In honor of this post, the song of the week is “Shout it Out” by Florence + the Machine (who I’m seeing in a few weeks!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!)
And I’m damned if I do and I’m damned if I don’t
So here’s to drinks in the dark at the end of my rope
And I’m ready to suffer and I’m ready to hope
It’s a shot in the dark aimed right at my throat
Cause looking for heaven, found the devil in me
Looking for heaven, found the devil in me
Well what the hell I’m gonna let it happen to me
As I come to the final moments of my trip, I have spent a lot of time reflecting on what has been, what could have been, and what might be as a result of this trip. I have a friend that I met in Fraser island that’s basically doing the same trip as me, give or take a few days, so we keep meeting up and hanging out. After my reef trip we had dinner and I relayed the many disasters that occurred in that thirty hours. He’d also been there to hear about the other little road bumps I’d encountered along the way so when I told him I couldn’t meet him in Cairns because I’d been stranded in Cape Trib he remarked, “Zan, you must be the unluckiest person I know.” I stared at his response dumbfounded because I’ve never felt unlucky this entire trip and would never have classified myself as such. Yes, things have gone wrong but out of all of the things that went “wrong” so many went right. Only twice, once when I got stuck in the jungle with no options, and another when I felt like I’d failed myself on the reef, did I get upset about anything that happened on my trip. I used to be really high strung about things and I’d get worked up quite easily when things didn’t go “according to plan” but then I realized that 99% of my plans don’t go accordingly and somehow I’m still alive and kicking.
To be quite honest though, life has been kicking me pretty hard in the face since before I could walk and has continued to do so along the way. However, I could live my life believing that or I could look at the things that life has given me wake of tragedy and believe that I am actually quite lucky. Some of my biggest gifts in life have come from such “tragedies.” For example, this entire trip was born from something terrible and now look at where I am. If I hadn’t gone through everything that I had last year, I would never had had the courage to live abroad–I’d be in boring old California going through the motions living like a turn of the century factory worker. From the very beginning this trip was not according to any of my previous plans! The trip itself also had a plan, a plan that involved being in one quiet place for six months and traveling Asia. Did any of that happen? No. Instead, I got a new job and a new place where I met some of the most wonderful people. These things then led me up the coast where I met some of the soundest people I think I will ever meet and saw more beautiful things than I could have imagined. I don’t really believe in things being predestined, but I do believe that all of this happened for one reason or another so I’m no longer phased when things go wrong. When things went to shit, I came to Sydney. When my job wasn’t what I expected, I got two better jobs, an apartment full of friends, and ocean view. When I couldn’t find an improv class that fit my schedule, I joined a team and did better than I ever would have anticipated. When I didn’t know how to plan a trip to Asia, I ended up planning one up the coast. When my reef trip got pushed, it gave me two days to meet up with some of my friends, friends I would have missed entirely had I gone to the reef. The debacle on the reef taught me so much about myself, gave me perspective and gave me goals. Getting flooded in Cape Trib reintroduced me to the kindness and generosity of humanity. Then getting stranded in Sydney gave me adequate time to say goodbye to my second home and see other friends who suddenly decided to come earlier than anticipated. Do you see what I’m getting at now?
I don’t know what happened but it seems like a switch went off somewhere down the road. It now feels unnatural to feel sorry for myself or to be upset about setbacks. Setbacks don’t even seem like setbacks–they just seem like part of the plan. The greatest thing that I’ve learned from this trip is that it’s all part of something bigger, that something will work itself out, and everything will be more than just okay. I mean, just look at where I’ve been and what I’ve accomplished in the last seven months. I really think moving to the other side of the world was just the beginning of something beautiful.
And to be frank, I feel quite lucky to be so “unlucky” because when I look back at what I had planned, I realize that what has come of it all was far more beautiful than anything I could have come up with myself. So the next time you feel sorry for yourself and you’re crying, “WHY ME??” you can think of this. This isn’t anything really profound–in fact it’s common knowledge but isn’t so until you’ve experienced it yourself. Things could always be worse! So here’s to you, control freaks of the world, chill out and enjoy the ride because life is really short and it’s going to be a lot more miserable if you spend your days grasping at the crumbling foundations of your precious plans.
I know I’m young and I don’t know much about life, but I do know that I am happy, that I am healthy, and that I am much more than alive–but let’s be real, that’s probably because I’m an immortal vampire.