Well, I made it. I have finally arrived in Thailand. Who would have guessed this a few months ago. I began writing this while waiting in the transit lounge at Schiphol Airport for my plane to Bangkok. I enjoy being in this no-mans land or limbo while awaiting my flight. I seem to be able to relinquish control and responsibility and just be. In the moment, as it were. Not an easy thing for a control freak like me!
Thinking about it, there are three separate processes happening. There’s the departure or leaving, the journey or transit and finally, the arrival. I’m separating from one way of life and soon will be incorporated into a new way of life but at the moment, I’m in this liminal stage; neither left nor arrived, neither here nor there. I’m old enough now to ponder and to know death and, of course, to reflect on my own imminent death. I wonder if the death journey is something like this; this bardo. It’s pleasantly alienating not having to make any decisions except making sure I’m fed and watered and in time for my flight. It allows me time to ponder and reflect on how my life has suddenly taken a shift and how open I am to whatever happens happening.
Leaving London was enjoyable. Not in a negative sense or in the sense that I’m glad to be away or that I hate the place. Rather in the sense that it brought me into sharp contact with many the people in my life and brought to my notice how many people I love and who love me. I suppose I knew this on a rational and mostly unconscious level but when I said I was leaving a lot of people bid me farewell and expressed feelings of great warmth and kindness. In the “old days” when somebody left home it was possible that they would never be seen again and letters were the only way of communication. I remember reading about the American wakes in Ireland, mourning a persons departure even before they had left home because their loved ones knew that if they were going to Australia or America, like so many millions of Irish before them, that they were almost dead to their loved ones. What a difference Facebook, Skype, Twitter and SMS makes.
I’m now arriving and tat too is a process and not an event. As I write this, I’m listening to a loud dawn chorus of birds that I never heard before. I hope they look as beautiful as they sound. How exciting is that. One of the things I love about being in a new place is experiencing things I never experienced before, like birdsong etc. I went out last night with my new boss, Martin, and his partner for some food. We ended up in a sort of food hall with lots of small kiosks each selling one type of food. While I was eating I was also soaking in all the new startling things never before seen by these eyes such as Thai writing everywhere, food I didn’t recognise, 3 people on a moped without helmets, car licence plates, types of architecture, advertising signs, electrical sockets and light switches, Thai policemen and women as well as all the different smells and sounds and the sensation of warm air against my skin and a tropical sun casting dark shadows. All these delight me and confirm that I am in a foreign land. Of course, my mind clicks in, as it does, and notices that these are the responses of a child and not a man but I’m glad that I can access these inner-child aspects of my personalities. I need to be very much an adult and a man in my work but I also need the unpredictable creativity of these unconscious forces within me.
I had my first nights sleep under an Asian sky for many a long year. I went to bed at 9pm, mid afternoon for me, and slept deeply but fitfully until around 4am and was then wide awake. I guess my body clock is still catching up. Mine is analogue, not digital with creaking weights and a nice patina of gracious ageing. It often runs a bit late as I sometimes forget to wind it up. Sometimes it even chimes in the middle of the night.
I shortly leaving where I am and going to Koh Chang where I will be based. It shouldn’t take more that a few hours and I’ll be driven there by martin in his air-conditioned car! I’ll be starting work on Monday but will be introduced to the clients tomorrow by going with them on a excursion. Nice work if you can get it.
That’s it for the time being. I’ll write more in a day or so.