Posted onMay 27, 2014 by Shahla & Peter Nygaard
Dear Peter and Shahla,
You are about to embark on a journey of discovery and we were hoping you’d receive this letter before you depart.
At the moment your eyes are only open a sliver but they will begin to open more as your journey unfolds. At first the new light will seem strange but as your eyes adjust, your perspective will broaden. There are more colours in the world than you’d ever imagined and for every colour you will discover a thousand shades. These are the shades of humanity. They will shine brightly at times and dim into darkness at others. But don’t be afraid; you only fill the darkness with what’s inside of you. Empty yourselves and stumble forward into the darkness.
The world is set up to look like a scary place: people with evil intent lurking around every corner waiting to take advantage of you and do you harm. You’ll set out expecting conflict and this will affect your experience. The reality of the world will change this for you and your adventure will begin anew. You will begin to expect kindness lurking around the corner and adventure will become discovery, not danger.
The world is not without a bit of danger though and you will spend many hours discussing how you intend to react to it. These discussions only serve to entertain. In situations that call for immediate action your response will not come from thought but from instinct. Sometimes you will not be pleased with the way you’ve reacted but this is the process of self-discovery.
Your values will shift as you get to know yourselves and the world better. Some things that you regard in high esteem will lose integrity. Money is one of the most important things to many people and a high value is placed upon it. You’ve been immersed in consumer culture for most of your lives and though you question the value of money already you’ll not be exposed to alternatives until your journey gets under way. Your ability to enjoy life will depend less and less on being able to buy things or buy your way into special places. Your interactions with people and the environment will gain integrity. The opportunity to learn and share with others will become more important than any purchase could ever be.
Food is about to become the most important thing for you guys. You’ll regard it as fuel and feel the necessity to consume responsibly in order to keep your bicycle engines running properly. Here’s the best part: not only will food start to taste even better but you’ll be able to eat massive amounts of it too. People will look on in horror as you lick plate after plate clean at the dinner table.
You’re about to leave many things behind you that until now you’ve taken for granted. Going without these things will not be easy but the experience will gain you an appreciation for them that you’ve never known. This appreciation will become the instrument by which you’ll measure the breadth of your life.
Your initial momentum will last for a while but when that strength runs out, and you’re feeling overwhelmed remember, the further you go, the stronger you will become.
Your dearest selves (and worst nightmares)
Peter and Shahla
PS. On top of all these inner changes and internal battles you will challenge your physical strength and push your bodies to the point of exhaustion on a daily basis, so toughen up suckers. We're glad we're not you anymore.