On learning not to worry
Want a good method for learning not to worry? Try crossing Canada with a backpack and no firm timeline except “making it to Halifax by the fall”.
Admittedly I wasn’t the most worrysome fellow when I started this trip. I like ducks when they’re in a row, but I’m also pretty used to them quacking off in all directions. And really that’s more duckish anyways. Sure, taking the first step out the door took awhile to build up and happen, and there have been a number of ‘OMG WTF AM I DOING?’ moments behind the scenes. But they happen a little less frequently these days, and it seems that the worst ones were closer to the beginning.
Like the hours after the start of my trip in April in Victoria when my Dad asked me how was I going to afford to do it? where I’d make money? How I’d survive? And I didn’t have an easy answer to give him. I didn’t have an easy answer for myself. But I knew that I had an idea that mattered to me, and that I had to try it. I was no longer willing to succeed at things that didn’t matter to me and would rather fail at things that did. And then pick myself back up, reassess, learn, and keep going.
Like the day I was sitting on a chair at my friend’s house in Vancouver at the start of May updating my website/posting pictures, and wondering what the heck I’d gotten myself into and if I were a crazy man like some alluded. And then Thomas Hawk added me to his curated photographers list on fb and I remembered that my kind of crazy keeps company with many wonderful and awesome people who encourage me and believe in me.
Like the first time my account went below $100, then $50, then $20. In my second month on the road. And then rose back a bit higher. Through articles I’d written before, and forgotten about, getting published. Through random unexpected donations out of the blue. Through an income tax return. Through selling a photo for publication. I kept going.
Month after month I’ve kept going.
I’d contact and make plans for rides to connect the dots of my travel and they lined up from BC to Winnipeg without a hitch. And then they didn’t. Two times I had rides ‘in the bag’ that fell through in Winnipeg. It happens. And it made me look outside of myself again, outside of my standard resources; it challenged me to grow. To search outside of myself, to work, to risk, to look and find the answer waiting for me.
Sometimes easy. Not easy, often. Always good.
There have been days of feast, with wine and cheese and delectables. There have been days of hitting the store when it opens to get first pick of the marked down goods. There have been days with rather less. And things to learn in all of those days. I’ve learned even more about the difference between wants and needs. And I’m more thankful for many many little things.
It is uncomfortable scraping away our illusions and our ignorance to find the deeper bedrock of life. I know this is a process that will continue until the day I die.
This doesn’t make it easier, but it does help. And I am better for it.
So.. I had a non-communicative rideshare to Moncton fall through today.
I just got an email offering a ride all the way to Halifax on Sunday with a few more people that will cost me less than if I did the trip via Moncton (having to stay over there for a few days while I found another ride).
This also means I can go to the BBQ I’m invited to on Saturday by a fellow I met out walking his dog last Sunday. And I’ll likely be able to go have a bagel with my host here. Something he’s been telling me I must do.
I’m one car-ride away from making it to ‘the end’ of this trip.
I’m a 13-hour car ride with two strangers away from accomplishing my goal of “making it to Halifax by the fall” (after 5.5 months).
And we know that ends really aren’t ends.
I have a filmaker friend coming to join me to make a webseries/documentary of our travels from the East Coast back to the West. I don’t know what it will look like. I don’t know how we’re going to do it. I don’t know where we’ll get rides, where we’ll stay, what we’ll find.
How can I do any less but find out?
If I can be an example of anything, please let it be the example of an ordinary man awkwardly and sincerely taking little steps forward in search of what he can do, and inviting everyone else to do so as well.