Note: The Rules & Guidelines for the Yes Quest can be found here.
Throughout my year of travel, each month has been marked by a particularly notable relationship or shared experience designed to help me navigate whatever issue each country stirrs up inside of me. In Thailand, when I was in the depths of breaking away from the invisible threads that chained me to my life in New York City, my dive master helped me manage my incapacitating anxiety levels and channel it into the calm zen of the underwater world. An American expat in Cambodia changed my entire life...though, it didn't play out in the way we thought it would. In Croatia, I found comfort in the Uber driver who returned to drive me home day after day. In Mexico, the relationship between my first ever boss truly transitioned from boss to mentor to friend to family. In Canada, I thanked my 18 year old self for having such good taste in a friend who 13 years later, basically adopted me into his life.
This string of wonderful people began in Malaysia, though, when I met Nik through Remote Year. Nik is Malaysian, and it was his job to make sure everything went smoothly, which turned into an impossible task given that 75 western people basically descended on Kuala Lumpur without warning, only to find out that the entire country is filled with malogic and ghosts.
At the time I was recently detoxing from a string of anti-depressants and anti-anxiety pills that I had been on for fifteen years, none of which were monitored during that time, and therefore created havoc on my system when I finally weaned off. Throw in unending drama around the bakery, filming Chopped, moving out of my apartment, rehoming my dog, saying goodbye to my NYC life, a (still) mysterious illness and diagnosis, a death in the family, and the prospect of traveling around the world for a year with a bunch of strangers...well, I was a fucking mess when I arrived in Kuala Lumpur and I did not adjust well.
Nik, because he's a wonderful human, picked up on this and we struck up a friendship that existed outside of the Remote Year framework. When the energy of Kuala Lumpur seemed to seep into my body and leave me in a raw and unstable state, he let me come on errands or join in on a day trip outside of the city, just to get away. He's supported my writing and my work in a way that actually makes me believe that I have something useful to say, and has a way of communicating his thoughts into words that are ever so slightly different from everyone else. He coined the term — my favorite phrase — "just keep transmitting."
I wrote about this back in October:
It's on these days where I remember the words of my friend, just keep transmitting. His words are a wonderful result of a Malay to English translation error. In English, someone may have said, "just keep creating" or "just keep writing" or even "just keep being." These statements are nice, but they imply that the creation or the writing or the being is coming from inside my head, from the oft broken little man.
But transmitting...transmitting is different. Transmitting moves the energy and the thoughts and the emotions from one place to another.
Whether intentional or not, when I was talking to him about the Yes Test today, he used the term "Yes Quest" instead, which feels so much more true. This is a quest, not a test. A "test" implies pass or fail, and that it is a means to an end. "Quest," of course, is a fluid journey of discovery. Also, Yes Test, though it rhymed and was easy to remember, conjured up the idea in my head of a positive pregnancy test or a yeast infection...which is not good for marketing.
So thanks to Nik, the Yes Test is no more, and I am officially rebranding to Yes Quest thanks to my favorite Malaysian friend.