Nothing will ever again be black-and-white

“Adventure is a path. Real adventure – self-determined, self-motivated, often risky – forces you to have firsthand encounters with the world. The world the way it is, not the way you imagine it. Your body will collide with the earth and you will bear witness. In this way you will be compelled to grapple with the limitless kindness and bottomless cruelty of humankind – and perhaps realize that you yourself are capable of both. This will change you. Nothing will ever again be black-and-white.” – Mark Jenkins

Lets talk about travel. If you think travel is impossible for you or just not worth it: you’re in the right place.

Side Note: The weekend’s gloomy Press-o-sphere prompted a Crohnie Intervention.  I’ve decided to make this a series because there is always something that can knock your positive attitude down. We are going to fight back!! With our Monday Morning Crohnie Intervention Series! Don’t miss MMCIS Part 2 next week! (Haven’t settled on the name yet.)

Today’s quote probably won’t sell you on the idea of traveling. Mr. Jenkins tells you its hard, risky, cruel and you’ll come out of it jaded. But you know what? It should. It should completely you sell you on travelling!! Let me translate…

Its Hard: Adventure won’t just happen to you. You have to want it and will it into being. You have to research, plan and make decisions. And when you think you’re done, a new problem will pop up that you have to solve. You can’t choose adventure for someone else; you have to choose it for yourself!

Its Risky: People with disabilities understand this more than anyone. What if you do all the hard work and planning and you get to your destination just to be stopped by a curb that’s too high. Its a risk you have to take when you venture into the unknown. In fact, everything you encounter will be part of the unknown. You may go to a restaurant weary of what you might eat, only to be joined by the chef who sits with you, cracks jokes, and gives you free dessert and shots. You may have to find and communicate with a taxi driver that doesn’t understand a word you’re saying–and succeed!  Or you may meet a stranger who gives you a 24-hour city tour including a midnight hike to watch the sunrise from a castle you never even knew existed. You may meet the love of your life or get offered a job by the person sitting next to you on the plane–and you accept! (Yes, each of those things happened to me or one of my closest travel buddies). So yes, its risky. You don’t know whats waiting for you. Maybe the airline will lose your luggage, but heck! You get to buy a new outfit in a foreign place on the airline’s dime!

Its Cruel: This is what you call culture shock. As a disabled person, this is the scary part. You don’t know what to expect from the people. I have an invisible disability, so I didn’t have to deal with it much. But when I became sick or just needed a bathroom…bathrooms aren’t always as easy to find as in the States. I’ve had to beg to use a bathroom, wait for an excruciatingly long, pay to use the bathroom, and even pay to get partitioned 10 squares of toilet paper by a sketchy, tatted up, buff guy who stood right outside the women’s bathroom. Its not easy. But you know what? When you get home, those will be the funniest and most unbelievable stories. Yeah…a hungarian gang-banger unrolled my TP for me and listened to me pee…I think its love  😉  They might just end up making the highlights reel. Of course, the best way to survive and find the humor is to have a travel buddy!

You’ll come out of it jaded: What Mark actually said is “Nothing will ever again be black-and-white.” Its true. You will do things you never imagined were possible. And you will accomplish things you never imagined you could. From then on, you will see your life not as a series of things you can and can’t do, but as a series of things you can do or just haven’t figured out how to yet.

In everyday life, you develop a routine and become comfortable. You rarely experience something new, and if you encounter a challenge, you know how to navigate around it or avoid it all together. When you travel, when you face a challenge, there is no choice but to overcome it (unless you are okay with not going back home–also a solid choice). So you must think creatively, try new things, and see possibilities where you didn’t see them before. You will never be the same. 

Happy adventuring!

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