"One day I'll pack a bag, travel to the airport, choose a flight and fly off to an unknown city for a weekend. "
So many I know have spoken these words with inertia. Myself included. We saw it in a movie once and the idea stuck with us. A freeing feeling of not having to plan, to worry, to calculate. To head off to an unknown destination and truly escape. Its an experience many of us would like to one day fulfil but never really take seriously.
A movie I saw once explained it by asking an audience
"How much does your life weigh?"
"For a second imagine you’re carrying a backpack. Pack it with all the stuff that you have in your life. You start with the little things. Feel the straps on your shoulders getting heavier and heavier as you add the clothes, the lamps, the TVs, the cars. Now try to walk."
Don't get me wrong, we all love these things, we use these things we "need" these things but what are they holding us back from? Are there opportunities we could finally take, or experiences we could open ourselves up to if our backpacks weren't so heavy?
Its a ironic analogy. Last summer I took a trip to the GR20 mountains in Corsica. I spent weeks researching backpacks. Finally I chose one and began to add all the things I would need to cary with me (or thought I would need). I started with the small things; Band-Aids, extra socks, a compass. By the time I finished adding in everything I "needed", that backpack was almost colossal. The items all seemed small, but their collective weight was unbearable. By the time I began climbing the weight of my bag had me plodding along the trails. The higher I tried to climb the more I began to re-evaluate the importance of all that filled my bag. Extra socks became a luxury, as did my extra flash lights and batteries. My friend Samantha and I quickly began tossing everything we could do without. With each item that I tossed it seemed I could walk farther and climb higher. I came to realize of all the things I had filled my bag with all I truly needed was water, and Band-Aids. The rest were luxurious securities, all keeping me from reaching my full potential.
Life is as grand as you make it. There are endless opportunities for us all. So often we admire people who taken the leap of faith to move to a foreign country, learn a new language, travel abroad. We are all capable of these types of changes. I hate cliches but actions DO speak louder than words.
Many of you will read this and momentarily contemplate why you have never packed that suitcase and then push it to the back of your mind and never be moved to action. All it takes is the realization that adventure is at our fingertips... that and courage...and a little bit of money (haha). It's not an easy thing for us to pick up and leave for the weekend. We all have obligations that hold us back. Even I will most likely not go home and pack my suitcase tonight. But for those of you who are ready to take the leap.... pack your bags and head to the airport. Leaving out of the Ottawa airport this evening ; Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver, Boston, Frankfurt, London... take your pick.
Maybe I'll see you there.