Travel To Grow

Understanding The World Through Travel

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Dec '09

The Inspired Life – Day 1

Today I woke up at 7:30 to the song Rambling Man by Lemon Jelly, it was awesome.

Last night we had met up at the bar with our friend Mr. Jeng who brought with him this crazy 35% alcohol drink which we all shared. Each one of us had a bit too much of it and upon waking I had no memory of going to bed last night. I was still wearing my jeans and still felt slightly drunk.  I did however remember the inspired life challenge was on, and despite waking up at 7:30 am (the earliest I had woken up in weeks) I still felt pretty awesome and inspired, laughing over my clouded memories of the night before.

The reason I woke up so early today is because my family was having a pre-Christmas dinner back home and all my favorite aunts, uncles, cousins and grandparents were together. I jumped on Skype and had awesome video conversations with all of them. I talk to my parents often but it was really nice to see all my favorite aunts and uncles and cousins again.  They passed me around the house to all my relatives and I got updates on everyone’s lives. We talked until about 9:30 and the whole thing had me pretty pumped but after that the fact that I only had a few hours of sleep started to weigh on me so I decided the best way to ensure I had energy for the rest of the day to be inspired was to go back to bed for a nap.

When I woke up again at around 12:30 I felt like death. Any buzz I had from the night before had completely warn off, my head hurt and I felt more tired than before the nap. My motivation for anything was at complete 0. I tried to snap myself out of it because of the challenge but it wasn’t working. The thought of moving Day 1 of the challenge to the next day seemed really good to me, but I knew that would be cheating. In pain and misery I decided the first necessary step was to try to cure the hangover. My favorite hangover cure is a banana, some ice-cream and lots of water. There isn’t very good ice-cream around but I had a meal of bananas and dumplings and bought a bit 1.5 L of water. I still felt horrible after eating and figured that I was in fact going to postpone the challenge, but I decided to give it one more shot and decided to take a walk in a random direction.

Eventually on my walk I stumbled onto a nice area with some decent nature and a small pond I had found before. Being surrounded by trees, away from the busy traffic of china was really refreshing and it really helped me feel better about the day. As I was walking along the path I saw a cute Chinese girl sitting alone on the grass next to a tree. At first I passed her by with a smile and a “Ni Hao” but after walking for a minute more I remembered my promise for the challenge of talking to every stranger I met. I decided a simple hello didn’t count so I went back and asked her in Chinese if I could sit and hang out with her.

She didn’t speak any English but she turned out to be incredible friendly. I used all the Chinese I knew to talk about a few things with her like how beautiful the area was, why she wasn’t working today, where we both come from and stuff like that. After that we just kind of hung out and enjoyed the area together, I introduced her to some of the best feel good music I had on my ipod, and we grooved to it while watching the nature. It was really cool to just groove to some beautiful music with a complete stranger without the need to talk. We found a little water pipe sticking out of the ground and when trying to see if it worked ended up splashing ourselves and each other with water which brought a lot of laughs. I also taught her how to thumb wrestle which she proved to be pretty good at! I think we hung out for a little over an hour, it was a lot of fun and we shared some good laughs and smiles. It was really cool to make a nice connection with a complete stranger even with the bare minimum of language. It reminded me of a scene in Waking Life where the character talks about how often we just pass each other by like ants, saying only the expected ‘social niceties’ we’re accustomed to with no real human connection. It was inspiring to know I could have just passed her by like an ant but instead ended up having a great time connecting with her.

After hanging out with her I felt as if my day had completely turned around. My hangover had mostly gone and I was feeling pumped and inspired. Even on the way back from my lake I had a guy on a motorbike yell hello with a big smile at me, I had a good chat with one of the locals and I met a awesome lady with a really cool dog in the elevator. On the way to the lake not a single friendly thing happened. People were responding better to my better mood. If I had of just gone home before the lake however, or not followed my rule of talking to strangers I think I would have remained feeling like crap for a while longer, and the rest of my day would have been unfriendly. It showed me how our mental state really is ours to create and how our mental state creates our experience.

What I learned from almost giving up but then not was: When we break it down our actions are motivated by trying to avoid pain or trying to seek pleasure. Giving up on something or putting it off is easy and can even feel good at the time, but sticking to something and accomplishing it is hard at first but feels much much better after.

The rest of the night went really well. Our friends Marty and Li invited Matt and I to KTV a huge karaoke club inside an even bigger dance club. We were greeted warmly and played a bunch of fun games and ate snacks with a group of Chinese girls that were friends of Li. After a little under an hour things were slowing down a little and feeling a little uninspired so Matt and I decided to go up for an adventure to the third floor. After arriving on the third floor I just walked up to a big friendly looking table of Chinese people and introduced myself. They were really awesome and invited us to sit and drink with them. We played more dice games, had some laughs and they even insisted we down some of their hard alcohol. Next I noticed some cute girls dancing on the bar so without hesitation I walked over and held up my hand for them to pull me up. The girls thought it was great and I had a total blast being the center of attention with them rocking some dance moves. After a couple hours up here we decided to go meet our friend Jay at another club called TOTT. We went back to the karaoke room to say goodbye to Marty and Li. On our way our Marty gave us 250RMB to go buy some drinks. We were blown away by this and tried to give him the money back but he firmly insisted we had an awesome time. Marty’s generosity knows no bounds! I love how he always wants the people around him to be happy.

Next we went to TOTT and were invited by some random Chinese guy into the back room to join his party. There were a few people with him and excessive amounts of alcohol. Eventually TOTT was getting ready to close so we decided to head out. Being totally pumped by the amazing night we decided to use Marty’s generously donated money to hit up the local massage place to unwind after a crazy night.

Overall the first day of the challenge was excellent. After the shift in my thinking after the rough morning everything seemed to work out awesomely. I really hope the next 9 days of the challenge turn out as good as this one!

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