One thing I've learned from hanging out with Neurobomber is that you never know what something is really like until you get off your ass and try it yourself. Many of you may have seen the comedic film Yes Man with Mr. Carrey, in which a man decides to never say no to life and expands his waking universe tenfold. Well, the movie takes it a bit far but the message "say yes to life" is an excellent one that more of us should practice!
If you decide to go on a trip, you're basically making a statement to yourself that you are trying to get out there and see new things. That being said, how contradictory is it to turn down events, places, and people just because it doesn't sound like something you would normally like? This world can surprise you...but only if you let it!
Let's take Portland for example; the very first out-of-state adventure featuring team NeuroBird.
We were sitting in Cafe Pergolesi, our favorite haunt and excellent source of all things caffeinated. Neurobomber was sipping a mocha pensively and he had that faraway look on his face that usually resulted in me doing something like dancing awkwardly with strangers in an attempt to learn how to waltz, or fording 5 freezing rivers to find a single geocache. "You know what we should do this summer? Go on a roadtrip."
Now at the best of times during my first year of college I wasn't exactly what you'd call "open" to experiences that I wasn't sure I would enjoy. It was beginning to be a bad habit.
"That sounds cool," I said cautiously. "Where?"
"Mmm. Well...Ashland is having their Shakespeare festival this month, and I've always wanted to see Portland."
"Portland...wait, Oregon? As in the Oregon trail videogame Oregon?" Visions of covered wagons and half-rations danced in my head.
"Yeah...I think it'd be super cool. Oregon's awesome."
My brain tried to connect the words "Oregon" and "awesome." It failed.
"I dunno, it sounds kind of...boring."
"Just trust me. It'll be fun!"
From that moment on I fought tooth and nail against everything. Did I want to see Much Ado About Nothing on the renowned Globe-like stage in Ashland? Not really. Did I want to spend 3 days in Portland, a city I knew nothing about? No. Was I OK with sleeping in Wal-Mart parking lots? Definitely not.
Looking back, I can't believe how negative I was. The Ashland stage was beautiful, and Portland is one of my favorite cities now. It was amazing. We met friendly people wherever we went, we never had a shortage of fun things to do. Even going in a tiny little bookstore had infinite rewards--a book called Fugitives and Refugees written by Chuck freaking Palahniuk about Portland's local secrets! A hardware store, a stone house, a nerdy cafe, and a science museum all made our list and each place was insanely fun.
I've since had doubts revoked about such other things as Couchsurfing, board game nights, talking to strangers, dance festivals, using the trains, sleeping in parking lots, and countless other situations.
I'm lucky to have a travel partner like Neurobomber help me cultivate an open mind. As for the rest of you, get the most out of your trip! Try new things even if they sound lame. Talk to people even if you think you'll look weird. If you hear music you like, dance. You'll be surprised at the support the universe shows you.