As many of you might know, I am a huge Paulo Coelho fan! I know at least thirty other people who would share in this exact sentiment but to be fair I am really his second biggest fan, after my aunt whom I am named after, who first introduced me to the beautiful works of Mr. Coelho in ‘The Alchemist.’
If you have not (yet) read this remarkable novel, it is about a young shepherd boy called Santiago who is on his way from Spain to Egypt to find his treasure. I have read this book at least five times now and last week I was at it again. This time I was truly in awe of a young shepherd’s bravery to leave his sheep and cross ridges and war torn desserts all in pursuit of his treasure. Not that I can be of any comparison to young Santiago’s gallantry, but being in a far away place in the name of pursuing some little piece of my life’s puzzle really resonated with me this time more than ever!
Coming to America is really an overrated concept especially in most developing countries. I remember when I was much younger whenever I would imagine what the Promised Land would look like it always had an American imagery in it strangely! My CRE (Christian Religious Studies) teacher once described the Promised Land as one where milk and honey flowed easily and where everyone is at peace. I am still trying to figure out how my nine-year-old brain concluded this place was called America! Fast-forward to my teen years and I knew that I wanted to travel and see other places but equally surprisingly enough I had no intention of ever coming to this far West of the World! But as Karma would have it I had a months notice to pack for a year or so away…
There are a couple of things I have learnt along my road to Santiago some of which I will use analogy from the Alchemist. Firstly -It is foolish to think that you can just wake up and start your journey towards your treasure and not face any adversaries or challenges. Some of these encounters can well be mitigated but its best to over prepare in every situation and then go with the flow! Secondly- it is of paramount importance to realize this road is everyone’s but this journeys is yours and therefore do not get distracted with what others are doing or not doing. Thirdly- learn when to verbally use Urim (Yes) and Thummim (No) in everyday conversations with others. Fourthly- be present, now, this exact moment and every other day. Fifthly – Not everyone will help you get to your treasure, some people can be disruptions and you must follow your gut feeling or omen. Finally and most importantly, if you really believe in something, the universe or God (whatever you perceive HIM to be) will indeed conspire to help you get there!
Like Santiago, there have been moments when I really want to throw in the towel and head back to more familiar territory but after springing back from such a low-low I am glad I stuck it out. Nobody said it would be easy but it definitely worth every blood, sweat and tear!