wanderlust home

my RTW trip| RTW journal entries | places | photos | about me | about this site | links

(currently on hold pending further funding)

november 2003
   -view old intro

what a long, strange trip it's been. though somehow not long enough and never strange enough for my experience-hungry brain. my gypsy blood pounds ever more forcefully at the door to my soul, and i have been allowed just a sweet sample of the unfathomable unknown for which i am perpetually voracious... but i don't give up easily, and don't worry, it ain't over yet.

in october of last year i set out with more money than i had ever had at one time in my life- $20k, and more ambition than i ever realized previously i possessed- a plan to see the world solo. i gave up my beautiful loft in brooklyn (NY), put all of my wordly goods (my classic schwinn! my bass guitar!) into storage, and paid up for a year. i gave away my pet turtles, quit my job, and said a fond, confused goodbye to my from then on ex-boyfriend 'x' (who was on the same quest though in a much different direction). waved adieu to my scattered few friends (later redefined as acquaintances), and set off with fingers crossed and heart in throat to meet my destiny.

about one month into my journey i realized my destiny could not be manipulated to fit my needs. my itinerary had included thailand, cambodia, laos, vietnam, japan, nepal, india, ecuador, brazil, morocco, egypt (cairo), turkey, greece, italy, spain, london-paris-amsterdam, prague, budapest, warsaw. possibly a couple of south pacific islands and maybe new zealand...as you will see i never made it out of asia in this past year, in fact only barely touching on the first third of that list. the beautiful and complex diversions on my path included a tangled love affair with an island boy almost right off the bat(!), which taught me more about cultural differences than i ever hoped to learn. another was the unanticipated realization of the fact that the world can not be "seen" in such a short time with so little money- at least not in the way i'd really like to see it. i fall in love easily, with a place, with the people... it's not as easy to be free as you'd think, even when you are free. i immerse myself passionately, but at the same time idealistically, and i never quite "see" things until they become hindsight. but it's easier to "see" if you spend time in a place looking, rather than skipping around here and there not touching much beneath the surface. i am learning, and i want to gorge myself on more and more of whatever life throws my way. at the same time i have realized that the places that really matter are few and far between, and i am becoming more amenable to the idea of settling in one that really matters to me. i will never "settle" in the traditional definition of the word, but i want to live happily and i plan to accept nothing less, and the venue of my "real life" is just as important as those of my travelling.

along the way i found an outlet in my writing, an ever evolving journey of self- (and life-)discovery in print. my opinions, beliefs, values and ideals have all continually altered and been refined as the months tripped past, and in my journal you can read the evolution in it's whole, from the ups (zooming up a cliffside towards a himalayan village in nepal, head soaring with a combination of the local hash scored from an ancient village man in his mountain hovel, and the mindblowing gifts of nature surrounding me), to the downs (stagnation and uncertainity in a beachside bungalow surrounded by strange people i couldn't trust and who ended up threatening to murder me).

one thing i continually bumped up against was a rather undesirable new awareness of
the volatility of human nature, especially in the more third world countries, which are full of desperate, broken people (ahem, india) who view western travellers as saviors and who stomp on and scramble over (both figuratively and literally) their fellow life livers to get their piece of the salvation action. i have never been a religious person (i consider myself agnostic), but as a result along the lines i discovered a spirituality of sorts... i am a much calmer, more open minded person. i have a better understanding of peoples' underlying motives. and at the same time i have ended up with a rather militant perspective and a few unswavering morals. the absolute number one is honesty- i have sworn to myself that if i have only one life to live (and who can tell otherwise?) then i will live it as ME, to the best of my ability, and i refuse to put up any fronts or hide behind any pretensions. take me or leave me, i will be true to myself. number two is that though i am selfish and ruthless about getting what i want, it is possible to be selfish and ruthless without hurting others. in fact i have acquired a passionate desire to help those less fortunate be THEMselves, and to grab life by the balls and really live it, no matter what consitions they are forced to be in.

i could go on but you'll get the picture... READ ON.

also read 'x's eloquent explanation of his trip in retrospect, most of which applies to mine as well.


© 2000-2003 elocin