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Good travel hunting (a search for destiny)

October 1, 2010
by budgettravelsac

I’m not one to watch movies.  Ever since I was a kid, I never really had much interest in them.  I do watch them every now and then but it’s not something I enjoy doing.  I go to the theater and rent movies about once every 2 years.  And occasionally, I will watch them on TV.  Last night, I watched a movie I hadn’t seen in a long time.

Good Will Hunting

Will Hunting is a genius at math – one of the smartest people in the world.  The thing is, he never went to college, works as a janitor, has a history of assault and getting in trouble, and just likes to hang out with his friends and drink beer.  He’s so intelligent that he can be intimidating but he’s not what you would picture a genius to be.  He is a tough kid from the south of Boston who knows a little bit about a lot of things and uses his knowledge to protect himself from others.

Will Hunting is a fragile, insecure individual who has a hard time letting people in and trusting.  He’s afraid to get hurt and his defense mechanisms consist of bravado, intelligence, and toughness to keep people away.  He is so wounded by his past as an orphan that he doesn’t want to move forward in life.  He wants the same friends, the same life, and wants things to stay the same as they are because people can’t get close and he can’t get hurt.

Eventually, Will is broken as a counselor is able to reach inside and connect with him.  Will learns to trust and is finally able to deal with the pain of his past so that he can move forward.  Will’s life is changed and he realizes the potential of his genius and takes off in the pursuit of life and love.

Lessons Learned

Although there is a bit too much cursing for my tastes, I really love this movie.  Maybe it’s because I can identify with it so much.  Will was a guy blessed with talents and abilities.  However, he wasn’t able to connect with other people and used defense mechanisms to keep people away and keep himself from realizing his potential.  He spent so much time preventing pain that he never embraced who he was and never chose to figure out what his dreams were.

I’ve been there.  I know what it means to develop defense mechanisms to protect yourself.  You do it so much, it becomes part of who you are.  I know what it means to not understand who you really are and have no clue what your dreams or aspirations are.

No, my life wasn’t as difficult as his but I definitely understand those habits, defense mechanisms, and the process of being broken down so you can be built back up.  I know what it means to not be satisfied in life because you don’t know what you really want or even who you really are.

When I got into college, I had declared my major to be engineering.  The truth is, I didn’t want to do that but had no idea what I wanted to do.  In setting up my classes, I spent two hours figuring out what I should take.  What did I get my degree in?  Accounting.  My counselor suggested I try it, it was the first class I ever took, and I did well.  Four years later, I had a degree.

Was it what I wanted to do?  No – I’ve never done a days worth of accounting in my life.  I’ve worked on the accounting system and IT side of it for years.  And while it’s been fun at times, I have still longed for something more fulfilling in life.  Maybe I should have never majored in accounting at all.

Tartu's university (Estonia)

Good travel hunting

I’ve talked about job satisfaction, passion, and travel writing before.  However, part of that discovery, like Will, involves healing from the past.  You can never know who you really are if who you’ve become is defined by bad habits which have kept you from being yourself and protected yourself from being hurt by others.  I don’t say that with sadness or a desire for pity.  I don’t think Will Hunting wanted that either.

The best way I can define it is like this.  It’s like a bunch of people holding you back from a race.  You didn’t even know they were there and you never knew you were running.  Yet all this time, you realized you weren’t ever going anywhere when you should have been.

Growing up, I honestly never had many passions or dreams.  As a kid, I wanted to play baseball.  And I pursued that dream all the way through college.  When I was in college, I remember a passion and excitement came from deep within – that first trip to Estonia.  Outside of that, my only dreams were to get good grades, go to college, and graduate.

My life was similar to Will Hunting – it was safe, I could control it, and I was painfully apathetic to my own needs, desires, and identity.

So who am I?  What is my passion?  I go back to that memory of those 10 days in Estonia.  Those feelings and that passion, evident to so many people around me, have never left.  Maybe that is what I am supposed to pursue.  Maybe that’s my destiny.

Good Will Hunting.  Meet Good Travel Hunting.

Cartoon treasure hunting photo (Credit: HikingArtist), Matt Damon photo (Credit: nicogenin), Tartu University (Credit: Gerdy Ling)

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6 Comments leave one →
  1. October 1, 2010 7:22 pm

    I have to say for someone who doesn’t like films that much, you sure picked one of the most famous and excellent films in history to blog about. There seems to be a bit of Will Hunting in everyone of us. Even those who deeply believe they’ve got everything figured out. But eventually, that door is opened and once you find that one thing truly makes you want to aim higher, you can’t escape from it. Even if that inspiration is but a girl.

    By the way, superb acting by the great Robin Williams, don’t you think?

    • October 1, 2010 7:38 pm

      I believe that is the film that Damon and Affleck wrote together that got them started. It’s been years since I’ve seen it but that is an awesome movie. The plot, the acting, the characters – I think it is a wonderful study of psychology and digs deep into the human character and soul. Indeed, Robin Williams was excellent.

      Maybe you are right. Maybe there is a bit of Will Hunting in all of us. But his life seems to parallel mine more than I care to share on here. Two scenes from that movie stand out – 1) Robin Williams asking him “what do you want to do?” and Will having no answer because he didn’t know and 2) that scene where he tells him over and over “it’s not your fault” and he finally breaks. I can identify with both and think they are incredibly powerful.

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts. It will probably be a very long time before I blog about a movie again. A couple of years at least. :)

  2. October 1, 2010 7:55 pm

    I love the movies. I worked in the movie industry early in my work life, and for many years saw 2 or 3 movies in the movie theater a week. You’re not really missing much these days… films like Good Will Hunting that succeed in evoking so much in people are few and far between. I think the best movies are the ones where as Rennis touches on above, there is a little bit of the central character in all of us. Getting those things that we all have in common up on the screen? Not so easy. Nice post – I feel as if I really learned a little bit about you :)

    • October 5, 2010 12:10 pm

      This could be another post altogether but I am not a big fan of TV or movies. Sure, I watch it from time to time but honestly, I rebel against them a little because of the way I grew up. There are some great movies out there but if I never saw another one again, would I really be missing anything?

      I guess having kids has given me another perspective on all of this. I don’t want them watching TV. I would rather them enjoy time with a book, playing, or just hanging out with friends or mom and dad. In the end, I don’t think anyone misses out if they don’t have TV or movies. It’s something we do and movies like this can always be moments to teach and reflect.

      Thanks for taking the time to share your thoughts Margo and I am sure there will be more of me that I will dissect in the future! :)

  3. October 3, 2010 3:58 pm

    Glad you’ve found your passion!

    • October 5, 2010 12:06 pm

      Thanks Leslie! As you know, it’s a work in progress! :)

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