This badge is an aide-mémoire – it reminds me both that I am here (right now) and what I'm here to do.
In the excitement of preparing for the trip and talking about it, answering questions and asking for help to just get over to San Francisco tomorrow, something has become a little obscured.
I believe that the most important factor in the creation and conversion of social capital (and that's what this trip is supposed to be looking at) is for me to be of service to those around me, to focus on what I can give to each situation rather than what I can get from it. So my first question for people I meet on the road will be "How can I help? What do you need doing?" rather than "What do you have for me?"
Now I will forget this again and I will slip up from time to time – I'm not perfect. But I will be reminding myself daily that, assuming I have what I need in terms of basic food, shelter and transport, my primary focus has to be on what I can contribute to those around me.
I know from experience that my ability to do this will be enhanced when I'm able to remain present to what is going on right now, rather than what happened earlier on or what might happen next. That's one of the reasons for me writing about the trip as I go, it helps me put away things that are done with. It's also why I change the subject when people talk about planning – it's not that I have a philosophical beef with planning, more that I tend, if I give myself over to drawing up plans, to focus on what's not happened yet rather than the here and now and that means I miss out on important stuff.
So I'm here. And I'm here to help.
Originally posted on Please Look After This Englishman