BROMO OR RINJANI? (Part 1/3)

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I believe in being random, random is the heartbeat of the Universe. To be in sync with the Universe you need to be able to be random. I believe that randomness is the window for the Universe to deliver what you manifest. Yes, the Universe doesn’t need help to deliver but such a window is a clear signal to the Universe that you are ever ready to receive. The Universe likes to give surprises, good surprises, and these surprises favor those who are always ready to receive. No discrimination here, just how it works. I believe in being random and that’s how I travel – capturing moments and surprises.

My volcanic romance with the calderas continues. Santorini last September was awesome and this time, Mt. Bromo in East Java. As a traveller I am as random as the situation allows me to. It is not that I make zero plans for my adventures just that my research and preparations are bare minimal. They are my basic guides with flexible parameters. I do not have a fixed day-to-day itinerary when I travel, I move on the basis of; what are the things I can do and feel like doing when I’m out there and, what I feel like doing will depend on how I feel on that particular day. I have no issues whatsoever with dropping a specific day-plan if a happier option is available.

How am I random when I travel?

This is how it looks like for my recent Mt. Bromo trip – I have a 10-day allocation for the adventure. I feel like going to Mt. Bromo and Mt. Rinjani. Time wise and budget aside, with 10 days I know I can do Mt. Bromo, I can do Mt. Rinjani and I can even do both if I want to. With this in mind, the landing point will be Surabaya. I know that I can also do the temples of Prambanan and Borobudur if I change my mind and defer my trip to Mt. Rinjani. For this I need to land in Jogjakarta. These options shall remain opened until I secure my flight ticket out.

I eventually bought my flight ticket to Surabaya – one way. Hence, keeping my options to randomness opened as to when and from where I shall depart.

I intended to travel solo again this time around but being random allows me to change my mind as I wish. I sure can forego the awesomeness of solo travel provided that I find someone awesome as travel companion. This is the story of my trip to Mt. Bromo.

Prelude to Mt. Bromo

She was sitting behind me slightly to the right. I didn’t know that until I turned around…

About one hour earlier: So there I was at this storytelling night, my mood was to wear the darkest shade of black that evening so I wore the white long sleeved shirt that I bought days earlier, many said I look good in white, I don’t really care how I look in white as long as I feel good in it, yes, I feel good wearing white. Somehow I can’t shake black off the mental color palette in my head so I let black hang on to me with my favorite black jeans and black shoes to match. I arrived slightly early alone feeling a bit out of place but I’m no stranger to that feeling, the person who invited me to this storytelling night came a bit later but decided that she was too busy to keep me company, but all is good, I decided to have a good night out, lone night out can be fun.

Inside the hall behind the last row of chairs arranged in marching position facing the stage I said hello and chat awhile with a new friend until it was time for the night to listen to stories, I hope they are that good. The hall was black and boxy but lighting was adequate, the crowd was moderate in numbers mostly wearing pale colors as if wanting the night to color them up. Many of them young, they look friendly yet reserve. There were spaces of empty chairs, not much at the back but more of it as if opening up closer to the stage, funny seeing this scene here just like in lecture halls way back when I was a student. I walked through the opening in between the filled chairs and claimed the vacant seat as if it was reserved exclusively for me. It was the second row to the stage but the first row seats were empty. I said to myself that first row is too close to take good pictures as if I wanted to. As soon as the back pockets of my black jeans touched the white chair I heard a familiar male voice calling my name in slightly more than a whisper. I turned back swiftly over my left shoulder, more friends are here. Cool. The story telling began…

— Stories, stories and more stories and then, the intermission. 

As I turned around to my right to get up from my seat then I saw her sitting there in her unbuttoned oversized blue shirt over a off white floral blouse behind me, as she stood up I said, “You look beat” and she answered with a question, “I do?”… and we walked separately into the crowd…

— Chat, chat and more chat and then, the intermission ends.

Back in the hall for the other half of the night and somewhere between midway and the third quarter of the session my random self smiled inside me, I simply love it when moments like this happen. I turned around and asked her, “Bromo or Rinjani?”

