Sometimes silly things stick with you. Sometimes you study so hard you still remember the quadratic formula 7 years after needing it(negative ‘b’ plus or minus the square root of ‘b’ squared…) Sometimes you don’t try at all, but you remember every moment of a first date. Sometimes you remember truly silly things like a Jim Carrey movie you once watched that changed your life.
Alright, so maybe Yes Man didn’t singlehandedly change my life, but it is one of those random things that lives in the back of my head. If you haven’t seen the movie, a negative Jim Carrey goes to a life coaching seminar and is convinced to say yes to any situation he’s presented with. It’s a great movie for a lazy Sunday afternoon. For me I now experience a similar reaction to the options that I am faced with. A small voice that rings out, do it! You might think this is bad advice, but even the great Tina Fey has been quoted saying:
“Say yes and you’ll figure it out afterwards.”
If the theory is good enough for Tina, it’s good enough for me. I’m not saying you should never consider the consequences of your actions. When someone asks you to meet them at 3am, alone, in a dark alley, with a bag full of cash… maybe don’t say yes. But too often do I meet people who are so fixated on the negative side of the “what if” played in their head, that they never actually experience life. Traveling is the perfect time to test out The Yes Theory.
Saying “Yes” Will Push Your Limits
I’m not telling you that saying “Yes!” will guarantee an easy traveling experience, only that it will enrich your experience. Honestly, saying yes may often put you in a more difficult predicament. Take for instance the time I agreed to hike up Angel’s Landing in Zion National Park, UT. Terrified of heights, I definitely did not enjoy scrambling along the cliffside desperately gripping the chains mounted into the rock wall while praying my already shaking legs did not betray me. Finally, after much goading from my best friend, Sara, I made it to the summit of the trail and was rewarded with a spectacular view and a deep sense of accomplishment. To this day I carry this memory with me and my fear of heights, although not eradicated, has definitely dwindled.
Saying “Yes” Will Change Your Perspective
With my father born and raised in Hong Kong, I’ve been fortunate to visit the busy city many times. As my family often serves as the tour guides, I tend to get a similar experience each visit. This year I said yes to an invitation by my MarMar (Cantonese for grandmother) to go to an office’s grand opening. While we were there we met an old colleague of my MarMar’s. He asked us to join him on his boat the next day during the Dragon Boat Festival.
Originally I had planned to go to the more touristy side of Hong Kong to see the Dragon Boat races, but when presented with the offer I immediately said yes not quite knowing what I had gotten myself into. The gentleman was conservative in calling his yacht a boat. Not only did I get to sail in luxury that day, but he also took myself and the rest of his guests to a remote part of Hong Kong where cars couldn’t reach. We sat down for a seafood spread for lunch including a beautiful whole steamed fish, lobster in gravy with egg noodles, and garlicky fried mantis shrimp all freshly caught from just off the coast. To work off the meal, we enjoyed the rest of the afternoon swimming in the ocean and taking turns with the jet ski. A simple offer for an afternoon turned out to be one of my most lavish experiences and I got to see a completely different quiet side of Hong Kong.
Saying “Yes” Will Surprise You
This summer I had the great opportunity to explore Singapore with my little sister. One of our days was spent in awe of their zoo where you can literally walk among the lemurs and orangutans and birds and bats. As my sister and I turned a corner, we saw a small gathering around a large pond. Curious, we walked to the edge of the pond and as we did the zookeeper got our attention.
“Do you want to feed it?” He asked us. Although I had no clue was “It” was, I agreed and he handed me a large stick with a fish speared on the end. He told me to dangle the fish just above the water and wait. And so I waited. And waited. Until I saw a glimmer of movement under the water. Well, you can see the rest for yourself here.
Saying “Yes” Will Connect You
One of the greatest gifts that saying “yes” will guarantee you is the offer of friendship. Every morning as I traveled through Europe solo, I faced the option of remaining solo or venturing out with newfound companions. Some of my best experiences came through an offer of joining another traveler on their journey…
To be continued…
Currently Eating: Spicy Kalbi Ramen