The first time I heard about Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage, located a couple of hours outside of Sri Lanka’s largest city, Colombo, was when I was in Sri Lanka in 2009. As somebody who loves elephants, I asked around whether or not I should go visit. I mean, you hear the word “elephant orphanage” and it seems like it should be legitimate, right?
After reading dozens of reviews and articles about the subject, in a word: NO.
I flew back to Canada from London one summer, just after my thirty-first birthday. I was feeling a little bit low; I had recently been dumped by somebody I cared about, and…
“You don’t want kids?” he asked, a surprised look on his face. “How can you be so sure?” I was a bit annoyed that THAT was the point he picked up on – not the fact that his friend had just declared she was on track to build her dream life and travel the world.
“Well, I’ve given it a lot of thought, and at this point in my life I do not see children in my future,” I took another sip of my beer, hoping he’d just accept my answer… you know, the answer ABOUT MY OWN LIFE. I have had this conversation so many times, and it’s getting old.
“Yeah, right,” he chuckled. “You say that, but I guarantee you’ll end up having kids. You just need to meet the right guy.”
Recently, I pulled back a bit to take a look at this blog, and where I’d like to take it. As I recently went down to part-time to focus on this as a possible business, it was necessary for me to outline what I wanted for the future of This Battered Suitcase, and for my career. I started going through my archives. I started looking at the posts that I loved writing the most. I started looking at the posts that readers loved reading the most. And it hit me: if I keep accepting all of these trips, and if I keep chasing SEO stats, my blog might grow, yes. But isn’t my blog also going to get really fucking boring?
“How are you?”
It’s a seemingly innocent question, and one that, unless you know the person really well, always comes with the same answer.
“I’m good, thanks, how are you?”
Or, perhaps, if you’re having a great week (or you’ve run into an ex), you tweak the answer slightly.
“I’m really good, thanks!” or even “I’m great, thank you.”
Or maybe, if you live in London, or NYC, or Toronto, or just about any other big city in the world, or probably even some smaller cities, too, or perhaps even the countryside, or I guess just everyone I speak to these days, you say this:
“I’m good thanks, super busy,” or “Yeah, good, but really busy,” or “Good, thanks, but so busy I don’t remember the last time I slept for longer than four hours and my back always hurts and sometimes I forget if I’ve eaten lunch so let’s just stand here and laugh for a little while so I can forget about my ever-growing list of things to do and all those unanswered emails.”
OK, so maybe that last one is a slight exaggeration. But over the last few years, I’ve heard myself give some variation of that answer to different people, whether they’re friends, acquaintances, coworkers, or someone in between. I’ve also written about it a lot on this blog. When did I get so obsessed with being so busy?
I’ve been really tired these days. Between a full-time job that has recently gotten a lot more demanding, to maintaining my duties to fulfil the requirements for my Graduate Entrepreneur Visa in the UK, to freelance work, to running this blog and its social media, to social events, to, oh yeah, travelling, I find myself constantly wanting a nap and constantly wanting someone to crack my back for me (it feels so damn good). Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m not complaining about these things; I’m learning a lot, earning a little, and still seeing the world and getting to hang out with some of my favourite people in it. My life at the moment, while busy and stressful, is a pretty great one.
But I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t making plans for the future, too.