Archive - February, 2014

Courage and Fear in Modern Society

It’s time for the long-awaited bungy jumping video, and some other reflections related to it. This time I don’t have much of an intro, I think I nailed the video this time even though technically it’s not done well (the speaking part was just shot using a phone and holding it in hand – the bungy itself is HD shot with multiple cameras by AJ Hackett). I think I did a good job communicating my message anyway.

So check the video out:

As for the “tomorrow’s video”, well it never got made – by the time I was in Malaysia I had gotten reaally sick. Way too sick to be sleeping on the station floors or walking around KL with 10 kg backpack. Thankfully my ex loaded me up with enough drugs to take out an elephant so I held over for the nearly 24 hour transit back home. Not fun to be sick while travelling, but then again would there be a better timing for it anyway?

But enough about KL, let’s go back for a moment to that moment in Macau. I step on the edge and look down. It has been a long wait to get there. I was early at the tower in comparison to the jump time. I had just sit for a long time with the crowd of people staring at me, along with the other few guys and a girl that were lining up to jump down. ¬†Thinking of what mess I had gotten myself into. I felt like I did a good job maintaining outward calm, but my bubble had been bursted when one of the guys of the staff came to get me. “Why you so serious man? You scared?”

Whether I had been scared or not then was irrelevant now that I had stepped to the edge. Cause this was being scared. This was being fucking scared. I look down into the drop of over 700 feet and all the blood tries to escape my body, as if not wanting anything to do with it. Complete numbness overwhelms my insides as my reptilian brain screams at me. “Take a step back. TAKE A STEP THE FUCK BACK.”

You can hardly blame it. It doesn’t realize I’m all strapped up and a rope will stop my fall. It merely wants to preserve my life.

I briefly blame my mom for not stopping me getting these stupid ideas before the countdown starts. I am in position to jump. Five, four, three, two, one. I gotta say it is pretty savvy, the way they send you out. The loud countdown gives you just enough social pressure to do it. To nudge you through the fear. I didn’t really jump right by leaning forward as you are supposed, I was so stiff with fear I merely dropped down. It didn’t matter, gravity handled the rest.

As for the jump itself, the moment I was off the edge all the fear subsided cause there was no room for it any more. Just a few second of intense consciousness as my body raced towards ground. The rope stopping my descent didn’t really feel bad. You would imagine it is abrupt, but it felt smooth enough to me. But then again I was falling fast so what’s smooth in those speeds anyway?

I didn’t let out a sound the whole way. After saying goodbye on the edge (you can’t hear the things I say cause I muted the video so that the background music they put didn’t clash with my own background music – you didn’t miss much aside me saying awkwardly “awesome”, the goodbye before the jump and the countdown) I was just quiet the whole time until at some point I just put all the emotions concisely into one sentence “Holy shit…” while hanging from the rope.

Would I do it again? Sure, I would do it. But don’t mistake that I think I did something brave that matters. I did something brave that gives me an adrenaline rush and empowers me – the brave things that change life for myself and for others are different. In many ways, they take more courage anyway than dropping down from a ledge, and they need that more courage applied repeatedly, day in, day out.

Thanks for tuning in this week, drop me a comment and let me know what you thought!

The Full Scale of Human Experience

Let’s start with an update regarding my trip. I had some messed up stuff happen with my monies and as an end result, I will have to return to Finland instead of staying in Malaysia after my HK trip ends. I bought some match tickets for Brazil already which put my finances to a stretch, and the kicker is that now I even won’t get the tickets, the money is just temporarily off my account. Needless to say, it was not fun to run out of money during my Macau excursion. Oh well, lesson learned in keeping a buffer of money always available. Now with the boring shit off my chest, let’s delve into the post itself.

As my above paragraph states, my journey is coming to its abrupt and unplanned end. Lessons have been learned aplenty but reflecting back on past nearly a month, all I can say is that I’ve experienced nearly everything there is. From the low points to extreme highs, I’d go as far as to say it’s been the month of my life so far.

Is that an overt statement? I can’t say for sure. Perhaps it is just silly mental masturbation to think about such notions as “best month/year/any period of time of my life” but I like to do that. So far I’ve called my first month in Malaysia the best of my life and it was indeed a huge turning point for me. It was challenging for that kid who suffered from crippling shyness, yet it was filled with happy memories and gratitude for the experience, with very few lows.

Now? Well, as I’ve said here on the blog already in a passing mention, I broke up with my gf ahead of the trip. Anyone who’s been following me for a period of time knows that would be a big deal to me. I invested a lot of effort into making it work, literally hauling my ass to the other side of the world to make it happen. It wasn’t going to be though, and the repercussions were of that magnitude. Being in the environment where I have got myself just for the relationship just rubbed its failure into my face further.

So the first half of the month was spent in a blurry state of mostly depression, with few glimmers of feeling better. What about Hong Kong? Well I have to say Hong Kong has definitely its rough edges, but my experience here has been extremely positive. Indeed to such extent I am feeling like coming back after my Brazil trip gets sorted out and over with (I make an adventure of a lifetime sound like a chore).

If Malaysia 2012 was more of an even line of positive emotions upwards accumulating into a great month, Malaysia/Hong Kong of 2014 has been more of a extreme up and down thrill ride. Which one will I prefer? Well my heart would probably prefer the former, but honestly, give me the thrill ride.

That’s where the best memories are made, after all. The intense lows will just turn into powerful memories in time and intense highs… Well even more powerful memories, not to mention they feel incredible when you experience them.

The Full Scale of Human Experience

What it all boils down to is experiencing all that there is and experiencing to the maximum. I won’t shy away from intense sadness, I won’t shy away from intense pain, and I most certainly won’t shy away from intense joy. But to get joy, pleasure, passion, whatever, you will have to put yourself vulnerable to the intense negative aspects as well. I’ve had very stressed moments during this trip, I’ve had sad moments, but in just few days or moments that can all change into even a surreal level of bliss.

In the end it is all about experiencing the full scale. It’s from the emotional spikes that the strongest memories are made of, not just even bliss of everything going smoothly from start to finish. I talked about this in the past as well.

So now that we have established that you want to go for the full scale, how do you do it? Simple, put yourself at risk, go for too big goals that inevitably draw out the mistakes of you. Have zero fear or hesitation to commit to your courses of action. Get emotionally invested. ¬†Things will fail and you will get sad. Things will succeed and you will feel happy. Regardless you will experience intense events, stuff that you won’t even believe that could happen to you. You will wake up asking yourself what is happening to your life. On some mornings in a positive sense, and on some mornings in a negative sense.

It is all just sides of the same coin. So when I cry for sadness I don’t resist the emotion at all (except if I’m in front of people – I like to grief in privacy), similarly I attempt to let the joy of good things take me over when it comes to take me. I’m not saying I’m perfect at this either, but the more you open yourself up to the full scale of human experience, the more incredible your life will be.

Bad shit happening won’t make your life any worse. You need to understand that. What it will do is harden you for the future trials and give you great stories to tell in the future.

Hope that made sense – do share your thoughts in the comments. I’m too tired to keep writing now – see you next week!

Also, yes, I made the bungy jump as intended in Macau. I’m not gonna talk about it now though – next week will be all about it.