The best shaves happen after letting hair grow.
The effect is more pronounced. Closer to the skin. Smoother. More hair cut off. You make a bigger difference, a bigger contrast. You feel a higher level of appreciation for the shave. The before and after is great. Plus, if you shave too often, your skin starts to get irritated. The excessive grooming is abrasive rather than satisfying.
Same goes for creating. Write, draw, let it come out, then edit. The finished work is more pronounced when you cut the full flamboyant bush. Snipping at developing art limits the final vibrancy.
Same goes for planning life. Brainstorm like crazy. Pour it all out. Don’t be afraid to explore with your mind every impossibility. Leave reality checks, trimming, and logic to the end. Let your mind print it first. Be amazed by what comes.
Same goes for physical training. Take long breaks in between strong improvements in strength. Rest. I let myself unravel from the stress of training for four months, and its seems to have spurred a new itch for training.
Same goes for relationships. Not every interaction with a new acquaintance needs a beginning, middle, and end. Movies set that in my head. So did the corporate workplace. It just felt awkward when people didn’t introduce themselves, get to know a little about each other, and then say a nifty phrase to get themselves out of the situation.
I realized a lot of this is due to ridiculous time constraints. When you have two minutes to meet someone before you end up working on a high stakes project with them the next week, you try to dig down into the relationship.
Traveling with time taught me these things don’t have to be so concise. Just like a beard, new relationships should be allowed to slowly flourish before any major efforts are made to shape them. Trying to squeeze all the essentials in at the beginning can squelch a natural interaction.
Even at hostels and guesthouses, where it’s important to get to know the host and other guests to some degree, I’ve realized that there’s no need to rush it. Some of our first interactions with hosts have been simple, heartfelt hello’s. There’s not a lot to say with fourteen kilos on your sweat-drenched back.
And having stayed in over fifteen places in the last couple of months, I find that there’s plenty of time for learning about each other. Where we are from, what personality types we have, and how much of the local language and customs we understand are all eventually seen. What time we wake up, when we leave and when we return, and what our room looks like are little things that say a lot too.
A short stay of one night can be ample for a deep connection with the host. But over the course of a week at one place, people can get very close. We have developed fond relationships with many of our hosts. Usually not more than a few sentences are exchanged at each interaction. But trust builds, respect solidifies, and love grows amongst people who share good intentions and a common philosophy.
That philosophy is one of camaraderie between travelers and hosts. It is one that believes in the good of travel. The mindset that the world belongs to no one, that we are at the mercy of our own and each other’s actions, and that sharing leads to fortune. The belief that money represents a fair transaction, and that trust and love earn more than what is paid.
It’s not base to feel that payment is necessary to begin a relationship between host and guest. Payment is healthy. It is the established form of beginning a relationship beyond one’s own family. It’s the language we can speak with strangers before opening our mouths. It tells the recipient that you have earned, through your own creation of value, the means to stay at their place. After money, the rest is art.
People exchange performances of communication that express and request respect, dignity, beauty, mastery, and ultimately, love. This isn’t in the form of a dance or painting, although it could be. It’s in the subtleties of interaction. The words, the facial and bodily expressions, the presence, and all of the actions that communicate are designed to establish a relationship. They may be intentional, and they may not. The difference can mean the divergence between a lasting connection and a sorry waste of life.
No one wants to waste life. But so few of us act to build on life. So the key is, from my observation of myself, that I have intention. Because when I consciously tell myself that I’m doing something, it is almost always something good. Not to say I’m a saint, but that most evil actions come from my lack of initiative or motive or creativity. If I intend to be a good guest and build a positive relationship with my host, I avoid the haphazard experience of oops’s, maybe’s and sure’s.
Let relationships develop naturally, give them time. And be intentional when it’s your turn to assert your beauty into the world.