Tuesday, February 12, 2008

I can't think of anymore blog titles

I haven't written in a while. I guess after the experience at the train station in Lao Cai there just wasn't much I could follow that up with. The rest of my time in Vietnam passed, but I suppose that is all I could say. Just that it passed. I saw a few things and celebrated Tet, but nothing was that exciting. This is probably due to the horrible bout I had with what I am diagnosing as dysentery. I am basing this diagnosis on two pieces of evidence. 1.) I took Tinidazole (as a last resort) and within two days was feeling much better. 2.) I shit like I had dysentery! There is a great book that I would recommend to anyone as an essential travel book. In the book Are You Experienced by William Sutcliffe our hero, Dave, is traveling in India when he comes down with terrible travelers diarrhea. Here is how he describes it. "Imagine pouring cow pat into a cricket bowling machine (essentially a pitching machine) and turning it to the highest speed setting. That was my new experience with shitting." Like Dave I had never experienced anything as truely horrific as what I went through my last four days in Hanoi. I was unable to eat for three days and left my hotel only one time over a two day period of time. I spent most of my time in the bathroom or huddled under a couple of blankets on my bed.

With yet another illness behind me I arrived in Bangkok absolutely famished. Luckily there are more than enough street stands to accommodate a starving traveler so for the past two days I have been doing very little other than stuffing food in my face. God bless Thailand and all it's glorious (and cheap) food.

Lying in bed with dysentery gives you a lot of time to think about what you are doing and why you are traveling. This trip....what to say about this trip. I have been wandering the globe for over six months now and well...shit...I am amazed at how much I have changed. Everyday something reminds me that I am not the same person I was six months ago. I left Seattle without a single friend from another continent and now I consider myself fortunate enough to have friends all over the world. But it is not external factors like meeting people or seeing new places that have really changed me. Rather I have changed myself. On some deep level this trip has stripped away everything that I thought about myself. It took months for this to happen but at some point in time (Actually I think it was during round one in Thailand) I hit rock bottom. I was so confused as to why I was here and what I was doing. Completely lost and utterly depressed it was not until I arrived in Don Det, Laos and became friends with a young Laotian boy named Bong that I began to understand why I was traveling. Not to see the world, but to find yourself in the world.

I look at the world with a different set of eyes these days. Everywhere I travel there are constant reminders of the human condition. Mass graves, refugee camps, and war memorials can be found everywhere I have traveled. Additionally, compassion, courage, and love are found in equal measure in every country that I have set foot in. How do I, as an individual, fit into this picture? That one persistent question is a reminder that I still have a lot more wandering and a lot more wondering to do before this trip is over. In some ways I realize now that, because I have so much to question and so much to learn about myself and the world I live in, this trip will never truly end. David Bonderman did far more than simply provide me with the means to travel for 8 months he placed me on a path that has changed my life. This trip, my wandering and wondering, will never end. I will carry on in spirit, if not in name, as a Bonderman fellow for as long as I shall live, and can only encourage those of you who have yet to step out into the world to do so. If you do, do so with love in your heart. The human condition is a vastly complex equation and the more love we carry, the more compassion we show our fellow man, the closer we come to finding a harmonious balance in which we may all have peace.


Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

Well said Agusto...