I love random questions. It is not about the right answers, it’s about the possibilities created by the questions and the energy that goes with it. Sometimes I get this certain feeling of hope when something starts with a question. Strange, perhaps because I like the idea of having the chance to ask more questions to get the answers that I want to hear should the first answer does not favor me.

 

Surabaya 11.44pm

The hotel phone rang and I jumped out of bed. The front desk, oh no, I over slept. The pick-up to Bromo was at 11.30pm. Decided to take a short nap after one whole lazy day in Surabaya and now I’m late. I laughed at myself for a moment, I thank the Universe for that extra 14 minutes of sunless forty winks and turned myself into Speedy Gonzalez.11

(To be continued)

JeepSeaJoey

I PAINT MY POEMS, I WRITE MY PAINTINGS.

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I understand what Leonardo said better now that I paint my poems and write my paintings.

I have always enjoyed painting but I never regard myself as someone with natural talent for it. I remember those days when my late mum used to help me with my drawing projects in primary school, one project turned out real good and was displayed in front of the classroom. I felt proud but I didn’t get the satisfaction of telling myself that I did it all by myself. I felt proud because my mum took the time and trouble to help me and that meant a lot to me. The watercolour paintings were good that the boys and teachers started talking about them and it caught the attention of my Scout Master too. As a result, I was assigned a big poster boy scout drawing task. Instead of being pressured to deliver I took it as a chance to deliver something that I can claim completely my own this time around. Having my mum to guide me, I delivered the task with flying colours. I learnt two things from this episode. First, objectives can be achieved if I focus and put effort into it and second, the realisation that I do indeed have some natural talent in painting – after all I am my mother’s son! I felt proud with the realisation and 41 years on, I still feel the tingling sensation of proudness as I say those words silently in my heart.

I turned to painting in my mid-20’s as a form of relaxation – watercolour to sooth and calm me down and, acrylic and oil when I need to let some aggression out. I sold a few of those paintings about a decade later through a dealer together with my small collection of paintings that I decided to let go. I do not know who bought them. I’m just happy to be able to say that I sold a few of my paintings.

As a teenager who is very much a loner, I used to have a diary. My diary was my friend to talk to. I filled my diaries with stories of my growing up pains but never in the conventional way of what happened, who did what, how I felt – blah blah blah. My stories were about my feelings and situations but in the form of fictional reflection and story line with real characters in my real life with fictional names. The idea of writing in such a way was to maintain anonymity just in case my diary falls into the hands of others. With the comfort of the vagueness I created by superimposing fiction onto my reality I slid deeper into my writing escapism. Names were carefully chosen to best match the personality of the characters. Situations were  exaggerated and larger than life to create the drama. Pain and anger were amplified to entertain my lingering need to dwell in self pity – a case of decorated self sabotage. As I dwell in the land of unhappiness created by my writings, I brewed enough pain and anger into what looked like a promisingly sweet idea of revenge.

Revenge rule the day. My writings became my journal to feed me with anger to strive, to work hard to prove something to the people I hated. When anger is low I would reread my writings to keep the fire burning. Eventually, I got consummated, burnt out. I felt empty and lonely, stranded somewhere between reality and self-made fiction. I discovered that pain and anger are such powerful emotions but the price you pay for consuming it is too high. Well, at least not at a price I was willing to pay. Funny how revenge would eat you up from the inside and rudely tell you that the joke is on you when they are almost done.

The diary that used to be my friend became a powerful enemy. My diary became a reminder of all my pain that refuses to let me go. Yes, I know, it was me who refused to let go of the pain but that was how I saw it then – my pain refused to let me go. Then came the time when that little black book that used to fire me up needed to be thrown into fire, literally. It was no simple toss it into flames situation but a page by page burning ceremony to say goodbye to the pain and anger of the past and move on. I didn’t come back to writing diaries after that, in fact I didn’t write much on personal emotions except for those rare occasions of sadness which I will destroy soon after. Writing down sad emotions and then destroying it somewhat became a friendly ritual to move on.

So much had happened since the boy scout task and diary burning ceremony. I’ve never been happier now. I’m back to painting and I’m painting rather attentively these day. I paint from the inside. No fear for bad or good. There is no such thing as good or bad art only preference and I do not paint for the aesthetic preference of people. I paint to express my inner feelings and if it reflects and happens to be appealing to some then it’s a pleasant coincidence. 

