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How much does your life weigh? Imagine for a second that you’re carrying a backpack… I want you to feel the straps on your shoulders… You feel them? Now, I want you to pack it with all the stuff that you have in your life. Start with the little things. The stuff in drawers and on shelves. The collectibles and knick-knacks. Feel the weight as it adds up. Now, start adding the larger stuff. Your clothes, table top appliances, lamps, linens, your TV. That backpack should be getting really heavy at this point—go bigger. Your couch, your bed, your kitchen table. Stuff it all in… Your car, get it in there… Your home, … I want you to stuff it into that backpack. Now try to walk. Kinda hard isn’t it? This is what we do to ourselves on a daily basis. We weigh ourselves down until we can’t even move. And make no mistake—moving is living.
- Ryan Bingham, Up in the Air
There are people who pack everything with them to go everywhere, and they are forever weighed down by things that they think matter so much that they end up going nowhere. These people can’t let go, and they never move forward.
Then, there are people who are constantly on the move, who take take nothing along except the thrill of their transience. Even though they may form meaningful attachments along the way, meaning only lasts as long as it fits into the itinerary. These people can’t hold on, and they never truly love.
On these two ends of the spectrum are people I have little respect for. Moving is living; that is truth. But living should not be destructive, but constructive; not be regressive, but progressive.
I want to move. Always. But I want to perfect the art of moving with the minimum of maximum importance. To “hold fast what is good”, and to go where I’m supposed to be.
Purple hair ends. Zombie face. Backache. Sniffles. Borrowed shorts. Texting in the toilet.
It is 3.37am and I am hungry for dinner.
(And absolutely awake, not to mention)
- Drove a manual for the first time since TP test
- Hit 160 kph
- The British Museum
- Bleached and dyed my virgin hair
- Can officially locate the hot water with every kind of shower head (chances are, it’s marked out in red)
- Finally got the hang of dressing sufficiently and sufficiently fashionably in cold weather (it’s all about silhouette, and colour-coordinating the layers)
- Found the non-skanky black leather skirt I was looking for
- Deepened my relationship with my iPhone via a local data plan + extensive use of Google maps (the best travel companion)
- Walked absolutely everywhere for the first 5 days
- Bacon and eggs. Every. Single. Day.
- On average, chips (Brit for “fries”) twice every three days
- Had all my coffees without sugar (this is ground-breaking, given that I used to favour a 4:1 sugar cube to cup of tea ratio)
- Have not had rice for two weeks. And counting.
Where wanderlust is apparently the “in” thing these days, the notion of FLIGHT, of TAKING OFF and SOARING above civilisation to a new destination, is synonymous with freedom, adventure, novelty and anticipation. But flying makes me sad.
Each time during take-off, the anticipation/memory of the destination to come/just departed is involuntarily replaced by a tide from the past. As the plane leaves the ground, my mind is awash with memories of what I have ever left behind.
It’s ironic, isn’t it? The idea of remembering and feeling sad about something you have supposedly left behind. As C.S. Lewis is wont to be quoted,
"There are far, far better things ahead than any we leave behind"
But as I see the landscape below get smaller and smaller, I remember what I had once, and I remember what I have no more. As I think about my plane leaving the country, I think of people, places, feelings, hopes and dreams that I have had to let go of. I think of the finality of leaving them behind. I think of how letting go is usually the right choice and yet it is a painful one. I think of how the past is actually so inconsequential. And it makes me sad. To think that any living that I’ve ever lived, once precious and the only reality at that time, is a mere shadow in the fading hallways of things past. As if to prove my point, the clouds at some point begin to obscure the view of the departed disappearing ground.
Thankfully, all of the aforementioned angsty existential discourse happens only in the short window of take-off and quickly dissipates with in-flight entertainment and the like. It happens each take-off, nevertheless, as nostalgia is my Achilles’ heel. But it is quickly forgotten thereafter as more living ensues.
Although it is officially December in Singapore, it is still November in some of the places I’ve left behind. Thus, it is befitting to end off with this that moved me:
"If you’re reading this, if there’s air in your lungs on this November day, then there is still hope for you. Your story is still going. And maybe some things are true for all of us. Perhaps we all relate to pain. Perhaps we all relate to fear and loss and questions. And perhaps we all deserve to be honest, all deserve whatever help we need. Our stories are all so many things: Heavy and light. Beautiful and difficult. Hopeful and uncertain. But our stories aren’t finished yet. There is still time, for things to heal and change and grow. There is still time to be surprised. We are still going, you and I. We are stories still going."
- Jamie Tworkowski
One more month to end this year’s story better than last year’s.
BACON. And beauty.
—My trip in a nutshell