The 4th of January will be the middle of my trip and I’m trying to fathom what that means.
It holds such significance to be at this point, its like this trip is a small life and I’m middle aged. I’m due for a midlife crisis where I evaluate what I have already done and decide what I want from the rest of my little life. It matters what I do right now, it will decide who I come as and what kind of trip I come home from. Since there is half of my trip left I have enough time to change the theme and the goals, there is still enough time to influence the overall trip.
This is my 118th day abroad, or somewhere between 295 and 400 meals away from home. I have met amazing people and I’ve met some sickening people. I ate a poison frog, some roasted rooster balls, and more rice than I ever thought I’d eat. I’ve been in trains, planes, motorbikes, bicycles, cars and I’ve walked hundreds of miles through cities and jungles. I skinned a python, repelled down a waterfall, swam with sharks, scuba dove to 30 meters, ate river fish in the jungle, swam in bioluminescence, and had many more life changing, and somehow mundane experiences.
I cannot return as the same person that got on the plane in Seattle 4 months ago. I didn’t want to stay that person but I also don’t have a choice if I am really being honest with myself. I think self honesty is the most important kind of honesty and because of that I don’t think I’ll pretend that I’m going to start this second half of my trip with the same goals that I started the first half with.
I’m not afraid of cars anymore.
I see the extreme danger and occasionally I feel some fear but I’m not afraid like I was afraid. I used to feel tense just walking near a road, ever since I was hit by a car I have had an intensified anxiety towards cars. Driving, riding in cars and walking near roads would give my physical fear. But not now.
I have been on so many grime reaper inspired rides that I can’t quite feel the fear like I did.
This seems to be a eloquent example of the way I am a different person now. I am different in many ways just from exposure. I am more able to be rude to those that try to take advantage of me, I am more willing to push for what I want, I am more able to be honest about who I am to strangers and my world view includes many more factors than it once did. It’s not like I have become some enlightened person that suddenly understand things I didn’t know existed, no, its been a dull molding of old and new experiences. I am an amalgamation of pieces that came from different places, maybe that is why travel is so important. I will go home with pieces of Asia and than those pieces will drift into the people around me. Cultures will collide until we all understand each other.
Or maybe that’s bullshit, perhaps I’ll only come home knowing how to use chop sticks and wanting a burger.
There is something ironic about the new year and the middle of my trip being at the same time, and there is something very ironic about the story of my last day of the old year.
It was a miserable 8 hour ride to a town that seems to be largely avoided by most tourists. I woke up with the kind of sickness that made it hard to hear my alarm, my head was so stuffed up and everything hurt. I rode a motorbike to the bus and I wasn’t physically okay enough to feel any fear with the death defying ride. When I finally got to a hotel I was too sick to get food, and my head hurt badly enough to keep me from sleeping. I had to just stay up until I felt okay enough to finally sleep. I fell asleep just before midnight on the 31st of December. The day was a mess of pain and dysfunction, it seems ironic to feel like death at the end of the new, The metaphorical death of the year and this morning was the birth of another.
Like a baby experiencing his first breathes and faint movements I don’t feel totally good but somehow still better than yesterdays death.
And this is the part where I lean forward.
This last year Was and this year Is.