What Happens When You Ctrl A + Delete Your Journey

There is something intriguing about a blank computer document. The cursor just blinks, waiting for the possibilities. On certain days, the vastness awaits to be explored by eager adventurists. But on others, the white field is an abyss of uncharted territory, hidden behind a white-veiled fog. Embarking on any journey holds both the same promise.

Wulai, Taiwan, backpacksandblackboards.com
Wulai, Taiwan, backpacksandblackboards.com

As a traveler, setting out on foot means having a world in which to venture. There is any number of possibilities that the road may behold. What we make of our trip will be the lines and symbols that we etch into it. As our journey continues, we move our cursors forward and write the script of our tale. Along the way, we pick up a collection of descriptive imagery and tokens of figurative language. Our experiences while hiking along the trail become an extended metaphor, a bus ride onomatopoeia, and a cup of rich espresso tone.

Vientiane, Laos, backpacksandblackboards.com
Vientiane, Laos, backpacksandblackboards.com

Yet as our departure date nears, certain unease begins to gather into the horizons of our mind. Faintly appearing at the edge of our subconscious is the anxiety that we actually have no idea what we will find. Despite our frivolous attempts to plan every part of our trip through book guides, web articles, and Pinterest photographs, we understand that there is simply no way of knowing and preparing for everything. The journey holds a heavy sheet between the onlooker and the beyond. Until it is time to embark, the sheet will remain in place preserving the image of what is underneath. What a cruel illusion! To know that something is waiting for you but at the time being able to see only a blank canvas.

When I started this post, I had no idea where it was going to take me. I was tired from my evening tutoring session and the hour commute back to my apartment was rather dull. I knew I wanted to write something, aching actually to let words fly from my fingertips. But nothing was there. Just this cursor. Blinking consistently. Reminding me that I am not ready for the task at hand. I know that it flashed at the same pace, but after a few minutes had passed, it seemed to speed up as if I was wasting precious time.

Vientiane, Laos, backpacksandblackboards.com
Vientiane, Laos, backpacksandblackboards.com

I get that same feeling when I come home from work, turn on my computer, and see my fellow travel fanatics prancing around the globe. I haven’t seen enough, done enough, or tasted enough (although I’ve eaten plenty). Maybe this post should have been a plan or an itinerary.

Then I usually realize that I have spent my whole life planning. It was written in a clean, systematic Word document. I could add and modify as I went but my whole life was already planned out. I got to a certain point where I resented the well-intention timeline I had written out and so I highlighted and deleted everything from my cursor forward. I started with a space of clean white, with my wordy mementos tucked behind me and a new slate before me.

Grand Palace, Bangkok, Thailand, backpacksandblackboards.com
Grand Palace, Bangkok, Thailand, backpacksandblackboards.com

So when I am asked about what drew me to Taiwan, I really can’t say. It was time to let my cursor do its own dance. What is the plan after Taiwan? Well, my fingertips somehow manage to tiptoe across the keys to fill my page with semi-coherent words. I figure my next move will somehow be a reflection of that. For now, I am enjoying the Ctrl-A + Delete that leads to roads not yet traveled.

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6 thoughts on “What Happens When You Ctrl A + Delete Your Journey”

  1. This is such a wonderfully worded post! I feel the same way. The world is so vast and life is so short. I haven’t seen enough of the world yet, but I want to travel and learn.

    1. The great thing is being able to learn how to be a traveler in your own city too! It takes some time to appreciate what you have around you but exploration can be just as fun for the days in between jetsetting.

      1. That’s a good point! Sometimes we want to go somewhere else before we appreciate how great our hometown is. We think “the grass is greener on the other side,” but it’s important to explore our hometown, also.

  2. Wow, I love how you wrote the comparison between travel and writing a document – never thought of it that way. Glad you’re enjoying your Ctrl + A + Delete rather than freaking out and pressing Ctrl + Z!

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