Published on August 21st, 2014 | by Taz Liffman
8 pieces of profound advice, as told by winnie the pooh
Read time: a bit over 4 minutes
What it is exactly about the human condition that has sought through the ages to equate adorable furry characters with fun-filled outings is difficult to say. Less perplexing is the lesson it seeks to inspire – that life is better lived as a series of fun-filled outings. And who could possibly argue with that?
Yet probe a little deeper into the chronicles of one such character, Winnie the Pooh, and a wealth of travel advice awaits the budding expeditioner. Here, in all their erroneously misconstrued glory, are eight of them.
1. “You can’t stay in your corner of the Forest waiting for others to come to you. You have to go to them sometimes.’
True dat. By ‘others’ Pooh was here referring to his little animal pals Piglet, Rabbit and Tigger. If you’re a regular person you probably don’t have little animal friends or live in a Forest, and A.A. Milne would have been aware of this. So what he was really talking about was what Pooh’s friends represented. And that, my little animal friends, was Adventure (with a capital A). What Pooh’s actually saying is that adventures don’t come to you; it’s up to you to seek them out. Not Pooh’s most prescient piece of advice perhaps, but a nice little opener.
2. ‘When you see someone putting on his Big Boots, you can be pretty sure that an Adventure is about to happen.’
This little honey-pot of wisdom seems a line of reasoning common to much of the animal kingdom; both real and fictional. For instance, when I used to take my dog for a walk (I no longer do because he’s dead, not because I just decided not to walk him any more), his seeing me putting my shoes on would send him into flurries of excitement. We were going outside! We were embarking on an expedition!
For Schlooffee, plodding up and down suburban lane-ways was about as big as adventures got’ And the point, is that all adventures are relative. While you may consider country X a hackneyed travel destination, for a first-time traveller it’s destined to be far from it. Everyone has to start somewhere and the biggest adventurer out there is the one challenging themselves the most. You have to be scared to be brave after all. So what Pooh was getting at, albeit in a rather roundabout way, was ‘don’t be a travel snob.’
3. ‘I’m not lost for I know where I am. But however, where I am may be lost.’
This is all about being in a certain state of mind and stuff; a state of mind that cares neither for plans nor disruptions to them. Pay no mind to the location, such a mind says; travel is where you are. Limbo is where you are. Suspense is where you are. Being of a mind that welcomes surprises, celebrates serendipities, and awards spontaneity is where you are, travel-monger.
4. ‘When you wake up in the morning, Pooh’ said Piglet at last, ‘what’s the first thing you say to yourself?’
‘What’s for breakfast?’ said Pooh. ‘What do you say, Piglet?’
‘I say, I wonder what’s going to happen exciting today?’ said Piglet.
Pooh nodded thoughtfully. ‘It’s the same thing’ he said.
People wake, live and travel for different reasons. For some it’s food and for some it’s work. For others it’s quality time spent in the company of friends and family and for others still it’s quality time spent away from friends and family. I was just about to say that, whatever your motivation, there’s really no right or wrong reason to travel… but then I realised that that’s not really true. Sex tourism, arms trafficking and tiger hunting expeditions are all extremely bad motivations for travel. Mister Milne would not have approved of any of these. ‘Don’t hunt Tiggers’, he probably would’ve said, ‘The wonderful thing about Tiggers is that Tiggers are wonderful things.’
5. ‘Nobody can be uncheered with a balloon’
Example A. Hot air ballooning across the Serengeti.
Example B. Hot air ballooning across Capadoccia.
6. ‘What day is it?’ asked Winnie the Pooh.
‘It’s today,’ squeaked Piglet.
‘My favourite day,’ said Pooh.
Carpe diem, baby. Seize the day. Live for the moment. Savour the instant. Make hay while the sun shines. Travel while you’re young. Travel when you’re old. Wear no pants. Ya know, the stuffs like that…
7. ‘Supposing a tree fell down, Pooh, when we were underneath it?’ said Piglet.
‘Supposing it didn’t,’ said Pooh after careful thought.
This Poohey piece of wisdom actually has nothing to do with the age-old philosophical conundrum concerning whether a tree falling in a forest with no one around to hear it makes a sound. His pontificating Poohness is not asking whether a tree falling in a forest where there was no one for it to fall on would fall on anyone. Even to a bear with, by his own admission, ‘A Positively Startling Lack of Brain’, it’s pretty obvious that it wouldn’t.
What Pooh’s actually advocating is throwing caution to the wind. Not just gale force winds that shake trees, but the winds of hesitation and negative presentiment that thwart plans of travel. The gushes of doubt that tell you adventuring is the home ground of misfortune; that travelling could get you hit by a tuk-tuk or contracting Bird Flu. Sure, it could. But, on the bright side, it could also not. Pick your battles. Fate ain’t one of them.
8. ‘Always remember, you’re braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.’
Again, ‘doubt not’. If ever mired in it, simply recall that you rock.
Image courtesy of Neal Fowler, Flickr