Turning Drudgery into an Adventure
19 March 2019—Somewhere over the Atlantic Ocean
I am in the middle of my 50-hour, long-haul journey from Gili Air, Indonesia to Quito Ecuador. Today, I got to thinking about how challenging I feared this marathon voyage might be when I booked it. Once reservations were made, I became worried. I wondered if I was biting off more than I could chew—would it be too much for me?
Looking Forward to the Adventure
Then, about two weeks before I departed, I decided I would look upon the trip as an adventure, a new challenge, instead of dreading it. Then I started looking forward to it.
At first, I was planning to do the boat trip from Gili Air to Denpasar the day before my flight, having a night to rest near the airport. But I was too cheap to do that. To take the boat on the same day as the flight meant less planning and not having to hassle with checking into a guesthouse and getting separate transport to the airport. It also cost much less because Gili Getaway would transfer me from their dock to the airport for free. Frugality won out.
I’m Having a Good Time!
Today, on the fourth of the five legs of the journey, and 38 hours into the trip, I realized that I’m actually having a good time. And I wondered why. It has not been particularly comfortable. It can be boring, and my eyes are constantly dried out and stinging.
But I think I figured it out—it is completely a matter of the attitude I set for myself—my expectations of the trip. I decided to see it as an adventure (something positive) as opposed to looking on it as a drudgery (something negative).
My Cheering Squad
But not only that, I took on the people around me as a kind of cheering squad. I told friends and family I was going to do this and that I was thinking of it as an adventure. I did the same with people I encountered along the way—proudly stating what I was doing.
I felt a little like a kid who rides a bike for the first time. “Look, Mom! Look at me! Look what I can do!”
And when that child gets a high-five, she is suddenly empowered to do more to keep learning—keep pushing her boundaries—to gain new skills.
We are no different from that child. But as adults, we often hesitate to shout our dreams to the world or exclaim our pride in the midst of accomplishing those dreams. But when we do, the difficulties of the journey fade back and we are empowered to “keep up the good work.”
“Look What I am Doing!”
Fulfilling our dreams can be done in a vacuum or with the attitude of “well, I might as well get the hard part over with.” But by taking our dreams—and life—on as an adventure, shouting to the world, “Look at me!” the journey itself becomes fun, easier.
As for this 50-hour odyssey, I discovered a couple ways to shout, “Look what I am doing!”
- I reported the legs of my journey to friends and family on Facebook.
- Whenever I had a reasonable opportunity, I let people I met along the way know that I was on this odyssey. Watching the ticket clerk’s eyebrows rise when I showed him my itinerary, or hearing the gate clerk’s “Wow!” were the prizes I collected along the way.
And it is working. Yes, I will be exhausted when I finally stretch out on a bed in Quito at midnight tonight. But I am betting that I will give myself a high-five and feel not a little bit empowered. What will I do next?