Travel & Selfishness

“Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one’s lifetime.”
-Mark Twain

I haven’t been inspired much these days, but as it draws near for me to jump the country for a few a days I’ve been thinking a lot on what it means to travel.

I accomplished my childhood dream of seeing the sakura bloom here in Japan. The months leading up to that moment I was afraid that once I experienced this dream that literally saved my life over and over again, I would lose the hold on living. I thought, I will accomplish my dream this year, so I guess I should be happy with just that.
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But we humans are greedy little things, so I guess it’s natural that by completing one dream I simply want to chase more.

I’m always thinking of things like, what’s my purpose? Am I even passionate about anything? Why am I even alive when there’s nothing I want to contribute? But I think recently I’ve figured out what I want. Ironically, I just want to be selfish.

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All my life growing up I was called selfish. I was harassed and made to feel that I was a really bad person and that no matter what I did, in the end, I wasn’t going to amount to anything. These past couple of years my feelings are changing.

I decided I couldn’t help what those people thought of me. I had always thought I was trying so hard to be a good child and a good person. And even during my time here in Japan, I’ve thought I had been a good person and kind to the people around me, but still, you here the mean things people say about you when you’re not around.

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But, for those people. Past and present and future. They never knew me at all. When you know and understand someone, you can easily accept their flaws. This year I’ve met so many people from all over the world. A lot of them a younger me would have judged harshly based on their outward behaviour. But once you know someone, once you take the time to REALLY listen, and to absorb and understand, you realise that each and every one of us, we are so similar. Some of us handle this by hating and saying bad things. Some of us handle it by acting strong and unaffected.

I learned that it’s okay to be selfish. Because even though when it comes to myself, it’s true. I’m incredibly selfish. But for others, I like to think I’m always there to support them. I can be selfish in my own life. But it doesn’t mean I’m not selfless when it comes to the people I genuinely care for. Selfish is too broad of a word to have such a negative connotation.

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It’s difficult being at this age where you feel like you’re supposed to have it all figured out. What job will I have? Get married soon. Have kids before it’s too late. Etc. Etc. But that life doesn’t entice me at all. I used to think… I’ll work so hard and get this super important job and make so much money so I can have all the nice things and see the world and everyone will be proud of me and feel bad for all those things they said.

But now, that desire is gone. Honestly… it doesn’t matter. Did I make you proud? Are you jealous of me? Do you wish your life could have been like mine? All of those ambitions I grew up with were formed out of hate for myself and those around me. It’s funny how the answer had always been, let it go. Follow your heart.

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It’s okay to hurt sometimes. So ask why. And imagine some different life. But I don’t want to waste my life on what others think. The adults in my life always told me I needed to be more realistic. But to be frank, I think adults need to learn the chill the fuck out. Even if my house is small, I’m still living on pasta and salad, my only companions are my pets… as long as I can go out into the world and see life, I don’t care.

My family called me unrealistic, but authors and artists call people like me dreamers. And I would much rather have no possessions and travel the world than sit at an office day after day. I hope I’m lucky enough to have both an amazing job and the luxury to travel, but I guess what I’m trying to say is,

I hope the world somehow can see what’s important one day. It’s not hating the people around you for foolish reasons and disagreements. The world can be much too beautiful a place to fill it with such hatred.

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