
6:30 AM, the sun has risen, and time to make many decisions.
I will make the best decision out of a long list of bad ones to choose from.
Going to work everyday, arriving in an office sounds sensible, but where is the emotional rush of being out of control, I am an addict, and I need the traveler rush. I will get busy living, or I will for sure get busy dying.
I Must Stay Young to Travel the Planet