"They say that men who have seen the world, thereby become quite at ease in manner, quite self-possessed in company."
-Moby Dick by Herman Melville
"I had noticed also that Queequeg never consorted at all, or but very little, with the other seamen in the inn. He made no advances whatever; appeared to have no desire to enlarge the circle of his acquaintances, there was almost something sublime in it. Here was a man some twenty thousand miles from home - thrown in among people as strange to him as though he were from the planet Jupiter; and yet he seemed entirely at his ease; preserving the utmost serenity; content with his own companionship; always equal to himself"
Moby Dick by Herman Melville
It's now been over a year on the road. Full of shitty pillows, sleeping alone in unfamiliar beds, wearing the same clothes, clothes which have been pulled out of the same rucksack after having the same conversations with the same kind of people and seeing all of these old burned out ex-patriots with sallow cheeks, smoking their cigarettes and drinking their beers for breakfast, all of them with some distant hazed out gaze. Sometimes I think I may crack. It is starting to get really lonely out here. That is why I left though right? I wanted to face this loneliness. Careful what you wish for.
Life is stuck on repeat. In different towns and cities all over the world, the sun sets and rises again. The ocean breathes. The scarabs greet the moon. I went to a beautiful Island in Southern Thailand, in the Adaman sea, for about a week. But I gotta say islands are lame when you're on your own, by their nature they're romantic, full of people strolling by hand in hand, like some God damn romantic comedy. It made me want to smack the sunset across its bright shining face. It was a crushing experience, but in that crushing came a realization, that I freak the fuck out when I have nothing to do, I need a constant distraction. That is what the drink gives me, it provides me with an escape, something to bring me out of reality, that's what the weed does, it alters my experience and makes it something else. More than ever though, I am determined to be of clear mind.
The thing is: I'm in quite an amazing space, with an amazing opportunity sitting in my lap. When else in my life have I ever had this much free time at my disposal? Never. The average lifetime lasts around 650,000 hours - there are only so many days, only so many hours. Here in Thailand, on this other continent with no one to be accountable to I don't want to just fuck off and party all of the time, that sounds like such a fucking waste. I have my craft, which I can study and work at - when I am tattooing I have something to focus on. I can study new crafts as well, I decided without a doubt that I will write a book, so I am starting to do that - or working towards that goal. Last year was one of the best of my life. Bar none. But it was full of partying. This trip will not go on forever and it's starting to drag on a little bit here and there - you know, no matter where you go there you are. And I am here. And for Christ's sake I want something to show for it. I want an amazing sketchbook, I want great, descriptive writing, good photos, and paintings. I want to leave a trail of rad tattoos. I want stories. I want to make the most of this and have something tangible to show for it. Also I want to be present in the here and now, like Quuequeg, entirely at my ease, content with my own companionship, always equal to myself. Fuck loneliness.
I will be heading into Laos in the next week and then into Vietnam, may my mind and my hands communicate as they should, so that I can fully document and comprehend my surroundings.
Chiang Mai, Thailand