I’ve now officially departed on my journey to Bali. I’m writing this from the plane on route to Vancouver from Denver. I’ve now left behind my banking job in Toronto, let go of my downtown apartment along with the majority of my material possessions, said goodbye to friends, and then said goodbye to family in Windsor.
The support I’ve received along the way has been overwhelming in the best way possible. From my parents, sister, friends, colleagues, aunts and uncles, cousins, neighbours, and so many others. When I floated the idea of long-term solo travel on the other side of the world, some didn’t fully get my desire. But as time has passed and I’ve explained the process more thoroughly, I’ve noticed a shift where more and more people have been willing to really support me along the way. This support is something I’m truly grateful for, and I will do my best to reciprocate the goodwill along the journey.
My itinerary today was meant to be from Detroit to Denver to San Francisco to Vancouver. Needless to say, this was meant to be a long day of travel. I was ready for it though since it’s been non-stop planning for the past month leading up to the departure. Some quiet time in transit was to be much welcomed. Though while in Denver, with minutes before my gate closing to San Francisco, I noticed that United Airlines had a direct flight to Vancouver instead. This would mean skipping the second leg of my flight and getting to Vancouver at a reasonable hour.
I approached the desk and asked if the flight was full and if not, if there was any possible way to switch my tickets around. The woman explained that it might not be possible due to flight pricing, but she would do her best. Within minutes she had printed me a new ticket and smiled, telling me that I could rest easier tonight with one less flight. Just like that, she saved me about 4 hours of travel and got me to Vancouver far earlier than I was meant to arrive.
I feel like in the past I might have avoided asking the request altogether. I might have just assumed that the flight would be booked, or that they wouldn’t do me any favours. I’m really trying my best to recalibrate this way of thinking (which ties in nicely with my thoughts on trying to think more positively).
Musician Amanda Palmer wrote a book called The Art of Asking which explains her background as a street performer and then musician. She talks about how she learned to trust in the goodness of humanity by asking people for favours, especially things that wouldn’t put others out too much. She writes extensively about the abundant good fortune that came her way when she began to ask others for help. Maybe it was a couch to crash on, a costume to borrow, props to use that might have been discarded anyway, or a request to connect her with someone who could help further. She largely credits her success today to those who’ve helped her along the way. And the message of her book is that none of it would have been possible if she continued to feel guilty or shameful about asking for help.
Even though I consider myself an independent person capable of getting by on my own, independence is not a replacement for asking for help. The whole mentality of ‘I can do it myself’ gets old real quickly, and ultimately leads to stubbornness and distrust of others. Humanity thrives on unity and teamwork (a rudimentary observation, no doubt), yet sometimes it becomes so easy to forget this.
So the journey onward to Bali continues. I’ll continue to ask for favours along the way. I’m bound to get a few rejections here or there, but if I reframe how I look at rejection, then it just becomes an opportunity to learn from. Either way, I'm feeling grateful on many levels today.
What big or small request have you asked for in life that led to something greater?