Travel Blog 7; Out of the Comfort Zone into the Silence

Its been just over 10 months since I hopped on my Emirates flight from Manny Airport with a bag on my back, Adidas’s on my feet (that ended up getting robbed by some twat in Fiji!), a rimmed hat on my head and Gal Gadot on the brain (because why not?). Truth be told there were other things occupying the slightly above average sized condo’s worth of space in my generally hard-working but still somehow slightly under-achieving mind such as; can I stand the heat? (literally and metaphorically), can I stand the cold? (again), what will I do for money? And, probably most pressing and prominent, where the f*ck is Gate 9!? Damn it I need Gate 9!

I’d like to say that when I finally touched down in Auckland for my, fairly un-welcome but still surprisingly pleasant, 23 hour layover that all of the above (and oh so many more) questions in my mind took the time to simmer down and leave me in peace. No such luck I’m afraid. In fact, if anything, landing in a new place and not knowing my head from my arse served to only further convolute the convoluted and it wasn’t until I met my friendly companions for the evening that things finally calmed down…a little. Needless to say they kicked right back into gear the next morning when I awoke, having slept through my alarm, with a stinking hangover and only 45 minutes to get packed, down the stairs and to my bus destined for the same airport I touched down in less than a day before. Also factor in that I had not the foggiest on where said bus was meant to be picking me up from and the fact that I’d already, at this early stage, had to taste my first genuinely hard goodbyes to some incredibly sound folks and an incredibly attractive lass that I think I was making head ways with and I was back in a state.

Again, I’d like to say that as soon as I entered Fiji’s beautiful atmosphere; breathed the sea-air, soaked up the sun and had my first bottle of Fiji Gold that suddenly everything felt right with the world but if I did I’d be a liar and my mother raised me better than that. The process would reset itself as soon as I doubled back on myself and headed back to New Zealand and I can feel it warming itself up again for the end of October when I take my flight to Thailand (good-God I am excited for that though!) and will do the same for Malaysia, Cambodia, Vietnam, Laos, Australia etc and may even rear its fairly ugly but somehow necessary head when I head back to the other hemisphere!

Whilst, as already mentioned, I don’t want to disillusion any future travellers into thinking that this feeling is something that just goes away with time and that ‘before you know it, you won’t even get nervous about packing up your life into a bag and venturing into a country you’ve never set foot in before’ I do want to reassure you that once you’ve been in said country for a short time and found your basic bearings it does seem to wear off. Once it does for me I find I start to focus my mind on more fun stuff and a lot of fun has been had. As mentioned in a previous post I’ve done a lot of cool s*it since mid-November and have more on the brain for the future but as well as fun things I also intended to do some activities that would take me out of my comfort zone.

Now don’t get me wrong, just booking the ticket and getting on the sodding plane in the first place felt like a pretty big step into the danger zone and it was. I’ve also done a number of other things that fit the bill; walking up to total strangers and practically praying to myself that they would let me be their friend, bartering at markets in Fiji, hitch-hiking to an island (check out my first travel post, it was a mad one!), jumping from 130+ feet, snowboarding, having coitus in a bunk bed, doing stand-up comedy, briefly reviving my (very) dead rap career on a few occasions, scuba diving and openly admitting that I did and still do enjoy a number of Blazin’ Squads works.

Stepping out of the zone is hard and strenuous but its rewarding and worth doing every now and then and I think its one of the most worthwhile parts of this whole travelling shtick. This is why and, believe me the decision was made after A LOT of deliberating, I have decided to enrol onto a 10 day Vipassana meditation course at the end of September.

Vipassana is a phrase that I’m not even sure if I’m pronouncing correctly when I say it and my knowledge is limited to what’s on the three W’s and what others have told me. However two of my friends who completed the course successfully tell me that they got a lot out of it and whole-heartedly recommend it. Why is this such a step out of my comfort zone you might ask? Well firstly the course requires me to go veggie for the full 10 days (actually quite tough) and refrain from killing or causing harm to any living thing (they may as well have told me I can’t eat at all for heavens sake!). No writing, no phones or laptops, no reading material, no alcohol or drugs, no sex; fully gender-segregated dorms and, trying to write this in the most discrete and conservative way possible is harder than I thought it would be, so I’ll just say that during these 10 days I won’t be going through as much tissue paper as I usually would. You think that sounds tough, well get this; during my 10 day stay I will also be required to take a vow of silence. Anybody who knows me will understand that this is an unspeakably tough undertaking. For anyone who doesn’t; if you think these posts are overly wordy you should pray to God you never meet me.

Hopefully by the time I step out of the place I’ll be like one of those Buddhist Monks, minus the orange robes and penchant for making money off the suffering of Elephants (yeah, I went there and before you start I know that only actually applies to a small minority and most of them are great and dedicated people). Or alternatively I’ll end up having a psychotic episode. Either way I’m coming out of there with a story to tell.

In all seriousness though; I do feel like this is an opportunity that I could benefit from and I plan to grab it with both hands. There are a number of aspects of my personality that I’ve been working on trying to change for some time now and if the teachings of this course are as advertised then I believe that what I learn could help me a lot. If this means I have to stay away from tech, stay sober, shut my big mouth and stop thinking those dark thoughts about the dark girl meditating across the hall from me then so be it. I know it will be tough and might actually take me further out of my comfort zone than I’ve ever been but I’m going to play by the rules, show respect and give it my best shot because that’s what its all about.

I’m Tha Bozz & that’s my opinion.

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