This morning I read a new blog post by my friend Nyondo, who used to be a sysadmin for a lesbian-owned-and-operated sex toy shop (Babes in Toyland) and who is currently living in rural India, dodging goats and cows and the occasional pack of monkeys while helping both her wives help a senior Tibetan monk raise a 100-foot statue of Guru Padmasambhava (the monk who brought Buddhism from India to Tibet) in Tso Pema, a small pilgrimage town in the aforementioned rural India.
And that’s just the tip of their adventures.
Anyway, Nyondo writes,
What’s been interesting to us over the years is the number of people who say, “Oh I wish I’d done that!” But when it comes down to cases, the same folks will happily choose sitting home in the burbs to watch some reality TV instead of eating some rat on a stick, traveling through a revolution, or building a dual-system dirigible.
(The “rat on a stick” reference, incidentally, is a reference to me – I took photos of some interesting foods and ate plenty more while I was in Laos, including grilled rat-on-a-stick. I’m still kicking myself for not trying grilled bat-on-a-stick, which they had too.)
How does she get into this?
The decision pattern sounds something like this: “It’s too weird not to do.” Or “I’ll always wonder if I hadn’t.” Or: “The timing on this is just too coincidental…”
which has got to be the best summary I have ever seen of how one winds up having adventures. It’s a matter of being attracted to the possible, and then flinging caution away to the winds when the time comes to be daring. As Ian Fleming famously wrote in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang,
“…and as it’s only just five o’clock now,” he paused for breath, “and as we’ve never been abroad, I thought it would be rather fun to GO TO FRANCE!”
“Good heavens!” said Mimsie.
“Gosh!” said Jemima.
“My hat!” said Jeremy.
And, for a moment, they all sat thinking about this colossal adventure. Then mimsie said, “But we haven’t got any passports!”
And Jeremy said, “But don’t they have different money in France – francs they’re called. What about francs?”
And Jemima said, “What about the language? I’ve only learned ‘oui’ which means ‘yes’ and ‘non’ which means ‘no’. That’s not going to get me very far.”
Commander Pott said firmly, “That’s no way to treat adventures. Never say ‘no’ to adventures. Always say ‘yes’, otherwise you’ll lead a very dull life.”
“Now, about passports…”
The art of having adventures is simply that of saying, “Wow, that is dang cool!” and then having the courage to let go of all the doubts and the what-ifs long enough to grab hold of the adventure and go, trusting that you’ll be able to solve problems along the way. This is just as true in the creative arts as it is in adventure travel.