Let It Pass

post-4153-Isn-t-it-funny-how-day-by-day-DbVy

Music often makes me feel like I was born in the wrong time. I’m wrapped up in songs that call from distant horizons. Their familiar melodies rise and fall like gentle waves, slowly carrying me away over lulling seas to some eternal land of yesteryear.

Every so often, though, there’s a song that sends out currents strong enough to pull me back to the coastline, like a lighthouse twinkling on a promised land. When an exploration of a modern soundscape confirms that music from the here and now is not altogether lost, it feels like Christmas.

Most cherished of all are the times when I’m guided by an invisible beacon. Like today. I was drifting aimlessly, when I stumbled, quite by chance, into the floating lullaby of autumn leaves that is Jakob Ogawa’s “Let It Pass”. It was like sighting an unknown island paradise in the middle of the sea and then walking, in a daze, through a mirage of sound along a humming shore.

I became lost in an echo of lazy beach days and summer afternoons, where the salty breeze messed our hair while we watched as the burnt sun sank slowly to kiss the balmy ocean, and a hazy dusk spread across the sea to bathe the world in a final glow of glittering light. The waves were liquid amber, and the air was filled with the carefree laughter of youth, as we picked up handfuls of sand and let the grains slip through our fingers, falling freely like specks of gold in the twilight. Then, suddenly, it was dark, and I was all alone, haunted by the laughter of ghosts and surrounded by the shadows of faded memories. The grains of sand lay trapped in an hourglass, and the air was heavy with sadness and bittersweet nostalgia. The best things in life always end far too soon.

Despite getting caught up in a web of sentimentality, I simply adore this song. It has the sort of melody that I feel, rather than hear, so that I fall into it, like I fall into dreams. Those are my absolute favourite types of songs.

One Month

quotes-writing-william-h-gass-600x411

Today marks one month since I started An Evolution of Adventure. I am immensely proud of the fact that I have been writing every day since then. It was a goal I hoped to achieve, but one that I was not entirely confident I would. I thought it would be too hard.

As it’s turned out, it’s been easy. Writing has simply become part of my daily routine, and the best thing is, I haven’t forced it to be. That’s made all the difference, because it means that now, I look forward to writing, instead of regarding it as something that has to be done, like a chore on a to-do list. And of course, when you enjoy something, it gives you joy. Writing is now a source of personal satisfaction rather than frustration.

The reason why writing has suddenly become easier for me is because I’ve learnt that it is only as difficult as I choose to make it. Simplicity is best, but we are so used to life being complicated that we tend to forget this. Sure, there are still times when I sit and deliberate over words. The creative process has a mind of its own, and sometimes it wants to transform a simple idea into something bigger than Ben Hur. When it all starts to get too much, I know, now, to get back to basics. Or rather, I apply this knowledge, because deep down, I think I always knew. The key to achieving success in writing, for me, is to stop overthinking things and focus on what it is that I want to say. Essentially, it all comes down to that wise philosophy to keep it simple, stupid.

I’m delighted that the year has got off to such a great start, creatively, and I can’t wait to continue writing. After all, if writing is a form of alchemy, I’ll be in for a magical year.

Ocean Blue

64918_458953067493301_792536710_n

“I belong in the middle of the ocean blue
Getting nowhere but that shouldn’t really bother you
So many people, so many worlds

Don’t you worry about me
Don’t you worry about me”

-Ocean Blue (Moniker)

You know when you stumble upon a song and it speaks to your soul and you wonder where it’s been all your life because its existence is music to your ears, literally and figuratively? Well, I had one of those moments yesterday, thanks to ‘Hunt for the Wilderpeople’, a gem of a film from New Zealand. I saw the film at the movies last year and re-watched it last night. (If you’ve haven’t seen it, do yourself a favour and check it out.) If you have watched it, you may recognise the above lyrics from the scene that begins the third chapter of the movie.

Rediscovering the song and, better yet, finding out what it was called and listening to it on repeat, had me smiling like an idiot for the rest of the night. It’s a magical two minute and twenty five second melody and it’s what freedom sounds like, or at least, what I imagine freedom would sound like, if it had a voice. It’s the embodiment of a sun-kissed day and a crystal beach on some remote island, where time stands still and worries don’t exist. I’m floating… is hummed like a lullaby, and leaves you feeling like you really are drifting off into a tropical dream.

