The Promises I Should’ve Made

Everything starts with a promise. You can promise to try, to walk away, to commit, to dream. Promises are the threads of which fantasy and fiction are woven into elaborate spreads. Some days, I need to be reminded of this. Movies, books, human folktales all blend beautiful tales of magical whimsy, but all imaginative creations shed a bit of truth, a bit of possibility, a chance at a promise.


I started with the wrong promise going home. I started with indifferences and slight matter-of-factness that I’m not so proud of. It was a hard dose of a reality check to take. I promised to get through this journey like a checklist. So when my travels broke down my walls of indifference, I realized that my initial promise was neither positive nor enriching. I was stifling my own experiences. Choking them before they had a chance to breathe life into mine.

If you haven’t read about the beginning of my visit home, you can read Roots for Wings and A Long Drive Home.

In short, I was promising myself to merely survive my trip rather than engage in it. What I should have promised was a commitment to be present to its unfolding. Treat it like all my other travels: be open to the unexpected and let my earlier expectations fall to the wayside. Let it unravel the hidden messages it contains.

I think that sometimes we build up a fear towards fantasizing. We feel as if we need to be grounded in reality in an effort to put the best foot forward. As if dreaminess is nothing more than lofty enthusiasm and the fall from fantasy isn’t worth the high. Maybe it’s the fact that I finalized my ebook today. It sits on my desktop cover-to-cover completed at this very moment. But today I feel as if dreaminess pushed me through. The dreamy ‘What Ifs’ made me muscle through the moments of doubt. It could all be worth it. And despite not knowing how it will be received, inside me is the gratification of following through to achieving that dream.


In both my endeavors, going home and in completing my book, I realized that I needed to stop worrying so much about what I was going to say. In both cases, it was far more important for me to just listen: listen to new cities, listen to the familiar sounds of home, listen to the stories my friends had for me, and listen to my own heart for the words to say. I should have set out with the promise to just listen; the words were going to be there when I arrived.


I should have started with the promise to run recklessly into this adventure, like I do on most my others, instead of making the assumption that I somehow needed to pace myself. It was this assumption that set the tone and perspective I had going into this trip. Time was a precious commodity. These moments would need to stretch out during the longer bits of time I was away. There would be no pacing when I got back to Taipei, just the using of these memories to get me to the next homeward adventure. I should have promised to savor every extra minute. And promise to hold on a bit tighter, demand a bit more attention, expect the world of my friends and family because halfway around the world doesn’t deliver what the moment does. I should have promised to derive as much as I could from the experience because it was never coming back.

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Finally, I should have promised to speak a little sweeter and love more forthright because latitude and telephone lines only carry the words, not the feelings. As with both the journey of going home and the process of writing a book, I started with the wrong promise. They weren’t just checklists but great tales of fantasy and fiction, the magically meeting of the potential with reality. They were the things we should have promised in order to live out the adventure promised to us.

If you haven’t already, don’t miss your chance at the discount! Later this week, I will be sending out the discount and the link to purchase my new ebook, ‘Skipping Baggage Claim’

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