By Blanca Torii
My brother Andrew left the house I grew up in when he was 20 years old. He left around this time during the fall semester of my sophomore year. He did the whole “Into the Wild,” thing, leaving everything behind and telling no one where he was headed. He took a backpack, his laptop, a Harry Potter paperback book and a select few other things. He left behind his cell phone, his car, his friends.
My family and I haven’t heard from him since then; we don’t know where he’s been or what he’s been doing. It will be three years this upcoming November.
I can clearly remember the day that he left. My mom called me before 7am. I went to work. I went to classes. I didn’t tell my three roommates for three days.
His disappearance has caused a lot of things. Ironically, one of the things, at first, was the inspiration to work hard at whatever it was that I wanted out of life.
I sat there in my classes, thinking I was going mad. There was a surge of inspiration; aside from everything, what my sister and I both were experiencing was a madness to pursue whatever it was that we wanted to do.
If our brother could do that one thing that many people say but few people do, then what was it that was holding us back?
The situation was ironic because we weren’t condoning other people to up and leave everything and everyone behind them.
I know that there are side-effects to travelling and being away from home. By side-effects I mean that there is an effect that occurs to the self as a result of travelling. It varies from person to person, but it begins to show even during the act of travelling.
Often the most interesting stories of our travels, if we are fortunate enough to travel, come from the people we meet. The stories are created and formed by the people who are with us.
Somehow travelling, an act that brings us to places far and away, brings us closer to the people standing right next to us.
I was standing in line to pay one morning in La Paloma when I noticed the glass case of drinks shift forward. It wasn’t a lack of sleep; my eyes weren’t shifting out of focus. The trays were being shifted from the back. As a result, the glass doors were flashing an array of colors in the front.
For every boat moving there is an engine behind it.
After Thoreau’s brother died of an accident, Emerson told Thoreau to go into the woods to write. Some say that Thoreau knew he wanted to become a writer after the death of his brother.
Motivation can come from the strangest and most unwanted of places. It comes from the pit, from the bottom when there is nothing and it can come from joy.
I’m no Thoreau, but a similar epiphany occurred two years ago during my sophomore year.
Recently my dad told me that greatness comes from passion. My brother left in act of passion. Regardless of what other results came about from him leaving, I know that he’s doing something great.
There’s something about writing anything remotely pertaining to one’s personal life knowing that there’s a chance a stranger might read it.
Writing this column hasn’t made much of a difference in how I go about my day-to-day, but it used to make me paranoid in personal relationships. When someone brought up certain topics, I would think, “Was it because I said this or that in my column? Does he or she now think I am this because of that?”
Being selfish helps in not worrying too much about what other people will think. That’s where true motivation comes from, from being selfish. What my brother did was selfish. Thoreau was in the woods by himself.
But the idea behind being selfish is to find what you’re truly passionate about. Only when you find self-motivation can you start to truly care for something or someone outside of yourself. Then with every act there is a reason. With every selfish action you can move closer to caring about others.