I have a vision. An idea of how things are supposed to go, of how they’re suppose to look. Almost everything is planned, and well thought out. My trips may look effortless, but I’ll be the first to admit they’re not. This trip itself is a culmination of hours on a computer searching for flights and booking hotels rooms, reading books and guides, consulting with my parents, and chatting with the guys to plan the details.
Don’t get me wrong, I love every minute of planning. Honestly, searching Skyscanner for flights is more of a hobby at this point. But you can understand how there’s an immense pressure for everything to work out just the way you hope it does.
However, when you’re traveling, you realize it’s never going to be perfect. You’re going to be sweaty, and you’ll be covered in bug bites, and you might get ripped off, and you might book a hotel that’s a little too far.
And that’s okay.
It took me a hot, sweaty field of rice to realize that.
My mother sent me a photo of herself in the rice terraces of Ubud, Indonesia, in 1986 when she was 23 years old.
She was here exactly 30 years ago, and it was such a perfect opportunity that I wanted the perfect photo. So, for half an hour, I hiked through rice terraces trying to find the exact spot she had taken hers. In retrospect, finding a specific place in a massive rice field 30 years apart is an almost impossible task. Yet, there I was, hot, humid, exhausted, sweating and frustrated, dragging my friend Nick around, trying desperately to find that little patch of field.
We both felt like we were melting, and we were losing patience. At one point, my flip flop got stuck in the mud and broke. I stood there silently trying to keep myself from unraveling. Nick looked at the flip flop, looked at me, and looked back at the flip flop, and didn’t say a word. In mutual agreement, I didn’t speak either.
After about a minute, I gathered myself enough to fix my flip flop and kept going. I found a spot that I thought was beautiful, and Nick took my picture, saying that it didn’t have to be perfect.
Once we got back in the car, the A/C hit and we were human again. Nick and I started to laugh and he told me that when my flip flop broke he knew that there was nothing he could say that would have made anything better, and I laughed, admitting that if he had said one word, I probably would have cried.
I put my photos side my side, and realized that everything was actually perfect. I got to be the in the same place my mom was at my age, and I had a good story behind it- and that all made it wonderful.
So, you see, nothing is ever going to be perfect. And that’s okay, because it’s going to be perfect in its own way.