On Being Ready

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Today I depart on a one way ticket (Business Class using AAdvantage miles!) to India. This is a bit of a different approach from my last trip since I honestly have no idea when I’m actually coming back “home.”

I’m not ready.

- There are some things I wasn’t able to accomplish while in the US due to logistics and timing. Nothing critical, just a few things I wanted to do that I didn’t make happen.

- I have 2 print books I wanted to read, but didn’t have a chance to even start page 1. I only read one book at a time, and while I did finish a few print books, I didn’t make it to these last 2 (Alain De Botton’s The Art of Travel and Nassim Taleb’s Fooled by Randomness). Due to my ultra light packing (packing list update coming soon!) there is no way I’m taking them with me.

- I just got a new computer (12.1″ screen, higher resolution and much easier to work on than a 10″ netbook) and the Windows 7 transition has been less than stellar.

- I’ll miss my family and friends even though I don’t see many of them on a very regular basis anyway.

And then there are some What Ifs, mostly:

- What if I get sick?

- What if I can’t find suitable health services wherever I happen to be?

- What if I get mugged?

And other stuff that’s out of my control.

Then I realized none of us are ever ready.

It’s impossible to prepare for every contingency.

You can plot and plan. You can can write lists and make phone calls. You can review and research.

You can do “everything,” but it won’t be enough. Accept it.

It’s almost guaranteed that things won’t go as planned.

If nothing else, I’m ready for that.

Photo Credit


Brad Gross

Hey Karol,

Just wanted to say thanks and that I appreciate your blog like CRAZY! It’s been such a refreshing thing to have in my RSS Reader. I appreciate your honesty on your blog. I continue to find blogs written by people who put up fronts or some kind of false person and I never find that here. I always look forward to the updates in my RSS Reader.

So, just wanted to say thanks and hope you have safe travels! If you’re ever in Chicago (and I did notice the pic by Wrigley Field) let me know, I’ll buy ya a beer!!




Thank you so much man!

I’m actually in Chicago right now. :) At ORD waiting to board the flight to LHR (London Heathrow)…then on to BOM (Mumbai).

I’ll be back in Chicago some time in the future though. I love this city (when it’s warm hehe).

Thanks again,


Im sure that you are ready for the surprises and adventures. Hopefully they will more good than bad. And the bad wont be too bad :)

Good luck!!



:) Thanks Dea!


Fantastic point about knowing that at least one thing will “go wrong.” I always think of the major things that I know are taken care of and think, “barring something completely unexpected, the worst that can happen is forgetting underwear or something along those lines.” And who needs underwear?!


Thanks Jenny. Lucky for me I packed my underwear! :)


I *always* forget something when I go on a trip. Guaranteed. And guess what? The trip went smoothly, more or less.

As long as you take care of the critical stuff, all the rest is just insignificant details.


Thanks James…you just pointed out one of the greatest benefits of ultra light packing: it’s almost impossible to forget stuff because there is so little of it. :)


Hey Karol, just wanted to wish you well. Hope you have an awesome time, maybe we’ll meet on the road someday!


Thank you Denis! I’m definitely into meeting up. Are you in India, by chance?(kidding) :)


Enjoy your wonderful adventure. We will travel with you through this site. Thanks.


Thank you Erin, I will!


Hi Karol,

Have a great trip.
I’m looking forward to reading your updates. :-)


Thanks Marko…I’ll be sure to write extensively about the guitar building process. Although it won’t be on this site.


What site will those updates be on?


I’m still working on that Marko, but I will definitely mention it on this site when it’s all settled.

Richard | RichardShelmerdine.com

Being ready to not be ready. Mind like water my friend :). It’s the best way to be. No expectations, just highly alert.


Thanks Richard…that’s very Bruce Lee. ;) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=USlnfTGlhXc


I love this because I think it’s very true though, as a planner, I am much more comfortable with lots of prep. I also love it because the spark in me is ignited when traveling to new places and I’m not able to right now but reading about you going somewhere new is like traveling by proxy. I look forward to hearing how it goes.


I didn’t do much prep at all. haha Maybe I should have at least figured out more than the first few days of accommodations. :)


Well, you should be safe and sound in India by the time you read this. I hope you enjoy every moment of your journey. Looking forward to reading about the new things you discover.


I’m excited for you! Can’t wait to hear some new stories.


In India it is the things that go completely wrong that will make your trip even more memorable…and once you settle in, even more enjoyable as well!!


Hi Earl,

Yeah, a few things have gone a bit wrong or been really frustrating, but it’s an awesome experience!



Karol, I am from India and i am looking forward to reading what your experiences about this country..! Do write to me if you need any pointers. Wish you luck !! :)


Hi Shweta!

Thank you so much! Where in India do you live? Do you have any recommendations?


Faisal Shoaib

Hi Karol! best of luck on your India trip. I was there in 2008 December, beautiful place. Hope you have an ultra-awesome trip. It might be a little out of context of this article but I was wondering what laptop did you get? ( the new one). I have a netbook for my travelling purposes (asus 1005ha) but i am trying to find a better substitute for it.


Hi Faisal,

I got the Lenovo X200. It’s pretty good. Very light, sturdy, and a nice 12″ screen. But Windows 7 is not doing me right.


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