I’m back to writing these days. No more negative emotions. Just the joy and celebration of life. My purpose in writing is to spread good vibes. I may not succeed all the time but all I know is that the attempt itself gives me good vibes to try and keep on trying.

Imagine the beauty of your favourite poem and painting it.

Imagine the beauty of your favourite painting and writing it.

In both instances you need to feel and not just see. You can only travel into what you feel but you can’t travel with what you see with your eyes. I’m a nomad, a gypsy of time and space – I feel to see and see what I feel.

JeepSeaJoey

Painting

Mystic Deep I (Painting with short poem – Oil on canvas 24″ x 30″)

Should you ever lose me,

Find me in the night when the raging clouds deny the moon its glory.

HOME IS WHERE I’M NOT

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Now, that I’ve been bitten by the spirit of wanderlust, home to me is where I’m not. 

Oftentimes when I’m on extended travel, people ask me if I miss home. The answer has always been – a straight no. In fact, I often share the fact that I also feel more at home when I’m away. Some find it hard to belief but that is the truth. How can one feel more at home when they are away from home? I was not feeling uncomfortable with this feeling but I can’t help but to wonder, why?

The feeling of being more at home when I’m away has nothing to do with not liking the place or country where my permanent postal address is. It’s just that I have no strong sense of attachment to it, somehow. Some people will also miss their local food when they are away but that too has never been an issue to me. Being single for the last 7 years, the only reason that will make me miss what people usually call home is my son Adam. So here, I’m not missing home as home but I’m missing home because home is where my son is. Adam, if you are reading this, I miss you every single day when you are not with me. Our exploration of Melbourne and Hong Kong was awesome and I can’t wait for our next daddy and son adventure. We need to do backpacking together too 🙂 

The idea of “home is where I’m not” gives a certain sense of motion – the destination is home before you reach it but home became somewhere else the moment you arrived. Because of this, you need to fully embrace where you currently are. What do you do when you say goodbye to the place as soon as you arrived? You will be fully awake, fully present to enjoy every moment of the place and with the people because you know your time is limited. You need to seize as many beautiful moments as you can before you journey on. These beautiful moments are not yours alone, they are to be shared. When you get the privilege of being part of a place and people even for a brief moment, you return the favor by sharing the beauty you see in them, the good vibes, so that more will come to visit with pre-conceived good vibes in search of beauty they heard about. Don’t you think this is a good way to spread good vibes? I do.

“Home is where I’m not” is your declaration of citizenship of the world. Your concerns are no longer heavily confined to the place you conventionally call home. Your concerns are now broadened and in depth, about the world, about places, about people, about their present and future wellbeing. Concerns will lead to the urge to do whatever you can no matter how big or small for the sake of mother earth. This concept of “home is where I’m not” will also make you conscious of the need to take care of the current place of your travel because you know that it is home to other nomads like you. 

“Home is where I’m not” is a constant longing to travel, to seek the adventures and thrills of travel. It is not meant to advocate the feeling of looking forward and losing your sight to the now. The key is to be present. As mentioned in my first post, there are ways to travel by staying put – meet people, read and indulge in art. Some may have more ways than that. If you can fine space in time and time in space there is always a way to travel, be a nomad – a gypsy.

Home is where I’m not. Gypsy to gypsy – please take care of my home while I take care of yours.

JeepSeaJoey

NOMADIC AT 50

It is our very nature to search. We are travellers of time and space. The journey really starts when we surrender to the nature of our being. This is the belief that I fully embrace. This is the journey of my surrender.

I turned 50 last September. What I gave to myself, to me, was the best gift ever – solo travel. This was not my first solo travel but is the most extensive one to date. I was in between jobs and had the opportunity to take a month off, this I know is nothing to many but by my current life standard, it’s a luxury. So where did I go? The journey trail looks like this: Kuala Lumpur – Bali – Ubud (Bali) – Gili Islands – Bali – Kuala Lumpur – Athens – Santorini – Athens – Paris – Kuala Lumpur. My September 2016 adventure not only saw me crossing the 30-country visited to date mark but it did more than that – I was reborn as a traveller.

