If it’s starting a new business, playing a new instrument, deciding to travel or asking out that cutesy girl or guy – we all have our own little stories about how everything started. For some it was easier to make their decisions, because it just felt natural to them. For some it was a bit harder and they needed a little nudge out of the door. For me? It was a broken arm and a 20-minute walk that made me a traveler and the person I am today.
Throughout most of childhood and adolescence, I was an avid handball player and for most of my… “career” I was lucky enough to not have suffered any severe injuries. Until the end of January 2013, I was correct. During a match I was going for a counter attack, shooting a jump shot (which I’ve missed, because I sucked that day) and then landing sideways with my left arm stretched out, which unfortunately caused a fracture in my forearm. Shortly after the game I called my Dad and told him that I broke my arm and asked him if he could bring me to the hospital. Long story short; my arm was put into a cast and I was told that I would not be able to work for the next five weeks. Which now was the next step: Telling my boss about my medical condition.
Safe to say, I was scared out of my mind to tell her, because she sure as hell won’t be pleased about it. And I was right – she was furious and told me as long as I kept working here, I was not allowed to play handball anymore. And that was that. She stormed off, leaving me completely speechless. I left my workplace still dumbfounded and on my way to the train station, I wildly went through a variety of different emotions. First, I was shocked: “I can’t play Handball anymore!?”, then I was sad: “Damn… I can’t play Handball anymore…” and finally I was mad: “I can’t play Handball anymore?! What the fuck? Who the hell does she think she is!?”
And that, my dear friends, was the famous pivotal moment.
You see, I was never a courageous person. I never had the “balls” to make my own decisions, small ones or bigger ones. But at this moment I was so furious, that I, as Mark Manson would say, started to simply not give a fuck about anything anymore. I did not give a fuck about my boss, I did not give a fuck about my job in general. Because how dare they trying to keep me from doing something that I loved!? I did not give a fuck about my lack of courage and I did not give a fuck about my lack of a fucking backbone. I was making my own decisions now, god dammit!
And just like water would be an unstoppable force of nature once a dam breaks, all my ideas and deepest dreams came rushing through me once my blind anger tore down all of my mental barriers and restrictions that used to keep me in check for most of my young life.
Reason and logic went straight out the fucking door. In that moment, everything became possible for me. I was convinced I would fucking do it! And so I whole heartedly decided to quit my job and start travelling. Simply because I always wanted to and now I had the feeling that I actually could. And also because of religiously watching Indiana Jones and The Lord of The Rings.
Shortly before I talked to my boss, my heart started racing and my palms began to sweat, out of fear. After I left my place of work, my heart started racing and my palms began to sweat, now out of excitement. “I’m going to travel… I’m going to travel! Finally!” It was as if my mind and my heart were telling me: “It took you long enough, idiot.”
When I came back home I immediately told my parents about it and you can imagine how shocked they were. Their son left to bring a medical certificate to his boss and now comes back with a furious determination to quit his job and to travel the world. Like, what the fuck, Benni!? But after the initial shock and some explaining they understood my reasoning, and were supportive throughout the following months of preparation. Then on the 24th December 2013 I stepped onto the plane leaving for Sri Lanka and the rest is history as they say. I can confidently say that I’m not nearly the same person as I was almost four years ago. It’s not so much that I am a different person per se, but more an evolved and better person. Almost like a Pokemon!
Now, let’s look back at how it all started. The metaphorical pebble that caused an avalanche. It was nothing more than a broken arm and a 20-minute walk. Something that was supposed to be a simple update for my boss ended up with me living in Thailand for two years, visiting Australia, Indonesia and many other countries. With no current end in sight. Sounds almost unbelievable, huh? I guess you could say that life indeed writes the best stories.
I used to ask myself, what would’ve happened if I never would’ve broken my arm. Would I still somehow make the same decision? Or would this train pass and I would continue to live in Germany, somewhat content with my life there? Because if I would’ve managed to land properly on my arm, the match would’ve ended like any other. Nothing special. Just another weekend.
But now, I don’t ask myself this question anymore, because what happened simply happened. There’s no need for asking “What if…?” questions. It is what it is. I’m just happy and proud of my old self to show courage and strength by making this bold move and to stick with it until the very end. He would be very surprised to find out what is going to happen to him. He would definitely wonder why his future self has a scar on his forehead.
This little story will always be the pivotal moment of my life. Everything I did and will be doing from this point on forward can be traced back to that very moment. A broken arm and a furious 20-minute walk to the train station.