Looking back at this trip I’ve forgotten most of the nights due to severe intoxication courtesy of cheap drinks mixed in tiny beach pail buckets and the scent of sweat, sex and puke (the latter of which were probably my own. Thanks Bangkok.) But in the same way, there were things on this trip that I will probably never forget.
This time, unlike my foray onto European soil, my DSLR remained intact and water-free and accompanied me many times while venturing into the jungle (both concrete and otherwise) to record only a small fraction of the things I saw: the hands of a weaver coaxing rope out of coconut husks in Vietnam. The smell of diesel exhaust flooding the sidewalk from the ass-end of a tuk-tuk. The slippered feet of a man pushing a cart of recyclables along a busy Makati street. The rough uphill ride of a jeepney in a remote island in Cebu.
These were things that were both familiar and alien, a trademark of travelling to places one has never been. But within that faint trace of familiarity I found a desire to understand and respect the fact that my troubles back home are far flung from the lens of life and death that I so sordidly view them from. I learnt that I step on hallowed ground sown with the sweat of those who make places like the Philippines, Vietnam and Thailand worth visiting. I learned that while I wish for better and sunnier days in the North American fall, the sun beats down on those I visit here in a harshness that I, in my luxury, could note bear to stand.
I’ve learnt to be grateful.
I’ve learnt to love the situation’s fate puts me in.
I’m still learning.