I will spare the stories of the adventure for later posts but the gist of it is this, it doesn’t matter if you travel solo or not, it doesn’t matter what your destination is, it doesn’t matter if you travel with a big or small budget, what matters is to make an effort to go out there and be passionate about it, and when you are out there, be present, immerse yourself completely, connect with the place and people. It doesn’t matter if the adventure is the entire summer or just an extended weekend. Travel adventure is good for your soul and like many things in life it’s a decision. You decide what to feed your soul. Me? I’ve decided to feed my soul with as many dishes from the travel adventure menu of life.

My recent decade of life was quite colorful, colorful mess to be exact. No regrets here and to summarize it all, I had challenges in my working life and a bad patch in my personal life. After all the storms and twisters it was time to live again – to rediscover myself, to reinvent myself and be a better person. I was tired of surviving because I have proven to myself too many times that I’m well capable of doing that, life is more than just surviving, I want to live, I need to live, to live a full life. What is a full life? To me it is about filling life with as many beautiful moments as possible. It is not about the destination of making it full but the fulfillment of the journey.

The process of discovering myself was full of alone time in various states of mind. The alone time was not solely for self-reflection but heavy on reading anything that I belief could help. As I go deeper within myself to face my common demons I realized that there are much that can be done straightaway to change my life for the better if that is what I truly wanted, all I need to do is to be true to myself, be real, be me.

I discovered that being happy is indeed a decision. I discovered the importance of being constantly positive to remain happy. I discovered that the more positive energy I accumulate the easier it became to repel the negatives. I changed my thoughts, I changed my spoken words, I changed how I deal with myself, I changed how I deal with people. I changed how I look at the world around me and beyond me. I changed how I look at nature and the Universe. The essence of being a nomad is change. Being a nomad is not about becoming, it’s about being, embracing who I really am and freeing myself from my non-surrender. It’s about surrendering to the nature of my being to search and travel. The decision to being this sets me free and being free makes me happy. 

How am I nomadic?

Physical travel. I won’t elaborate much on this just that I embrace being a traveller, not a tourist. I love being lost in foreign places and in an unfamiliar crowd because there is a certain kind of beauty in it. The moment I get smitten by this beauty then I know I have found the soul of the place, the people. I seek for this beauty as a traveller and anything less makes me a tourist and not a nomad.

When I can’t travel physically I travel by meeting people, positive like-minded people from all over the world sharing stories of travel and life experience. Travelling through the experience of others can be beautiful especially when the person is a good storyteller and almost always, they are. Sharing my stories with them is my way of sharing my positive vibes. It is also a chance for me to re-live my adventures with an infusion of new frequencies of positivity with souls that are new to me.

When I’m not out there meeting people, I read. I read subjects that resonate best with me at that particular time. Reading is my spacecraft that allows me to fly across the inner space of my mind for as long as I want, for as far as I wish. What a way to travel, don’t you think?

In between all the above I travel through art. I write and paint. I love music and I indulge in any form of activities in appreciating art. Art to me synthesizes my physical travel, my meeting of people and my reading. Art is like the magic wand that increases the quality of my positive energy. It is also a form of conservation and protection of the positive energy in me.

 Being nomadic at 50 is not about catching up with what I think I’ve missed. It’s about living. It’s about manifesting the good life that I desire and what I desire is to be in sync with the Universe because that is good life to me. It’s about living the fact that it is never too late to start anything. It’s about creating your own rules that works with your body and soul. It’s about not being afraid of being the minority.

 Being nomadic at 50 is about celebrating life by being a traveller of time and space. It’s about sharing good vibes in all spheres of happiness as we see them. They exist everywhere if you wish to see them. It is as simple as that.

 Being nomadic at 50 is about giving through sharing and to me there is nothing like the sweetness of sharing and I’m a lover of the energy of sharing.

 You don’t have to wait until you are 50 to celebrate life, to give and to share. Living a full life can start at any age. There is no age limit to being a nomad.

 And for how long shall I remain a nomad, a gypsy? Until, I ran out of places to go.

JeepSeaJoey