Rules of Thumb and Toe
- No Expectations...
- I have learned this the hard way from my numerous years as a teacher, educator, consultant, and learner. Having a preconceived notion of expectations, whether they are high, low, or mediocre, have limited my ability to actually experience where I was, what I was doing, what was happening to me, and what I thought I wanted to happen to me.
- Slow Down...As a high school student, I learned to walk slowly from one class to the next to appreciate the views...mostly girls. This developed into a small cult of slow-walking devotees who, I hope, are still following the same rituals we practiced back in the day. Too many times I see people traveling from one spot to the next, rapidly taking pictures, and moving on to the next site. If that makes them happy, excellent! I am not one to judge and have done the rapid pictorial pillage of many famous sites. Slowing down, on the other hand, has given me many unexpected advantages because when I create that extra space, interesting things tend to fill it...space abhors a vacuum.
- No Be There...People like to talk about themselves, places have many things to say, so much of the time I just get out of the way and listen.
- Don't Fight the Shit...Yes, inevitably it happens...even with all of the best laid planning and preparation. And when it does, I always get interesting insights about who I am. Planning and preparation have definitely helped me experience the world, but shit happens that will take all of those well-developed plans and itineraries and flush them down the john! Also, I have seen people perpetually plan and gear up for a travel adventure and not do it because something in life happened. But it's how I handle the shit and what I do with it that makes all the difference. Don't fight the shit...let it flow!
- Have Fun...This was the first thing I said to myself teaching my first class at the University of Alaska, Anchorage. Since that day, I have used this principle to decide who I hung out with, what types of jobs I did, and the kind of entertainment I pursued. When I stopped having fun, I moved on.
- Learn Something in the Process...This was the second thing I said to myself teaching my first class at the University of Alaska, Anchorage, right after saying the first thing.
- Disregard/Change Some/All of the Above...Key principles give me a secure false sense of being grounded, give me the tools to help explore a discipline, and a give me a semblance of trying to make sense of something that is bigger than me. But they are just principles. When they get in the way or limit my ability to do something really stupid, I either change the principle/s or ditch it/them all together. Sure, this last principle has gotten me into trouble, but then again, the trouble I get into by ignoring them most of the time lead to rather interesting situations!