I'm Going Around the World
I'm highly skeptical of New Age thought. Earlier this week, I attempted to read the bestselling book The Secret, which is a treatise on the "law of attraction" that attests that we attract all the events in our lives through our thoughts. According to this philosophy, positive thoughts generate good in our lives and negative thoughts invite disaster. I was suspicious, but since I'm trying to pay more attention to signs from the universe, I thought I'd give the book a chance despite my misgivings. I'd read about ten pages when I had to put it down. According to the philosophy outlined in the book, the law of attraction suggests that victims of gross injustice, such as those suffering from poisoned water in Flint or housing crises in DC, somehow brought these afflictions into their own lives. That this is untrue is laughably obvious. The Secret and similar "law of attraction" media completely erase structural and institutionalized power dynamics to assert that each of us is individually responsible for our circumstances. In fact, the entire philosophy is dependent on this erasure, because the law of attraction supposedly works in perfect synchronicity with our thoughts, which necessarily removes external influences from the equation. Anyone paying attention to the dynamics of power and oppression at work in the world knows such a law does not reflect reality. I cannot help but wonder about the life experiences of law of attraction advocates, and whether they have ever faced systems of injustice in any meaningful way.
Put simply, I think the law of attraction is bullshit.
That said, I do believe in speaking my intentions in order to manifest them. Being public with my goals motivates me to achieve them; saying them aloud lights a fire under me and creates a sense of accountability to the people in my life. Vocalizing my intentions doesn't create (or "attract") any tangible change, but the practice does put me in the right frame of mind to take action, do work, and make things happen. So, dear reader, now you know.
I am traveling around the world. More specifically, my partner and I are traveling to four continents for seven months starting in November 2017.
We've been together for a very long time, through five cities and four jobs and three moves and two universities and one unbelievably long period of long-distance dating. To be entirely honest, I only recently have begun to shed my disbelief that we're still together. Not because our relationship has been difficult, but because, contrary to everything everyone says about long-distance relationships, it hasn't been difficult. The work we've done to stay together has felt small in comparison to why we do it. And finally, after all this time together, we're doing what we both said we wanted to do in our very first conversation after we met: travel the world.
We plan to travel for at least seven months, longer if we can stretch our money. We chose locations based on a combination of factors: where we have friends, where we speak the language (I speak Spanish and he speaks French), and where we've always wanted to go. Some of my most lusted-after locations aren't on the list (Greece, Turkey) but plenty of them are, too. We're working and saving now, and have been for some time, so that we don't need to work too much while traveling. I hope to freelance here and there. He may land a bit of work with his current employer, since it's an international development firm with in-country projects all over the world. Mostly, we want the time and freedom from regular work to reflect on what we want from work in the future. I've been thinking more and more lately about writing, though Oscar Wilde said that "The best work in literature is always done by those who do not depend on it for their daily bread." We'll see what I discover on the road. The real purpose is to just go. And on that adventurous note, here is our rough itinerary:
Guatemala: November 22 - December 15
Belize: December 16 - 24
Colombia: December 25 - January 15
Peru/Inca Trail to Machu Picchu: January 16 - 30
Vietnam: January 31 - February 14
Laos: February 15 - 20
Bangkok: February 21 - March 8
India: March 9 - 21
Senegal or Rwanda: March 22 - March 30
France: March 31 - May 1
Italy: May 2 - 10
Morocco: May 11 - 20
Madrid/Spain: May 21 - June 17
Sweden: June 18 - 30
Amsterdam: July 1 - 8
And then, home. Wherever we decide "home" will be. I love Washington, DC, but I don't know yet if we'll move back here or not. We're both Californians, but we love big cities and we love it here. A year ago, that uncertainty would have terrified me. Now I embrace it.