When I'm headed to points south, I always bring a journal. On those trips, with all the unplugged time available, it seems profound wisdom should be washing up onto every shore like sea shells after a storm.
Regardless of exactly where I'm headed, or exactly why, when I'm around the sea it just feels like I'm going to get some serious stuff figured out. And every time I'm on my way home? It feels like I did get some serious stuff figured out.
Well, this past weekend I flipped through a few of my old trip journals, looking for some of that wisdom. Perhaps a profound passage on What It All Means. Or at least an insightful bon mot that I could photograph and post on instagram in my brazen attempt to increase the Bring Limes Instagram following.
It turns out my journals have all the philosophical insight of a third-grader's report on "What I Did On My Summer Vacation." And I'm talking, like, a dumb third grader. There are no revelations into the human condition. Hell, there's hardly even a rudimentary understanding of my own condition. Based on the evidence, I am not a sentient being. With shitty handwriting.
I'm also not a disciplined curator. These journals are just page after page of horribly drawn/disfigured fish. Lists of preferred beers and favorite birds that have long legs. Crude maps that clearly should not be used for navigation purposes.
As I continued flipping through the pages, I realized I would find no Wisdom. No Great Truths. Just the coconut-scented scribblings of a dude on a fronded strip of sand along the sea.
Kind of a bummer. Except for this: As I mentioned earlier, every time I'm heading home from one of these trips, it feels like I did get some serious stuff figured out. I'm realizing now that the stuff I'm figuring out isn't the result of an intellectual process. These trips aren't think-tank sessions. And these journals aren't white papers. No.
If there's wisdom for me in these journals (that's wisdom with a small "w," if there was a lower case "w" than lower case, I would use it to describe the wisdom I'm capable of)... Hold up, where was I? Yeah. If there's wisdom for me in these journals, it's that basically everything I see on these trips is worthy of note. Everything is worth drawing or describing or dedicating a moment of attention toward.
Is most of it random crap? Oh god yes. But daily life is random crap. And if you run it through too fine of a filter, you're going to miss most of it.