One day, true story, I paced my apartment. I rarely walk a circuitous route, instead it’s a very jagged one. That way, I include more “dramatic turns.” Sometimes I’m talking to myself and sometimes I’m trying to convince myself to do something productive. I lie to myself and believe pacing helps me through my problems but, alas, I doubt it. It’s a rather waste of time.
Anyway, I’m there pacing and every so often, adding a dramatic turn. It’s currently late May, 2015. Danielle and I have several things going on right now: planning a wedding and everything that entails, as well as prepping, preparing, and otherwise getting ready for extended traveling.
So, devoid of a better option, I pace.
During my thirty seventh dramatic turn or so, a knock on the door brought me out of my absurd imaginings. It was in the middle of the day, so either it was the apartment below us going crazy from my stomping, or—more likely—a package. When I opened the door, I discovered an envelope where our door mat should be (we’ve been meaning to get one). It probably just couldn’t fit in our mailbox, I thought, offering an excuse at the time. Stooping, I grabbed it and kicked the door closed as I walked back inside.
The off-white envelop itself seemed normal enough. I was the recipient of the mail, and the sender’s address was so smeared I couldn’t make any of it out. Shrugging, I tore open the letter.
Has your jaw drop so hard your head dipped from the weight of it? I gotta say, it was one of those moments. Here I am with a jaw scraping the ground, holding a slim packet of papers, most of which are typed, except the front page which was hand written. In MY handwriting. But I DIDN’T write it. All I could say at the time was “hmm.” Yep, whole lot of “hmm.” This is what it said:
I know it’s weird, but you always secretly hoped this sort of thing was going to happen anyway, so…here it is: Yes, I’m you. Yes, you haven’t written this…yet. Yes, I can prove it: when you were twelve, you and… [redacted to protect all involved]…and you never told a soul. So, come to grips with the fact that the future you, is sending you, a letter! BTW, it doesn’t surprise me that you’re still skeptical. You’ll get over that in time. But, as you know, we hate hand writing so the rest of what I will impart will be typed up. I obviously thought if you saw this note scrawled in your own chicken-scratch would help you believe.
Now that you’re still interested in learning more, I unfortunately, can only tell you I’m from the future. I can’t tell you the year, the month, or the day. That’s the deal: no dates. In the words of a hero, “get used to disappointment.” You see, the time that I’m in right now, certain things make other things interesting. Not too terribly different from your time, but some channels follow a certain procedure. I had to pull a few strings to make this happen. I’m contacting you, to convince you how important it is that you and Danielle travel.
No, we’re not the Doctor, and I’m not implying you’re going to save the world. But it is important, to you and others that you do go. You’ve been facing a multitude of choices right now, and I’m hoping to convince you of a major one: travel with your wife (spoiler alert: you both take the plunge).
The typed pages I have included are some of our adventures. I have removed most of the identifying locations and all of the dates, but some of these will come true for the both of you! I’m only sending you a couple of stories for now. More to come later.
If I have my timeline right, you’ve been pacing around the apartment so much you’re creating crop circles in your Berber carpet. Imagining what life will be like on the road. No nine to five. No schedule that isn’t of your own making. You both get so many choices. And choices are grand. But you’re unpracticed, padawan. Let me formally welcome you to the world of decision overload.
If hindsight serves, you’re definitely looking for an adventure, but scared of other things. You will have adventures, and yes, definitely deep into the plural of the word. You want to change, and you’re excited for how these adventures will change you.
But, almost embarrassingly I might add, you’re scared of the social pressures. You’re handed a realm of Freedom of Choice, and all you fear dwindles down to horrific tales told by B rated movies, politicians, paranoia, and the American media.
[The sheet of paper was double sided. The rest is on the back]
You’re further terrified because you’ve never done this before. A daytrip to Canada doesn’t really count, right?—Anyone with a promise ring clucks, “ch-yeah, heard that before”—but is that point really valid? Ask yourself this: if you’re blind to the world around you, will you suddenly see if you change locations?
C’mon, think! Do you really expect traveling to be all sunshine and roses? Do you think the life you’ve had essentially of mediocre interest in traveling will suddenly become valid?
Look, Jake, you’ve changed over the years. Slowly, bud steadily. Everyone does. Can you honestly say you’re the same person as you were 20 years ago?
You’ve spent a long time collecting movies. Why did you collect those movies? You know, Adventures. That genre is by far categorizes the most of the movies you’ve collected. You read epic fantasy novels and you dream. You imagine and live a life of reaching.
So now change is upon you and seems to happen whether you will it or not.
The rest of the world is precisely the same and altogether different from where you live now. People are innovative. People struggle. Places are gorgeous. Places are appalling. There are those who are nice, mean, happy, sad, addicted, devoted, strained, calm, angry, focused, wise, and stupid. Varying levels of humane caliber can be found in the most unique of locales.
Do you want to write? Find out if you do. Do you want to hike in remote locations? Do you want to meet people or places? Or do you want to tick off countries like they’re notches in your belt? Your choice.
But just because there are similarities, doesn’t mean there’s magic there and not here. You’ve always hoped and dreamed of it, but didn’t dare believe in it. Well, I’m here to tell you it’s possible. Maybe not in the ways you’re currently hoping. But you should hope. Hope a lot. Hope until your bones creak about it in the mornings and sigh about it when lying down at night. Hope until the word itself tastes reverently and you savor every gulp.
This travel thing is essentially you being in over your head. For once, effing enjoy it.
Seriously, enjoy the storm of life. Because hell, if you’re not singing in the rain, then there’s no chance of you harmonizing with the voices carried by the wind. And they’re fascinatingly beautiful.
So…apparently in the future I think I’m so important to communicate with across time. I grow up to be a pretentious bastard. If this is real. You probably can’t tell, but I’m chewing on my thumb nail right now. It’s something I do when I’m pondering hard core. Hmm.
I’ll go through the most recent stories and upload one or two once I read them through a few more times. It’s sort of weird to read snippets of your life.
Guess I’ll go back to pacing. Maybe that’ll help.