I got my nail cut off yesterday. It's been hurting for as long as I can remember, and finally I went to the doctor and got it fixed. Before cutting into me though, they had to sedate my entire toe. It felt extremely weird to not be able to feel my toe. It's as if some dead body part happened to be dangling on to my foot. I had to resist the urge to pinch it or smash it just to see if I would feel anything.
You may wonder how this is related to adventure. The answer is: not at all. But because I wanted to blog about my toe experience I remembered an incident almost 2 years ago, back in Japan, when I was very suddenly reminded of my own mortality. It was in the evening, in pitch black darkness. I was cycling at speed on the main road south from Atsugi towards the ocean, Eurobeat music blaring in my ears, getting pumped up for a good exercise run. There's a crossing that's very difficult to get on to if you're a cyclist driving on the road, so I always take the footpath on there, cycle a bit further, and then jump onto the road at full speed when there's no traffic around. The area between footpath and car road is obfuscated by trees and it was hard for me to see in the dark, but that's no excuse for missing the giant truck that nearly hit me when I switched from footpath to road. He swerved and honked at me loudly, then just went on driving. It took me a second to realize that I would have been very dead if had I switched lanes a fraction of a second later.
At the time I didn't place a lot of value on that moment. In fact, I think I just cycled on towards the sea, not knowing what else I should do. I couldn't imagine myself cowering in fear of getting hit again and turning back, so I just kept going. And that was it. I didn't think I'd ever remember this moment again, but it comes back to me a lot. Whenever I think about my mortality, I remember that moment. Quite possibly the closest I've ever come to death. I like remembering this moment, because when I do, I am reminded that I'm still alive.
But I'm still not talking about adventure. Well, here's the link. I remember blogging about the aforementioned incident, so I looked for 'cycling truck', but couldn't find it. What I did find though, was some of the best things I'd written during my cycling trip to Kyushu last year. And I was amazed. Reading back the things I wrote I can hardly imagine that I was the same person I am now. I've changed, and not for the better. And who can I blame for that?
I blame Europe. I blame Western culture. I blame capitalism. I blame banks. I blame Holland. I blame the UK. I blame my family for being Dutch. I blame my friends for having jobs. I blame myself for willingly submitting to the endless dread that is hunting for jobs, and I blame myself even more for accepting a horrible horrible job in London with no prospects of ever seeing the sun again.
Alright, most of what I wrote above is bullshit, but it does feel good to get it off my chest. Ignore the above paragraph. What I was trying to say is that I blame Home. Home is the cause of all my negative experiences. Home is the reason I am slumping. Home is what is killing me. Life in Japan was an adventure exactly because it was never supposed to be permanent. It was home, but it wasn't Home. It was something long-term, yet temporary. It wouldn't have lasting consequences in life that could not be undone. (This is my fear of commitment speaking). When I'm in Holland, living with my parents, I feel at Home. So much so in fact, that I become a different person. A worse person. I slump. I become too comfortable. I just don't bother any more. When I went to London last year to find a job, I went there with the mindset of finding a future Home, and I dreaded the thought of continuing my life as that person, lifeless and comfortable. That's what killed me.
I know this is a mental thing. It's just a matter of shifting your mindset from the concept of Home to the concept of 'a temporary place to stay while living the grand adventure that is life'. It shouldn't make a difference to the present whether I know where I'll be 6 months from now or not. But it does. It's all in the mind.
As closing thoughts, I've probably offended a lot of people by telling them their country sucks or their life sucks. I've advised a lot of friends who were unhappy with their jobs to quit immediately and start doing the things they like. I stand by most of what I said, but I do want to offer this as an explanation: it's not that I have a problem with specific countries, jobs, people or personalities, but I have an innate dislike of the concept of Home, so I will do anything I can to disrupt it. I'm not going to justify any of this. I'm not going to say that the world will be a better place if people care less about Home. All I'm saying is that it works for me, and I have no desire to change that part of myself. In fact, it's the part of myself that I am most proud of.
And on that note, I'm off to London. Starting a new Adventure.