what is success?

What is success?

by Janice Nigro

You meet a lot of people in a sort of migratory state while traveling around the world. Some are starting out life on their own in a new country while others are well into their lives and still open to new adventures. Some seem lost or not sure about what they are doing while others have had incredibly lucrative careers and are living out a dream that they have had for a lifetime. Or maybe it is just an extended adventure.

A cruise director on a boat in Indonesia a few years ago (six to be exact) seemed to fall into the category of dude from the USA hanging out in Indonesia. You wonder when you meet such people how they got the idea to leave everything they know. Was it a romantic idea? Was it a plan? Or couldn’t keep or want a job in the Western world so just left?

The guy was pretty young for the job. He had never dove (or is it dived?) the waters we were in and he seemed a bit out of place managing an entire boat of Indonesians who were pretty good at doing the job without him. I wasn’t sure what his purpose was in this context-I suppose some sort of liaison for Western guests-except that the crew were incredibly friendly and knowledgeable.

I wanted to think this guy was a little lost way out there. What kind of career path is this-I said to myself from my academic viewpoint of life. And then you say to yourself, wait a minute-he got a one way ticket to somewhere he had never been, didn’t speak the language, and found a job where he cruises around beautiful islands in Indonesia. And then you wonder who is lost.

I met this person again three years later-serendipitously in paradise, very remote paradise. Even for Indonesians, Sorong in West Papua is remote. He was still a cruise director of sorts but for another boat/company. But now he was with a beautiful young woman whom he was going to marry. I can’t imagine a more exotic place than Raja Ampat for a marriage proposal (this alone indicates he has superior characteristics). They are married now, and the two of them are living on an idyllic island, working and diving with people from around the world. Maybe it is a dream job-maybe not-I am not sure how it is to manage guests like me and well the business of scuba diving and boats on the sea has inherent risks too.

But sailing around Bali or Raja Ampat or the whole of Indonesia with the love of your life…well that’s a storyline that seems could only be made up for a movie.

It isn’t uncommon in Indonesia to meet other individuals and couples like them. Many couples managing dive boats have met as dive guides on other liveaboards or at other dive resorts. For one couple-she was a dive guide who was disciplined when it came to her own guests, but not when he was her dive guide. I wonder how two people who meet on holiday know this is the one. I am always in awe of such individuals especially the single women who give it all up to go live somewhere on their own. I did it, but I sometimes think it was cheating. Europe is safe…sort of.

It started me to think about what it means to be successful. We talk and write a lot about success and money. Success seems to be a lot about numbers. More money, more manuscripts, more customers = success. A certain amount of money, manuscripts, and customers is critical to survival and so-called success in the Western world, but after that isn’t it just more of things? Many people I meet in Indonesia for example work very hard without extraordinary salaries and they are happy, they play music, they sing, they find true love.

It’s a romantic idea because there are some realities in paradise too-like motorbikes and accidents, infant mortality, natural disasters, even broken hearts, and maybe a lot of rain. It is the idea though of leaving the path. It’s also success.

©2016 Janice Marie Nigro/janikiInk.com

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4 thoughts on “what is success?

  1. Reminds me of Emerson’s description of success. Success, happiness, fulfilment all seem to be connected. I like your observations on the realities of existence that are true for all of us. I wonder if being successful has to do with one’s determination to be so in whatever way they find it (happiness, fulfilment etc.) Similar to how some say that happiness must come from within and not from exogenous sources. Pretty cool observation is, Janice. Always enjoy reading your articles.

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