As of this writing, I am now sitting in a cafe in Manila, where I have been for the past three days since leaving Indonesia. The video above is the summation of my talents in one piece of work: my filming and video editing, my humanitarian aid and development knowledge and effort, my writing, language skills, and photography, and voice over work.
The lessons I have learned over in Indonesia working in ChildFund come from a lot of introspection, which in turn was derived from stepping outside of my comfort zone into a sea of unique cultures around the country, learning a new language, meeting and making new friends, and doing something for people besides myself for the sake of a funny concept that is underrated: compassion.
As you can see in my videos–especially the eastern Indonesia one–I made a difference for a man and a child who have never met each other in person, who in turn were affecting each other’s lives from both giving and receiving support. Put aside the fact it’s a powerful message for the efforts of my employer and how their work is justified, and you can see how love impacts the world. When I think of all the hardship I endured and self-doubt, I look at the face of Sisilia in the video upon seeing David telling her he loves her, and listen to the voice mail David left for me about how he has watched the video numerous times after it brought tears to his eyes. He offered me some more support knowing I’m not in the best financial situation, but I told him to put it where it really matters: continuing his charitable help with Sisilia and others who need it more.
I’m a young man and these videos have shown I have value–not just from the hard skills, but in having a kind heart and believing that I can make the world any way I wish it to be. I’ve not only made a difference in the lives of the people I’ve met and informed those who are unaware of these issues they face, but I’ve also made good art.
To travel, to enjoy the company of like-minded travelers, to eat wonderful food given by very hospitable Muslims breaking fast during the Ramadan, to experience the sights, sounds, and scents of a marketplace at night, to do honorable work serving others, and to make art: what more could anyone ask for?
I exist in the world, but I suddenly doubt the existence of the self. “I” is a concept that loses meaning upon realizing that there is more in this world alone beyond the reach of my arm’s length. A wonderful feeling that connects us to something beyond, moving from the limiting thoughts of “me, me, me” and into “we, we, we” that liberates us from attachment. When seeing the sun set over Prambanan temple in central Java, that sense of wonder and awe comes to travelers past, present, and future, a feeling which is best described as “knowing that there’s something greater out there and that others feel the same way too.”
From here on out, I head to Bangkok on the 30th. Who knows where I will work? What friends I will make? What causes I will further? All I know is, I’m going to keep traveling, serving the planet and all sentient beings who call it home, and making good art.