Traveling Was the Goal; Where’s the Goal in Travel?

travelfree

Watercolor painting by Sarah Larsen

Over a year ago I wrote an article about meaning. You can read it here but to summarize: I got caught in a flood in Laos and ended up aiding a woman in need, which lead me to wonder about fate. I concluded that destiny is just life happening, and we create the meaning behind it. We choose to take action or to not take action, and we choose to see a moment as meaningful or meaningless, thus perpetuating our fate by our chosen meaning and actions.

In this we create mental situations that lead to related situations, and those related situations build the consequences that lead to more related mental and actual situations; We don’t choose our own fate, we create it step by step.

I’ve come to a point in my travels where, once again, I can’t stop wondering about my fate. I’ve become uncomfortable not knowing exactly what to do next. I don’t care to look at a crystal ball to see my future, but I would like to see my purpose. If I used my own advice I’d tell myself to create my purpose, which is easier said than done. The problem I’ve run up against is that if I were to state my desired purpose, it would be a blanketed and vague resume-style answer.

  • Help others
  • Create something beautiful
  • Reach personal success

These things are noble and worthy of effort, but they’re book covers. Packaged to summarize and look good, but by opening them up you’ll find each contains a world of it’s own; full of ups, downs, options, antagonists, landscapes, and time. The action of, “reach personal success” is deeper than the statement and calls for more elaboration. Or in other words, what the hell am I going to do to reach these goals? The bleak but honest answer is that, I don’t know.

When I was a kid, all I wanted was adventure. Adventure movies were always my favorite, and I’m not joking when I say it saddened me to the core realizing there were no real wardrobes with magic portals. What appeals to me in these stories isn’t just the adventure or the travel to far away lands, it’s the purpose. Whether the hero finds the purpose along the way or sets out with it from the start; meaning is what differentiates travel from a vacation.

So why do I write this? Originally I began writing this article as a personal plea to the universe or whatever governs order and fate. Apparently it worked because what I realized halfway through writing is that the articles I write have the potential to be and do each of those three points. I hope that my writings and ramblings are able to help, inspire, and comfort others. I hope my articles are beautiful. And I hope they’ll help me reach personal success. I write for myself, but I publish this as a reminder to whoever is reading to seek meaning and purpose in your own life and travels; create your own fate.

As Steven Pressfield said in his book The War of Art, “The paradox seems to be, as Socrates demonstrated long ago, that the truly free individual is free only to the extent of his own self-mastery. While those who will not govern themselves are condemned to find masters to govern over them.” Would you rather be a tourist in your life, or the action hero? Would you rather create your fate, or let life just happen to you? I know my answer. Here’s to remembering to keep on keeping on.

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