“Terminal wanderlust: a condition common to people of transient middle-class upbringings. Unable to feel rooted in any one environment, they move continually in the hopes of finding an idealized sense of community in the next location.” Douglas Coupland, Generation X.
Recently, I’ve been joking to my friends that I’ll be living the Ernest Hemingway life living in exile once I leave the United States for Indonesia. Then I realize, where am I exiling myself from? I don’t really see America as my homeland, and knowing it’s my last few weeks here before the next adventure, that automatically puts me in adventure mode.
It’s a challenge to remind myself that even after being in America for ten years, this is still a foreign place for me despite my blue passport (which I recently renewed). I may think the American government is run by apes whom I vote for habitually, but what can I say? I’d rather participate in the madness while I’m here rather than take the bystander approach and complain about things I did nothing about.
Likewise, travel happens every moment. Every place is a moment in time with different people, events, sights, sounds, and tastes, plus the occasional spontaneous encounter with another neurotic soul looking for a break from routine. For that reason, I’m enjoying my last twenty days remaining in California, for while I’m accustomed to this as the every day I’ve seen for nearly ten years, soon enough, it will be a memory and I don’t have enough pictures to show people what I was sick and tired of. Likewise, in Kenya or Indonesia, those same people would like to get away from the every day that is different and unique for me.
It all becomes a cycle and eventually, I’ll pass through Europe, Africa, and Asia before thinking I should visit my friends in America once again. Of course, over time, I’ll make more friends in other countries and have to visit them too. That is what I’m doing now, since many friends are now in France, Indonesia, and Thailand. Is the moral of this story “don’t make friends, they’re expensive?” Well, friendship is priceless, so I think that the tradeoff being a little more credit card debt at most isn’t fair–but it’s in my favor, because what accountants see is not what I experience and enjoy from traveling and creating long-lasting bonds.
Lateral growth is important for sanity, and in traveling, time becomes a commodity people respect and appreciate more since your presence is a blink in time. It prevents you from getting too attached to the insanity of social circles while remembering you are a guest and have the rest of humanity’s seven billion people legion to meet, greet, befriend, go on a few dates with, exchange a few insults with, or forget about entirely (sometimes getting all of those in one individual). And for that reason, every person is a story worth sharing, good and bad.
Traveling’s what I’m doing now, and volunteering is my way to give back to humanity while getting the enrichment it offers.
So why is this reflective piece here instead of on my personal blog where these usually go to? Because in the words of the immortal Hunter S. Thompson: “A professional is someone who can get work because he’s that good at what he does”, and “When the going gets weird, the weird goes pro”. What does a person who writes, films, photographs, and edits videos get to do? A lot, actually–I’ve been working the past few weeks on projects, including one for Seattle’s Most Talented, an event hosted by my friend’s NGO, Angels for Angels–also another group I currently offer my media skills to. When you’re good at something, never do it for free, but that doesn’t mean only for a paycheck though.
What’s next? Soon, the consolidation of this WordPress blog and my personal WordPress blog into one domain name with all my writing, photography, and film, plus links to my other projects. Keep watching these blogs, but keep your bookmarks at www.heyitsjohnnyc.com. Time to keep rockin’ on into the next half of 2012.