A world citizen may provide value to society by using knowledge acquired across cultural contexts.
Written 25 November
What the hell did I just do?
I bought a motorcycle in Vietnam.
So I could go on a road trip with a person I don’t really know around a country with some of the most psychotic roads I’ve ever seen. So I could experience the country at my own pace. So I could get away from the package tours and the sleeper buses. So I could stop when I wanted in places that looked like I wanted to stop.
So what is good about this plan?
I can stop wherever because I have freedom. I can take pictures of things. I can relax about planning how to get from A to B. I can go where I want, when I want.
I will be challenging myself. This isn’t a fun thing. It is a good thing. I will learn how to ride a motorcycle. I will come out of this stronger. I will know I can do this, or know that I don’t want to plan another motorcycle trip. Either way, I will learn.
I will see the countryside better.
So what sucks about this plan?
I’m always on. With the sleeper bus, as much as they are annoying, they are someone else doing the driving. I can sleep. I can read. I could maybe write if the bus isn’t too bumpy. And I could generally be rested and ready to go when we get places. I would see more of the places the buses go, though less of the places in between.
I don’t know how to drive a motorcycle. This is going to age me. I am going to be a ball of stress. I will have to deal with owning a motorcycle. I will have to deal with parking it. And trying to make sure it doesn’t get stolen. Ugh, I’m going to have property.
And weirdly enough, that shouldn’t bother me. Yes, I just dropped $300 on a bike. And if it gets stolen, that will suck. A lot. But at the same time, I need to consider that the cost of the bike is gone. If I ride to Dalat and hate my life and want to call it quits, I can. If I can sell the bike there, great. If I can’t then I just leave it. If life is miserable, I can always just walk away. Yes, it is $300, but it may not be worth the misery.
I’ll be traveling with someone. They are a travel companion. They are not a close friend. They are not psychotic. They are not a bad person. We will not always get along. But they are a travel partner, and we can travel together. If we decide to part ways, we can. If we decide not to, we can manage that too.
So where does that leave me?
I have a deposit down on a bike. Tomorrow morning, I will have a bike. I need to shell out the rest of the money, get on it, strap down, get out of Ho Chi Minh City, and see how I survive. I may realize I love it. I may learn a lot from it. Or I may hate it and decide it was a terrible plan and scrap it.
And I have that freedom. I can always walk away. And I can do it at any time. Ideally in a city, but really anywhere I could then catch a bus.
I’m jumping off a cliff here. I’ve been standing on the precipice for so long thinking I had done it already with the deposit, but I kept thinking of canceling the sale and so I could still decide it wasn’t a good idea. I need to jump off and let the ride take me, wings or gravity.