I’ve been on a continuous trip for nearly a year and a half, wouldn’t now be the time to burn out?
My stomach whirls and I feel light-headed. I’ve locked my bicycle outside Dingo Deli and as I wait for my bagel and coffee I try to get clear about what’s wrong. I’m sure it’s not about my bike being stolen, though it’s still a few kilometers to the beach and I don’t fancy walking.
Saddle sore after only half an hour of cycling, I spotted Dingo Deli and pulled in for a rest. From the name of the place you might think I’m in Australia, but this is Hoi An, Vietnam.
My order still hasn’t arrived. Then, as I look around at the other tourists chatting and enjoying their coffees, safe in this bubble of western comfort, a clue to my anxiety appears. I have no idea where I’m going after Hoi An. No onward travel plans at all.
After a few days here, I had originally intended to travel south to Dalat but it turns out there aren’t any trains, only crazily expensive flights or dreaded sleeper buses. I still haven’t recovered from my ordeals on long distance buses in Vietnam last year.
There’s more to my uneasiness, a general lack of enthusiasm that began to surface in Da Nang a few days ago. It’s not just that I don’t know where I’m going next, I don’t think I can face making the decision. This feeling of weariness fits with the symptoms I’ve read about in other travelers’ blog posts on the topic of travel burn out, along with physical exhaustion and growing preference for avoiding other people. I’ve been on a continuous trip for nearly a year and a half, wouldn’t now be the time to burn out? The butterflies begin swirling more ferociously.
And then, as I gaze at the dust blown road outside, something happens.
I let go.
Something in me laughs.
Suddenly I go back to last spring in Budapest, when I first heard Eckhart Tolle describe his awakening.
I realize I have been resisting.
Resisting the state of not knowing.
As soon as I observe that, I experience a feeling of detachment and immediate relief.
Sweet surrender. The practice of letting go isn’t new to me. It has helped me already on this trip, like back in Hanoi a couple of weeks ago when I felt that Vietnam might be beating me again (more on that later). But I keep forgetting, until worry or over thinking inevitably push me to what I now know are my “enough is enough moments”.
Those moments are where my real inner expansion is happening and for that I am thankful to Vietnam. Being here and struggling with the heat, the tourist circus and the scams has proven to me that everything is temporary. I’m beginning to see that the periods of uncertainly, fear and exhaustion always pass, if I don’t try to resist or fix them and instead begin appreciating where I am right now.
And where I am is truly amazing – an air-conditioned, comfortable coffee shop, in an ancient and stunningly beautiful city in the middle of Vietnam. Wow, I’m actually in Vietnam!
I glance through the window at my bicycle. A beach awaits.
If you understand, insecurity is an intrinsic part of life – and good that it is so, because it makes life a freedom, it makes life a continuous surprise. One never knows what is going to happen. It keeps you continuously in wonder. Don’t call it insecurity – call it wonder. Don’t call it insecurity – call it freedom. – OSHO