Sunday, April 02, 2006

Sunday Scribblings: a rambling fantasy

What would you attempt if you knew you would not fail?

If I knew that I wouldn't fail, I'd pack my bags and head for the nearest exit. I'd get on what ever plane was leaving the country first and let fate decide my destinations from there. That is how I often traveled while in India--although only by bus or train (not plane). I'd go down to the station and buy a ticket for which ever one was leaving first. Sometimes I chose destinations simply for the odd sounds of their names. (Ok--but we're not reliving the past here.)

The fantasy: My backpack is empty except for a change of underwear, a bottle of aspirin, malaria pills, a journal, pen, camera, a few tubes of paint and some paint brushes. My baggage weighs all of 5 lbs. and anything else I need, I plan on picking up along the way. I'm on a mission to capture images of the world. I'm in search of stories. Having utmost faith in both myself and the universe, I've just spent my life's savings (which isn't much).

I end up in some odd and beautiful places--in populated cities, dense jungles, poor neighborhoods, vast deserts, 3rd world, 1st world, highlands, lowlands, quiet villages, hectic streets, in cold places, and warm places...I travel slow, taking my time in each place. I paint. I write. I watch.

Some say that, if I keep it up, I am destined for failure. They say that traveling is a waste of money and a waste of time. I'm getting older--I should be working on an MFA, a PhD, or how about getting a real job. I should be spending more energy on being a good wife. I should be saving my money. I should be thinking about a 409K or homeownership or babies--not travel, for god's sake!

Oh, but the beauty of this little escapade is that buying that first plane ticket ends up being the catalyst for my success--financially, emotionally, physically, spiritually. The experience ends up getting me into school, into jobs; it gets me published; it gets me art shows... my travels make the rest of what I want to happen--HAPPEN. And if failure (ending up jobless and poor) were not an option-- I think that, maybe, I'd already be gone.


*image by Laini
@ Sunday Scribblings

15 comments:

beansprout said...

This is great! And maybe not so fantastical at all. Isn't it always that first step that sets everything in motion? Like buying the elusive ticket...

Oh...and thanks so much for stopping by my blog.

tara dawn said...

May I just say that this is by far the best Sunday Scribblings I've read today! Not the others weren't great...but your "rambling fantasy" just resonates with me so deeply. If only failure were not an option...I'd head straight to the airport, hop a plane to pick you up, and then join you on this journey of exploration. What a wonderful dream...I hope you don't mind me accompanying you on this ultimate trip!
Sending love,
Tara Dawn
PS - I started painting with acrylics tonight..and I suck...but I'm having a blast!!!

Laini Taylor said...

Wonderful! I absolutely believe travel is essential to a full life, and the more travel, the fuller life. The other things are important, too, the savings and degrees and marriage and babies, but travel should be on a level with them, not neglected in favor of them. So go forth! I wish I managed to travel more -- I have done the train station departure board game in foreign countries, but never India. It is a great adventure.

Amber said...

Beautiful, Jessie. And let me just say that this part--

Oh, but the beauty of this little escapade is that buying that first plane ticket ends up being the catalyst for my success--financially, emotionally, physically, spiritually. The experience ends up getting me into school, into jobs; it gets me published; it gets me art shows... my travels make the rest of what I want to happen--HAPPEN.

--isn't so far-fetched. After all, just this week I read about a guy who spent a couple of days in the local Wal-Mart over spring break, and now he's got a book deal, appearances on Good Morning America.... And if that lame field trip can buy a person fifteen minutes, I have no doubt that your random plane-jumping fantasy would be worth something much more enduring. I'd read that book. I'd be fascinated by that book. (And not just because I'd read and love any book you wrote.)

krista said...

DOn't you hate all those "shoulds" that creep in. But oh, your travels in India sounded delightful, and your fantasy too- sounds just like the fantasy I have in my head when I am feeling really bogged down in family life.

Daydreaming of different latitudes, topography, landscapes...

Cate said...

I'm with Tara Dawn--for some really, your Sunday Scribbling has been the most powerful one for me. Maybe because, if I were to be honest, traveling alone is something that I love to do (but have great anxiety over). Maybe because, like you, I hear voices telling me that trips are a waste of money, of time.

You had me with the items in your suitcase. How liberating to travel with only underwear and art supplies! And I love the "twist" at the end--where it the adventure pays off because it opens doors. I find that in most situations, taking the risk results in this--open doors, fresh opportunities, brand new dreams.

Thank you for sharing your fantasy. Hopefully, one day soon, it will no longer be only a dream . . .

Jamie said...

Oh, Jessie, I smiled the entire time I was reading your post. It's so inspiring. I admire your adventurous spirit and the playful way you approached your earlier travels. I'm sure you have many great stories to share!

I love that the section filled with "shoulds" was in italics, like a different voice was coming in and speaking. In coaching we call that the gremlin, that voice inside you that wants to keep the status quo at all costs. You bypassed that gremlin beautifully!

You're amazing. I'm so glad to have discovered your blog.

GoGo said...

Very nice. I find travel removes the cobwebs of ego. I appreciated your rambling words, and felt propelled to follow your trajectory. Can't wait to see you on the road.

susanlavonne said...

I think the best part of your journey is that it is not and escape but an adventure! Beautifully written too :-)

Kristine said...

Great post.
I am fascinated with travel. I have not been very many places and yet I love travel and often dream about it. I don't think it's far fetched at all.

megg said...

this is wonderful! I understand completely! I did that! I dropped everything and bought a ticket and here I am 8 years later living in another country with the love of my life. It's not possible to have regrets when you go on such an adventure. go. trust me.

tess said...

Wow--this is great! You never know...And just fantasizing like that will likely make you a bit more daring in the here and now.

HoBess said...

I love this! You know, you had Grover on your other blog when I stopped by the other day and all I can hear when you mention people telling you what they think you should be doing is my son's impersonation of Grover: "P-shaaw you say? You'd better watch this!"

Caroline said...

Last night I dreamt about travel and in the dream was wondering how to make it easier... your actively putting it into the hands of fate style is an answer I'd never have contemplated without reading your post... very interesting idea!

I also like that you define what failure means to you. It was when I realised that the only thing holding me back from a critical change in my life was the fear of poverty that then I realised I'd rather be poor than stay where I was... and although I'd thought I'd be poor I'm not, just not as financially well off as I used to be and much, much happier!

Mardougrrl said...

I really felt this particular post. I guess because I'm also feeling this incredible desire to pack up and GO...which is hard with an infant. (and I adore India too...got married there, among other things).

I love that you acknowledged that little inner judge but kept writing.