|The Card - Jason Schwary|
Perched atop the sun deck of a small boutique resort, overlooking a sea of limestone cliffs in one of the most remote places I've ever visited, I engage in the final entry of my blog, a blog started over seven crazy months ago. The main goal of my blog wasn't to teach, explain, describe or relay any of my experiences over the last half year to an "electronic audience" so much as to record my own personal feelings, thoughts and emotions so that one day I may look back on those experiences and remember the f-e-e-l-i-n-g-s that were initially conjured up during those precious moments, feelings that invariably fade over the course of time, no matter how etched in the sole they may have seemed at the time of occurrence.
In regards to that goal…with conviction I can say it was accomplished! Well, sort of. Sort of? Because of "sort of", to me, all the more that it was accomplished with perfection. Strange as that may seem on the surface, it's actually quite simple. I pushed myself to write, to record and to attempt to put down on paper the things that struck me hardest, the things that I most wanted to remember. Not all facts, but all feelings! My one-liner as to how that goal was "sort of" accomplished was through a more profound understanding from my travels of years past, that the balance between "examining the tree and admiring the forest" is tricky to accomplish but crucially important in obtaining a harmonious balance between action vs. reflection. For at times I wrote furiously, and at other times I furiously abstained from writing. By abstaining from writing I was allowing my heart and head to reflect and record the things that would organically stick as a residual of my own personal memory for only time to pass to provide such reflection. Albeit, the failure of my computer had a big impact on this, it was something I realizing was more of a favor than a hinderance. All together, the balance was struck, and I, the benefactor.
The attainment of this balance was important to me because I could actual feel the difference between "just doing it", and "just recoding it". I took a deep liking to both and felt that both added to the other. For the times I wasn't writing, for the times I wasn't recording, I could feel myself face-to-face with the "tree". And for the shortest of distances that existed between my nose and the face of that tree, I personally bestow upon myself the highest of compliments for doing so more than than anyone else on the Planet (possibly conceited and arrogant, but for those who reside throughout Southeast Asia can opine on this bold statement. See brief introduction of substantiation, below).
The way I traveled over the last seven months is an art that I'm proud to say I've ascertained the highest level of proficiency. For the most part I threw away the Lonely Planet (minus maps, history sections and hotel recommendations), the brochures and all the things that were suggested to "create an experience with the locals" and made it my business, my own responsibility to engage in those moments spontaneously based on my personality and creativity of producing an environment rich with interaction and cultural interchange. Precise examples of this type of activity was deeply and consistently embedded as a part of my travels, wonderful experiences such as those will become the daily bread of my future blog entires that will continue well into the "return phase" of my Southeast Asia adventure. I look forward to the reflection process "from a distance" and the recording of experiences such as when Marie and I danced away on New Year's eve to music with the employees of the Circle K in Sanur - Initiating a pig barbecue with one a local Balinese families for celebrating our final day of our two month residency in Amed - Charting a taxi boat in Brunei and learning first hand from our local taxi captain about his personal perspectives on the river-life in his capital city - Leaving my assigned seat on a bus and sitting up front next to the craziest bus driver I had ever known, not to mention the craziest bus ride I had ever endured, keeping him company and enjoying his laughter for hours - Sharing my limited supply of chewing tobacco with a Vietnamese woman who was almost three times my age in a village somewhere deep in the mountains of Vietnam - Acting as comedian/ rebel rouser to an audience of a 100+ grammar school kids in Java while visiting their national treasure of Prambanan, getting them to all chant in unison…INDO -NESIA, INDO-NESIA, INDO-NESIA (It's a long story as to how we got to that point but there in lies the recipe of a future blog entry)!! The list goes on and on, almost indefinitely, and as the memories surface show shall the entries of TheVicariousAdventure.com continue.
Beyond the experiences that matter the most, those with the people, there were the experiences with mother nature. Over the duration of my journey I dedicated but a few entires to those encounters. That fact is far from consistent with the awesomeness of those experiences. In short, our interaction with mother nature was at its highest level. The tenor of my opinion isn't something I take lightly, I believe the same holds true for Marie. Important to note, between the two of us we've seen vast parts of a combined 75 countries prior to embarking on this particular adventure, and the assessment of this journey isn't something concocted in an empty vacuum, rather, based on a deep wealth of prior experience. Sure there exists exceptions to what may have, or what could have been labeled, "the best", or "my favorite", however, taken as a whole, the geography and the super consistent display of nature in all its its splendor was second to nothing! From our experiences of her oceans, seas, gulfs, rivers, lakes, lagoons, waterfalls, islands, beaches -- to her mountains, volcanoes, valleys, cliffs, jungles, forest, and rice terraces, the sheer beauty and the supreme excellence of her myriad manifestations will be the second most abundant source of future entries for TheVicariousAdventure.com.
So, between the inexhaustible source of interesting interaction with the locals of Southeast Asia and the exquisite encounters with mother nature, TheVicariousAdventure.com will continue for quite some time. While I, as the VicariousAdventurer will be establishing myself into the new and exciting realm of everything France, learning their beautiful language and experiencing the sophisticated and elegant culture from the perspective as "American", there'll be respites from the Southeast Asian memoirs and a purposeful transition into the next phase of what looks to provide a healthy dose of excitement and adventure.
For those who followed us at TheVicariousAdventure.com during our seven month journey, we'd like to personally thank you for your interest and participation during what may easily be considered the experience of a lifetime.
TheVicariousAdveture.com - Jason Schwary