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, head spins. I’ve locked my bicycle outside Dingo Deli and try, as I wait for my bagel and coffee, to get clear about what’s wrong. I’m sure it’s not worry about my bike being stolen, though it’s 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’d think I’m in Australia, but this is Hoi An, Vietnam.
No sign of my order. The other tourists chat and enjoy their coffees, safe in this bubble of western comfort. Then a clue to my anxiety surfaces; I have no idea where I’m going. No onward travel plans from Hoi An.
I had intended, after a few days here, to go south to Dalat, but turns out there aren’t any trains, only wildly overpriced flights, or dreaded sleeper buses. I haven’t recovered from my long distance bus ordeals in Vietnam last year.
But there’s more to my uneasiness, a general lack of enthusiasm that began in Da Nang a few days ago. It’s not just that I don’t know where I’m going next, I can’t face making the decision. This weariness fits with the symptoms I’ve read about in other travelers’ blog posts about travel burn out, like physical exhaustion and growing preference for avoiding 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 swirl more ferociously.
Then, as I gaze at the dust blowing in the road outside, something happens.
I let go.
A voice inside laughs.
I’m thrown back to last spring in Budapest, listening to Eckhart Tolle describe his awakening.
I realize I’ve 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