“Place nothing above the verdict of your own mind.”
– Ayn Rand,
So its about to happen again. That thing where I get on a plane and don’t come home for 5 months or so. On to London. Cross the other ocean this time. This is the opening page of the next chapter, I hope your next chapter is everything I expect mine to be. It’s a much different feeling this time around, I’m much more relaxed about the whole process, but in some ways that’s worrying. Maybe I’m not as prepared this time around, or maybe I’m more prepared. No idea really. The one unfortunate consequence of doing it again is that a long building anticipation really isn’t there. I’ll see others posting in the Facebook group for the program with all sorts of questions that are ripe with tones of nervousness, anticipation, and that giddy sort of feeling of what in the hell am I getting myself into? There are questions and blog posts and an air of ‘I am exceptional for taking this journey’, not in a haughty or chest puffing way, in a genuinely naïve and utterly optimistic way. Many of these posts focus on what to pack, how to do something, where the author is, what they have done, ‘first I did this, then I went there, and I ate this and saw that and then…’. I can’t help but get frustrated upon reading these posts. They miss so much of what this is. Yes, it is good to be prepared and to document. But this is not a journey of things you already know, this is not about what is in your bag or which website has the best power adapters or which cell phone plan to use. This is not about the list of things you saw and did. It is about what you are, what you will become, what you will change, what you will understand. And many of those I see headed abroad are doing so with friends already known. Some journeys are best embarked upon alone. This is not a journey upon which you bring what you already know. This is a journey of unknowns.
It is about the ordinary man venturing into the extraordinary world.
This is a concerto conducted by seven billion pairs of hands. You will dance to its chorus and crash to its cymbals. Float on the melody, march with the drums. Breath with the flutter of the harp. You will play many a note on many an instrument, each with meaning, some more, some less. And with each note struck by your hands, you will know that much better the owner of those hands.
The measure by which an ordinary man is deemed extraordinary is the extent of extraordinary he experiences and contributes to this world.
So please, go, play the concerto, know the unknown, be a part of this, this extraordinary world.