A year ago I came to Portland, Oregon for the World Domination Summit, a fabulous event gathered by the Art of Nonconformity blogger Chris Guillebeau which is just about to ki At the end I travelled down to California and visited friends in San Francisco and LA. But one of the absolute highlights of my month in the states in 2014 was when I decided on an impromptu visit to the beautiful redwoods of Santa Cruz and stayed with a lovely old gentleman called Ed in his log cabin in the woods:
“I understand that i may not always have the ability to make the right decision. However i do have the ability to make a decision and then make it right.”
I get shivers (or “goosies” as JLO might say) as i finish the line of the paragraph in the book i’ve been given - appropriately entitled “ “The Traveller’s Gift.”
Its summed up the magical way I got to spend my final weekend in the States making Cactus Omelettes with a life coach in the middle of the redwoods.
I always thought the more conscious I became and the more I learn about myself the easier life would get. Hah! not so my friends. If anything there’s so much more to consider, and some days I feel overwhelmed with the unforeseen consequences and potential pitfalls of making decisions. And none of this is particularly aided by living the life of a long term solo traveller where you are required to make a seemingly never ending number of decisions all day every day.
Should I take the chicken bus with the 18 year old backpackers or the overnight train with the random chain-smoking moustachioed man?
Should i risk eating the tripe being fried on a communal grill pan at the local street market or trust the man who tells me that the “special” in the “special” pizza just means extra flavour? ad infinitum…
My plan had been to spend the last two weeks of my month long sojourn in the USA just working and living in LA. By day 5 of LA i’m bored. My glands and tonsils are swollen, my throat feels like a scratching post and my asthma is terrible.
I’ve also remembered that the whole idea of me working becomes absolutely ridiculous anytime you put me anywhere near a beach. I’m English for goodness sake, its our default mechanism to strip off in the midday sun and lie prostrate cooking under it anywhere near water and sand.
I’ve seen a conference happening back in San Francisco and because I don’t want to be indecisive I confirm my attendance and book a return flight form LAX to SF for the final few days of my trip.
And then I regret it. Really all I want is to find a way to be amongst nature not sitting in a Holiday Inn in downtown San Francisco but then the shoulds begin:
You’re not on holiday anymore - you’re travelling, you should do something productive, you should network and make the most of the opportunity to meet people, you should do something useful…
I’m still not always very good at deciphering the little voice that knows best - or even sure when its the right one i’m listening to. How do I know the voice telling me to sack the conference and go into nature isn’t just fear, procrastination or laziness in disguise? The same voice that throws delayed gratification out the window and prompts me to go for bagels rather than broccoli?
The honest answer is, i’m not sure yet. But what I can do is make a decision. And then see how it feels and adjust my course if necessary. Make a decision and THEN make it right.
I decide to miss the conference if I can find accommodation easily that fits the bill.
Immediately on scouring Airbnb up pops a a little redwood cabin entitled Scenic Retreat just outside Felton in the Santa Cruz mountains. It looks perfect and it seems i can get there on public transport - the owner has even said he’ll pick me up from the bus station.