On my first trip to Nicaragua I met a man who shared just a few minutes of his time with me, but his words have stuck with me ever since. He came from my hometown in The Netherlands and left for a year of travels when he was 18. But now, about 30 years later, he’d still never returned. He’d been travelling ever since. When I asked him the question that all of you might be wondering right now; ‘How are you able to do so in the practical sense?’ he spoke a few words to me that I ever since have repeated many times, by now have lived a few times, and have found to be my most reliable teaching in life. ‘You have to trust yourself, that you’ll always be able to reinvent yourself’.
We like to think that we can put our thumb on top of the world. On top of our life. On the people that surround us, on our careers. Most of us like to think, or at least act, as if in life we’re striving towards a certain end goal. We study to work our way up along the same career path. We fall in love to get married with that person and have kids. The house we buy us supposed to be our home for a long long time. And on top of that, we try to secure it all a little more with insurances, solid contracts, etc etc. Aiming for an end goal deprived of movement, of change. Straight against the law of nature. Maybe one of the only rules in the world that no one knows to argue against: Nothing is permanent. After all, no one denies that we born and die, right? That we come and go? A wave roles in and out of the shore, summer and winter follow each other year after year. If change is such a given thing, than what is it about us society that we’re looking for so much security? Why do most of us want to know where we’re at a year from now? After all, the economy can destroy your job, a hurricane your house, someone else your marriage, but most probably… you yourself might change interests.
So what to do when life happens? I recently faced this challenge once again. Often times, I deliberately put myself in the situation of the unknown, by changing homes, changing careers, traveling alone. This time though, the country that has been my home for 3,5 years got on the brink of a civil war. Damn right there’s no insurance for that. The tourism that my both sources of income relied on, thai massage and the rental of my house, completely fell away. And while many people ran off as quickly as they could, I once again got reminded of those beautiful words. Trust yourself, that you’ll alwaysbe able to reinvent yourself. You don’t need to know where you’re living tomorrow, how you’re earning your money tomorrow, and who’ll be your day to day friends or lover, just trust that it will be a country, job and people that fit you. Just flow with that inevitable change, relying on your unique set of discovered, or yet to be discovered, skills. As long as you have a rule that you’ll only ever do what you love, then there’s no need to be scared of what’s coming next. Because all the doors that will open when you close the previous one, you can be sure there’ll be one that you’ll absolutely love.