Kevin Kelly dropped out of the University of Rhode Island after only a year of study. Following this, Kelly spent the subsequent 9 years wandering. As an independent photographer, he began his adventures by roaming Japan, Burma, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Afghanistan and many other remote parts of Asia. Beyond Asia, Kelly’s journey took him on a hike across the Appalachian Trail from New Jersey to South Carolina. From an outsiders’ perspective, especially from those who possibly continued on with their studies, Kelly would look lost and his 9 years would seem to be no hint at all to any later success. But Kelly’s unconventional path would prove later to be one that provided him with much wisdom and, in fact, he himself now admits to his only regret being that he even attended the primary year of his university education in the first place.
Kevin Kelly, the multiple time, best-selling author, co-founded Wired magazine and currently provides his wisdom and knowledge through his position at the magazine of Senior Maverick. He has dedicated an unparalleled amount of his life’s work toward the precise and intense research of humanity and its intertwining relationship with technology. For someone with such an incredible career, you would assume that he had a head start in life - but the successes noted previously and the ones that have made Kelly the influential thinker he is today, only began to transpire a great number of years after leaving university.
In an interview, Kelly explained that his early days of wondering were filled, not with ideas of finding success, but rather with pursuits to find himself. These pursuits, of course, took him all around the world and these experiences gifted Kelly with exactly what he required - to later live a filled life. Listening to yourself may require you to first leave home. Whilst your inner conviction may already be speaking to you, without life experiences and enough wandering, the voice it may be too quiet to hear. But once you gather a plethora of experiences from varying continents, the voice may become a little louder.
Like Kelly: you must learn to become internationally fluid. Rid yourself of any negative rules that a location has bound onto you and let your identity and influence be free in its mapping on this world. Do not accept the norms of your given society and do not conform to the idea of blind patriotism if you have yet to see what else is out there.
Similarly, this same blindness to other ways of living will slowly make your mind weak and comfortable. Do not mistake the word ‘comfortable’ as one that is positive for you. Much like refusing for your mind to settle its curiosity, you should also refuse to settle into a reality that one location has provided you. This is that comfort. Instead, seek to see the world you live in; differently to before. From here, your influences will change, you will develop a new set of truths to work from and enhance your uniqueness from which you will thrive. As writer Baltasar Gracian put it, ‘belie your national defects’ and allow your travels around the world to teach you about its countless ideas.
‘Instead, seek to see the world you live in; differently to before. From here, your influences will change, you will develop a new set of truths to work from and enhance your uniqueness from which you will thrive.’