There’s a lot of ways I expect the Joel on the other side of this journey to turn out. First of all, he’s an expert surfer. That’s easy and obvious. Secondly his previous shortcomings in the world of filmmaking and photography have all been realized and conclusively resolved. He suffers no more creative dilemmas, but instead makes swift directorial decisions that everyone else wishes they themselves had thought of. And finally, he’s decided to take up guitar playing with the same affinity he had as a teenager, thus resulting in not one but several new ballads that will deftly show the prodigious power he had all along, but had forgotten himself. He fears nothing. He loves everything. And he has a killer tan.
It’s beginning to become very clear, four months into this project, the only of these scenarios that will play out perfectly is going to be the tan. And I can’t lie, the tan is a welcome addition to my repertoire, but of all these shallow desires, it happens to be the shallowest, and the least of my worries. The guitar that I brought along at the onset of the journey had to be cast aside two weeks in for van space. And the surfboard… it broke! As far as filmmaking goes, it’s largely the same process it’s always been, fit with all the doubts and second guessings it’s always had.
And that’s okay.
What’s changed is the aforementioned sentiment about expecting so much just through the act of travel. It’s so easy to walk out your front door on the day of departure and imagine that you will cast away all that is wrong with you. Everything that is unsatisfactory and lame. New experiences can also bring about new beginnings, and while that is absolutely 100 percent true, what’s wrong is to expect that those experiences will, with no extra effort, fix you. Heal you. Make you whole again. Those kinds of changes never come from the outside, even though that would be quite convenient. They have to come from within.
The good news is that travel will enrich your within-ness. It will make you more knowledgeable about different places and different people. You will see things that you never imagined before, and your perspective will be unquestionably be changed. Sometimes it’s hard to see the purchasing of a plane ticket (or in our case gas tank fill-ups) as an investment, but it very much is, because it is an investment in yourself. And what better thing to invest in than yourself?
So, I’m pretty sure the point that I am trying to make is: Travel! Do it because you will grow. That growth probably won’t manifest itself in the immediate relief of all of life’s problems, but it might just help you realize which ones are actually vital, which ones you need to feel satisfied, and which ones can be cast aside. But don’t specify those changes before they happen, let them show themselves. Let them permeate slowly throughout your being. Let them bake to a nice golden brown, just like a tan.