Hanna Solo: An Epigraph

E. J. Wayland, an early Ugandan geologist, when a publisher once asked him to write of his adventures: ‘I had none, ‘ he said, ‘only incompetent people have adventures.’

— As cited by Edward Wilson-Lee in his book “Shakespeare in Swahililand.”  His notes reference as the source Sonia Cole, “Leakey’s Luck: The Life of Louis Seymour Bazzett Leakey” (Collins, 1975), p. 55

If this quote is accurate, I should have many, many, MANY adventures ahead of me.


I’m packing up to leave for my Hanna Solo Tour tomorrow night. I feel… nervous. Anxious. A bit terrified if I’m being honest. Marathon training, like life, rewards a prepared mind and body. You work out a plan, you build up to the event, and you then try your best.

But I’ve grown lackadaisical in my marathon training because I often run a marathon on the weekend and view it as “training” for the next week’s 26.2 mile race.

I haven’t been running well recently; in fact, I haven’t run a marathon in a few weekends and this will sound crazy but I am having trouble remembering how to run one. I’m pretty sure I’ve written about this before but even if I haven’t that idea is really not the point of this post.

No, the point of this post is that while I’m feeling ill-prepared for the forthcoming marathon weekend, I’m also feeling woefully ill-prepared for the trip I’ve got ahead of me.

Here’s another epigraph for you:

“Fortune favors the prepared mind.”
— Louis Pasteur

That guy invented milk. Well, not milk milk, but definitely pasteurized milk. So he knows of what he speaks when it comes to fortune.

I have tried to prep my trip — I’ve got AirBNBs booked, flights are all sorted, my Mosaic Tour of Tunisia is paid for and I’m holding a veritable phonebook of a pre-tour packet. I’ve only skimmed the latter assuming I’ll find time on the flights or something. Gosh, I hope there isn’t anything super important in there that I should have done BEFORE getting on the plane.

See, this is what I’m talking about! Only this isn’t even the iceberg above the waterline type thing I’m talking about. Maybe it’s the tip of that iceberg but there’s all kinds of icy hazards I haven’t even contemplated yet that I’m really, really concerned with.

My plan for getting from the airport to my AirBNB by public transport turns out to be fraught with scheduling issues. Apparently the trains may stop running by the time I land on the night of the 19th. And when I need to get back to the airport to catch my connecting flight out, it’s over a holy day and thus I find out now public transport apparently doesn’t run. I don’t know if taxis even run as I’m not entirely clear on what’s what.

Basically my preparation has turned out to be a recognition that all plans are FUBAR’d… an apt acronym as here’s yet ANOTHER epigraph for you:

In preparing for battle I have always found that plans are useless, but planning is indispensable.
— Dwight D. Eisenhower

So, yeah, I *guess* I tried to plan. But I half-assed it… as I have half-assed so many things of late. You would think that if combined enough half assed things I’d wind up with a full ass of something… and maybe I have. Maybe I’m the full jackass who thought he could just wing it.

Sigh. I’m freaking out and melting down and I’m really, really scared I’ve totally screwed this up.

So one final epigraph. And this one is hilariously pretentious and out of place and yet always of a piece of my typical “movie quotes as life” modus writingus operandi:

“Take a knee!” — Cypher Raige (Will Smith), After Earth (2013)

“Fear is not real. The only place that fear can exist is in our thoughts of the future. It is a product of our imagination, causing us to fear things that do not at present and may not ever exist. That is near insanity Kitai. Do not misunderstand me, danger is very real, but fear is a choice. We are all telling ourselves a story and that day mine changed.” — Also Cypher Raige (Will Smith), After Earth (2013)

Perhaps there’s still time to write a new ending for my travels, a new ending before the story begins.  But that, that might truly be insanity.

What do I hope for then?  I guess I hope I have the incompetence to accept the things I cannot change, the again incompetence to change the things I can, and the please, please incompetence to not know the difference.

Because if the incompetent are the only ones who have adventures, isn’t that the life I want?

Am I not then perfectly poised for a great adventure?

Adventure favors the ill-prepared mind and body… and if that’s true, well, here I go.