Winter Flashbacks

December 30th, 2012 – Salish Sea, British Columbia

It’s cold here. Tired and seeking warmth, I close my eyes and fade away into my mind for memories of the past year. Here’s a bit of what I uncovered in my head when I was listening to this song…

Inspired by Noah Cohen’s 2012 Innersection entry.

Advertisements

Coming Unstuck – Today’s Travel Inspiration

Image

“There was once a man who became unstuck in the world. He took the wind for a map. He took the sky for a clock and he set off with no destination. He was never lost.” -Castles in the Sky

One of the greatest things about surfing is that it so naturally goes hand in hand with travel.

I’ve just emerged from a month in Bangladesh, where we surfed nearly every single day. And while Bangla’s waves can hardly compare to the world-class breaks of Indonesia where I spent the previous 2 months, it has consistent swell and the beach breaks can get as fun as anywhere. But here it wasn’t about the quality of waves but the adventure: walking through villages where the locals were dumbfounded at never having seen this ‘surfboard’ thing before, exploring the coastline, finding and surfing unnamed breaks near the Burmese border, just you and your friend, the first and only people to ever have surfed these breaks. This is what made it so memorable. Surfers are adventurous, DIY types – it’s always been a part of the culture since the days of The Endless SummerMorning of the Earth and The Forgotten of Santosha. You have to be. The search for waves has led me to places off the beaten path that I never would have ended up otherwise. But whether you’re a surfer or not, I recommend the surf-travel movies Sipping Jetstreams and Castles in the Sky. I hope they’ll stir the wanderer in your soul and inspire you to walk out the door on that next unexpected, unforeseen adventure.

Happy trails:)

Song: The Summer We Raised You by Years around the Sun

Gearing up for a mission in Cox’s Bazaar. Destination: St Martin’s Island, Bangladesh’s southernmost point, next to Burma.

Boarding the ferry at Teknaf, stoked for exploration and uncharted waves.

Bengali boats in the hazy-bronze light of the late afternoon.

Commandeering a fishing boat to access distant reef breaks. The locals were amazed and confused.

Late sun and traditional fishing boats on an inlet near the Burmese (Myanmar) border.

I dreamt of a leap year.


It’s as if I closed my eyes and had a year-long dream.  The only thing indicating the passage of time is an extra foot of hair on my head.

I just had the craziest dream.

Upon waking, I found myself standing on the street in front of PODs backpackers in KL.

Here I am standing exactly where I was one year ago. It’s as if I closed my eyes and had a really long, crazy dream. And when I awoke, you guys were gone. The only thing indicating the passage of time is a foot of extra hair on my head. Wearing the same shirt, with the same bag on my back, eating at the same restaurant.

What is the point of travel? It sometimes feels like a pretty useless form of escapism. A lazy hazy permanent vacation. Does it serve others than yourself? I like to tell myself it makes the world a better place by increasing one human’s understanding and awareness of the lives and situations of humans of different lands. The way of living you are exposed to in the bubble of your life isn’t the only way of living and being. Humans are diverse and the more you experience the more you become a more complete being, a more rounded consciousness. Hopefully this will spill over into your decision making. Wiser, broader view-pointed decisions. I think it’s made me more compassionate.

When is the right time to go home? It sometimes feels like a pretty selfish form of escapism. There are others back at home that miss you. You have removed yourself from their lives. Distance-covering communications will never replace being there for them. Is it when someone gets sick? Someone dies? Do you stick to your plans and keep on wandering the earth in spite of this? Will you only go home when you miss them too much, and not the other way around?

Whether the dream was real or not, the question is does it matter?

Lately I haven’t been seeing as many ‘sights’. Oh, I’ve been seeing a lot. Just not running around like a recent grad on their first 4-month trip around SEA (aka like a chicken with it’s head cut off). I’ve been seeing the stuff you only see when you stop trying so hard to see things.

I feel tired. I’m tired because I have no home. I’ve been living out of a bag for 425 days now. Humans need a home, and home will never be the road. Those who travel forever are running from something they won’t face, or searching for something they’ll never find, or just plain lazy beyond salvation.

Sometimes these days, I just feel like I want to go home.

http://youtu.be/DHEOF_rcND8


Snapshots from the year-long dream that was:

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Far from Home.

“We’re far from St. Bruno right now…”

If the scene isn’t forever etched in my memory, then the feeling sure will be.

We avoid the garbage and puddles, before stepping out into the oncoming traffic. It’s something I’ve learnt to do without hesitation by now: the crossing of a busy asian street. The trick is to just walk slowly and confidently and let the river of smoky, puttering scooters and bemos flow around you.

We dodge the traffic mêlée without incident. The smells of the central market hang in the hot, humid air, overpowering the smell of street garbage and exhaust fumes that is ever-present in SouthEastAsia. The haunting sound of the dhuhr adhan (the muslim midday call for prayer) drifts from some unseen loudspeakers high above the scene; it adds a sort of calmness and timelessness that blankets the car horns and bustling activity below. Buildings built in the traditional Minangkabao (West Sumatran) style of rumah gadang (upsweeping roofs symbolizing bull horns) dominate the low skyline at the market entrance, some still damaged from a shattering 7.6 magnitude earthquake 2 years ago.

We’re in Padang: a port city on the South-West coast of Sumatra. We’ve come to the central market – a place where you can find just about anything – to buy a machète (to be used for cutting open coconuts… but we’ll get to that another time) and other assorted supplies. There’s nothing out on the islands, everything we’ll need to bring.

“I’m filled with a familiar feeling – a feeling I’ll never forget…  It is the true feeling of adventure – that anything is possible – and it never ceases to excite me to the point of bursting.”

The colourful stalls of the market appear and we are swallowed by the bustle of activity – vendors, horse-drawn carriages, fruit stalls, fake watches…

I soak it all in. I’m filled with a familiar feeling – a feeling I’ll never forget. It’s the same feeling I had 6 years ago when I first stepped off the rickety tin plane into Laos. The feeling that returned when I stepped off the plane in Kuala Lumpur this past May, and the humidity and smells of Asia first hit you. It is the true feeling of adventure – that anything is possible – and it never ceases to excite me to the point of bursting.

————————————————————————————————-

The dugout boat is tippy: it’s full of all our gear, construction supplies and 8 people (us, a local family and our new Indo friend Sironi). The puttery outboard steers off the muddy river into a narrow side channel. As we glide through the muddy backwaters of the Mentawai jungle, Phil turns to me: “Dude, we’re out there…”

My heart is filled with excitement.

venturing to Nyang Nyang in the Mentawai Islands, Indian Ocean


————————————————————————————————-