"Sailed not as a seaman, but as a traveler..."

"Sailed not as a seaman, but as a traveler..."- Sir Thomas More's Utopia

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Leavin' on a jet plane, don't know when I'll be back again.














Image: My grandmother and her sister posing after lunch in Pampanga

Holding pattern finally ending. Thanks to Kayak, I have finally purchased my ticket to my first foreign destination - the Philippines! I have been on the road since the end of July so it seems a little fast to think that I have just one week to soak up the States before I move on to the next adventure. Let's see what shenanigans I can fit between now and boarding call.

When I get there, I bet everyone will ask me if I've seen that Julia Roberts movie.

Friday, September 3, 2010

I won't die without any scars.

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Video: Old school crooning off of the East River (Credit: JL)

At the risk of coming off overly dramatic, this post is a little something for my loved ones, a little something that's been marinading in my mind pools for quite some time now.

Some of you, especially my closest friends and family, may know of the sad sequence of events, the slow unraveling of my life. The deaths, the loss, the betrayal, the redemption (movie transcript currently being drafted, possibly starring Edward Norton opposite Marion Cotillard). We are going through some tough shit right now, but we will continue to truck on because that's what we do. We barrel down the road of life, kicking ass and taking names.

I have always wholeheartedly believed in karma. You receive what you give. Crossing this country again and looking around at these vast expanses of land and all those billions of stars and all these fathoms of ocean, I am stricken with the question, What could I have possibly done to be worthy of bearing witness to all of this?

It baffles me that I can be so stricken with wonderment at the way in which a newly born calf suckles my entire hand. It astounds me how something as inconsequential as laying down on a dock along the Mississippi River, dipping my feet into its cold water, can bring me to such utterly complete silence. My point? Maybe there is no such thing as karma. Maybe all of our lives are simply sequences of events that we make the best of.

Oprah says not to ask why when facing hardships but to ask what can I learn from these experiences (saw her on TED earlier). I call bullshit on multi-billionaire Oprah and the whole learning from experiences thing. I'm sorry, but I have to. I am not that arrogant, Oprah. Sometimes shit just happens. Get up and walk it off. Who am I that the entire universe conspires to teach me lessons? I'm no one special. I'm just a guy who refuses to settle. For anything.

I don't claim to know or understand much but I will say that staring up at all these different skies, I have come to a realization. A distinction should be made between living in the moment and being present. Any oaf can do what he wants whenever he wants, we call this hedonism. Now, not dwelling in the past nor being preoccupied with the future while still understanding that every action causes ripples, this is being present. This is what separates the pleasure-seekers from the enlightened.

Thus, I will keep doing beautiful things. Sure, karma might just be an abstract philosophical concept that holds no actual value in a world of science and technology. But even if it is just a silly Eastern notion embraced by silly Western hippies, what would be the worst case scenario? My life will be a sequence of jaw-droppingly awesome events completely void of regrets. Somehow, I am okay with that.

No matter how much we try to justify and bring logic to our lives, the fact is, bad things happen to good people. Likewise, good things happen to bad people. As confusing and painful as this can sometimes be, I refuse to lower my own standards for life, for being alive. I'll be damned if I will allow the actions of others dictate my life. Come what may, I will continue to pour out my absolute everything to anyone willing to catch the deluge. Loved ones, I expect the same out of all of you.

Always keep the brilliance.

Namaste.