The Chosen One: Lessons Learned
Editor’s note: Ryan “The Chosen One” Whitaker just finished up his three months embedded with Stoke Travel, seeing a summer from the perspective of both a traveller and a volunteer. Here is some of the wisdom he picked up over the course of this life-changing experience. We’ll be looking for a new Chosen One for 2018, so read on, and if you want to have a similar experience all you have to do is be exceptionally average and ready to have the time of your life. Make sure you read all 39!
All summer with Stoke, I managed to take ongoing notes as the most amazing adventure of my life unfolded in front of me. Here are a few musings, observations, and guidelines I jot down specifically for those of you who one day may find themselves with the most unique, extraordinary travel company of all time:
- European’s are very comfortable.
- You can go for awhile on two meals a day so long as you drink your lunch.
- There is a way to drink responsibility; sometimes you should, and sometimes you should not.
- When you can say, “Fuck yeah”, you should say, “Fuck yeah”.
- When you should say, “Absolutely the fuck not”, do say, “Absolutely the fuck not”.
- You can navigate a city by memory without a map and the internet.
- General life rules for being a person are very different when you’re backpacking.
- For example, you don’t need five pairs of underwear when you’re backpacking, regardless of the duration of your trip.
- Try everything once.
- There are people of exceptional character in the world and it’s your responsibility to find them.
- In regard to that idea, everyone is capable of immense strength; don’t overlook people’s natural gifts.
- Small talk always leads to work. Avoid small talk at all costs.
- If you have to pee, most anyone won’t stop you from getting to the toilet if you act like you belong there.
- Hold people’s eye contact for as long as possible. Always double take.
- “You don’t punch girls, you kiss them on the cheek.”
- Always make time for music.
- Go to the karaoke bar to close the night out.
- Everyday is a holiday, and every meal is a banquet; so howl at the fucking moon.
- Always check for toilet paper, and use less of it, ya filthy animals.
- You can tell a lot from a person by their dual initiatives to care for others and enjoy their fucking lives.
- Embrace life when it happens for you.
- When you’re lonely in a crowd, people watch.
- Talk to people sitting alone, if only for a meal.
- Give a group of men and egg or an orange, and they’ll make a game. And then they’ll ruin it.
- Which reminds me, Saturdays are for the boys.
- Eat less bread, and more vegetables.
- Listen to people you don’t like and try to meet them halfway. Lay down the line as soon as you get taken advantage of.
- Have a great party shirt.
- Make a good friend or two everywhere you go.
- Share frequently.
- Work your ass off.
- Unless you’re willing to legitimately listen to other people’s points about their political or religious views, don’t talk about them.
- Everything we consider sacred or intimate, we should be ready to reconsider.
- Reach out and touch someone.
- Use your words economically.
- You don’t properly miss someone until you see, and then leave, them again.
- Get used to referring to the last leg of your journey as “the easy part”, and make sure you have tissues.
- Leave your comfort zone without plans. Make amends later.
- You need to believe the cliche it’s not goodbye, it’s see you later.
And that’s all I got. To rip off Ginsberg: [Stoke], I’ve given you all and now I’m nothing. (Except an ordinary guy who had an extraordinary summer, having extraordinary experiences with extraordinary people.) A lifetime of experience could never equate to the unbelievable expedition I’ve had, and I only wish that you, the reader reading this final blog post of mine, will one day have a heart that is now as full as mine. This is Ryan, The Chosen One, over and out.
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