Written by Team 6 participant Nguyen Thu Trang
“True friends are the ones who will not let you do crazy stuff…” – Anonymous
… like stopping strangers when they’re enjoying themselves on a beautiful September morning around Hoan Kiem Lake and asking them to take one minute to look deep inside another stranger’s eyes and draw a portrait without looking at the paper.
… like meditating in the middle of a street where everybody is walking around and probably wondering what the heck this bunch of funny-looking idiots with ridiculous signs hung upon their necks is doing.
… like hanging kindergarten-like artworks drawn by adults as an outdoor exhibition and being honestly proud of them.
… like playing a game called “Death Ball” with an imaginary ball in slow-motion and fighting each other without touching each other.
… like trying to “kill” each other using invisible katanas while yelling at each other in a kind of language that is Japanese, English, Vietnamese, Baby and Dog language mixed together.
… like discussing and learning (together) the right method of masturbating to maintain a healthy sex life (sorry, no photo for this one!).
… like building sculptures out of yarn, dry leaves, rocks, lipsticks, bottle-lids, pebbles, chopsticks and another hundred kinds of garbage.
… like fully trusting other people in whatever they’re putting you through… yes, that’s kinda crazy for someone like me.
There’ve been so many points along my Knowmads journey where I found myself stop and question “Why do I have to do this? This is so lame and looks nothing effective.” I found so much resistance in myself while doing things that I’ve never done before (“What? Are you crazy? I’m not gonna do that even in a million year!”) or even things that I’ve done so many times before (“There’s nothing new. What do you think will make it different this time?”).
Nevertheless, I’ve skipped nothing. Not just because those lovely and trustworthy-looking eyes of Andre, Narayan, Hailey, Chris, Mer, Chim, Batman, Trang and Hoang, but also because of the trust of my teammates in me and in the process. Because we’re all doing it… together.
And, honestly, trusting the process is what I least regret in my whole journey.
Ever since I was a little girl, I’ve been asking myself a lot of lame (yet mandatory) questions, one of which is “What actually is trust?” And I’ve been collecting answers from everywhere like collecting little coins, putting them in a jar, waiting and watching to see that as time passes by, which one is going to be the shiniest one.
In my jar, there’s this favorite coin of mine (and by “favorite” I mean “the most mind-blowing”) with this quotation on it, “Truly trusting means that you have accepted the fact that your trust might be wrong.” I’ve never really understood it until I met Knowmads.
It’s when everything in our event seemed to go out of control and we changed the plan at many points. I almost regretted that we never elected a “leader” to keep everything under control. And at that time, I had no other choice but to put my trust in my teammates and even in myself, even though I had no idea what each of us was doing. And my trust didn’t mean that everything would be perfect and that we would be super successful. My trust meant that even when everything was a disaster, we would definitely learn something from it because we were all doing our best with what we got and what we had to do.
And we made it. We did it altogether, and everything turned out to be great. We did not have a leader, because we were all leaders of ourselves doing the best that we could. We did not agree on everything (some of my teammates even thought that the idea was so silly), but we all aimed for a shared goal. It takes only one person losing that trust to make everything go down, but none of us left our positions.
Not until everything was done had we known about what we truly went through. The next morning, we were all amazed at how every conflict, every out-of-control moments that we had were actually when we were most actively learning.
If there’s anything I could say about Knowmads at this point… it’s where I am encouraged to be crazy, to embrace every failure, to enjoy being uncomfortable… because they’re just stepping stones on my way ahead – my way of learning.
And I could never do it by myself. “True friends are the ones who will never let you do crazy stuff… alone.”