To be clear, I’m not a drug or alcohol user these days. It’s not that I’m a prude; I’m just practical. As a fairly busy person, I find it hard to rationalize losing precious morning work time to recover from a hangover.

But there was a time however…

It’s January, 1998. After a full day of visiting the amazing Angkor Wat ruins, my buddy, Cenzo, and I have worked up a healthy hunger. When we hear there’s a pizza place in town, we’re all in. Happy Herb pizza is a bright clean place with a nice selection of pies. I’d recommend the place for the quality of their food alone. Yummy pizzas! However, in-the-know travelers come to Happy Herb for an alternate reason. You see, the restaurant serves two types of pizza: regular and happy. A regular pizza is seasoned with conventional spices, ie. basil and oregano. A “happy” pizza is essentially “seasoned” with cannabis. How high you fly comes down to the ordering process. If you want a relatively small buzz, you ask for a “little happy.” A step up from that is a “regular happy.” And if you want to fly yourself to the moon, you order an “extra happy.” As my buddy and I are hungry (for experience), we order a “little happy” and a “regular happy.” Nothing happens for the first 30 minutes; we’re just eating pizza. Then I start to notice my reality shifting. The shadow of the ceiling fan on the wall becomes rather fascinating. The pizza tastes astonishingly good. The conversation is hysterical! Hey, what do you know, I’m feeling “happy!”

When you’re traveling in developing countries, every decision is a calculation. I made a considered choice to sample the enhanced pies of Happy Herb pizza, knowing that getting back to our hotel (a couple of miles away) would be a challenge. In the end, we wind up hiring motorcycle taxis to transport us back to our rooms. It could’ve gone badly. We could have been robbed. The bikes could’ve crashed. Luckily, our drivers are honest (and competent). We make it home safely, and yes, happily.

(How confident are you in your decision process? It can play both ways, can’t it? You can be over-confident, getting yourself into all sorts of trouble. Or you can doubtful, undercutting your decisions and missing out on all sorts fantastic experience. There’s no magic bullet when it comes to decisions. Trust your gut. Learn from experience. And be “happy” about what happens, even the mistakes. It’s ALL an experience!)