I love when a movie introduces me to awesome new music! It always reminds me of how powerful an impact art, in its various guises, has on my life. Not only does it play a huge role in my own creative process, but there have been many movies, songs and books which have inspired my travels as well. It’s almost like a domino effect.

Sometimes, they are the reason for a holiday. My brother and I visited Bruges in December 2012 specifically because we loved the movie ‘In Bruges’. I went to Iceland in October 2015 after ‘The Secret Life of Walter Mitty’ showed off its insanely beautiful landscapes. After reading ‘Shantaram’, I decided I need to visit India.

Often, they inspire particular experiences I choose to do on a holiday. Like when I visited Hawaii in October 2014, I simply¬†had to take a ‘LOST’ tour and see the locations that had featured in my favourite TV show of all time. Or when I visited Japan for the first time in April 2013, I spent my last night in Tokyo at the Park Hyatt and drank Suntory Whisky a la Bill Murray in ‘Lost in Translation’.

With music, I believe every city has its song. Sometimes, a song will fit a place before I even go there. The mountains of the Himalayas were characterised by Gheorghe Zamfir’s ‘The Lonely Shepherd’ long before I ever set foot in Nepal. (Thank you, Kill Bill, for bringing this song into my life.) Other times, I’ll discover a song while I’m travelling and it becomes the ‘tune of the trip’. Or at least, a tune that takes me back.

And this is what I love most of all- the transcendental quality of art. So often, it is created as a way to escape reality and yet, art is the thread that connects us to the world.

Music, especially, is such an instantaneous link to memory. It transports me to other times and other places as well as any time travel capsule could hope to do. A cold winter’s day turns into a hot afternoon in the Philippines whenever I hear ‘Summer ’97’ by GRiZ. The congested freeway becomes a breezy beach on Boracay when Mark Ronson’s ‘In Case of Fire’ starts playing in the car on my way to work. Jose Gonzalez’s version of ‘#9 Dream’ instantly takes me back to the scents and sounds that make up the hustle and bustle of everyday life in Cambodia.

There’s a quote that says Earth without art is just eh. I think that just about sums it up. Now to wait and see what corner of the earth ‘Ocean Blue’ belongs to.

Happy New Year!

15181594_10154195218188391_2330591731359501229_n

Happy New Year, folks!!! I hope you are blessed with love, laughter, health and happiness. And many amazing adventures, of course! I am so excited for a new year of realising some of my travel dreams.

One of my goals this year is to document my travels on this blog, both new and old. It’s something I’ve been meaning to do for a long time. As a child and as a teen, I used to write all the time. It came so naturally to me then. My world was full of words.

And then one day, I lost my way. Years went by but inspiration’s visits were always fleeting. For that is what I blamed for the disappearance of my ability to write like I once had. A lack of inspiration. And I grieved that loss dearly.

Teaching and travel came to define my 20s. But it was writing that defined the essence of my being, long before I was a teacher or had the means to travel. I missed it. I have no special talents in life but I’d always felt like writing was my strength. And now I wasn’t good at the one thing I’d thought I was good at.

Over the years, I started three different blogs but quickly lost the motivation to maintain them. As I pondered these failures, it slowly dawned on me that inspiration was not the cause of my problems. Rather, I was seriously overthinking the whole writing process.

So this year, I’m going back to basics. I don’t want to sit and deliberate over every single word, I just want to tell the story. There’s no need to take myself so seriously. I’m not bloody Shakespeare and never will be! I just want to write as freely as I breathe. Because that creative energy, and that amazing feeling you experience when you realise you’re painting images with words, is intoxicating. When words flow like water, I feel so alive. It’s sad to think I’ve deprived myself of that joy just because I felt like my ‘style’ wasn’t good enough.

It’s not about inspiration, it’s about dedication. Because, the truth is, inspiration is everywhere. Travelling has made me realise that real life is full of stories, just waiting for the opportunity to be told. Travel is my inspiration.