6 months, 3 Days. #TheDriveBeyondBorders.

It’s been 6 months and 3 days since I left with K, on a one-way journey from what was home.

Sunday, 15 May 2022. Jaya One, Petaling Jaya, Malaysia.
Saying goodbye to Mom.

I think back to who I was and how I felt back then, who I had been and felt before, and I think of who I am and how I feel now. The experiences, challenges, and fears that I had no choice but to sit down, listen to and negotiate with, situations I needed to get myself out of, and times when I made stupid decisions that looking back could have gone sideways. Mistakes made, lessons learned, scary decisions made and joy discovered. There was no one to blame, no one to take responsibility except me, and that made all the difference.


The abandoned resort in Gerik, Malaysia. May 2022.

Leaving Mae Sariang, Thailand after doing the west section of the Mae Hong Son loop. July 2022.

What I remember the most are the moments of sheer awe, beauty and joy when my emotions inexplicably swelled and tears came without warning. Not from sadness, but from the sheer avalanche of feelings I couldn’t contain, and they just spilled out. I was alone but I felt more connected than I ever did before to everything and everyone around me. It was the total absence of loneliness, in isolation. Every smile I see, every hello uttered and every stranger’s face was telling me that we have never been and we are never alone. It is just a smile, a small act of kindness and a hello away.

Preah Vihear, at the border between Thailand and Cambodia. That's Cambodia in the background. September 2022

Ayuthaya, Thailand. It was an inexplicable, wonderful moment. June 2022.

WTF are you talking about dude? Sounds like some delusional BS man, what have you been you taking? The weed and shrooms did their job eh? Oh boy, you’re in the woowoo club now, and you seem to have finally lost your marbles from your lack of purpose and mid-life crisis. You should have gotten married and had kids man, and said yes to that title and job. It was fricking good money that you turned down silly boy, and leaving home and all the stuff you bought and paid for too. You need to get back down off your damn high horse, and get back to reality. We’re still here for you. All of us.

Yeah, everything had to go! April 2022.

I can hear it. It’s my “rational” voice talking, the unconscious programmed group-think, saying the same things as others probably are quietly. Makes a lot of sense.


But no, I’ve been rational most of my adult life. I've made a decent living out of doing my best in being objective, rational, analytical and assessing things as they are, and finding strategies and solutions to address them. I’ve analysed business models, built them, launched new products and services that the market has not seen before, and distilled the lessons from my failures into a list of shit not to do again. What I get paid to do, I do to myself constantly. 360° review, multiple hats looking at the same facts, assumptions and assertions, building and assessing multiple probability trees and taking into account possible factors that may still remain unknown as yet. I’m my own most demanding and unrestrained unpaid consultant.


Pattaya, August 2022. I walked around without my shirt on until a Thai Aunty asked me "why no wear shirt?". Oops, I thought I was a Farang for a moment there.

This is all new to me too. Every single day. Each time my mind gets blown and I go WTF??, I patch it up right after and ask myself “What’s the logical explanation for this? What are the possible causes I’m not seeing? What would be the conclusion based on Occam’s Razor?” and I rattle out multiple possibilities simultaneously in my mind and analyse every single one. That’s how my mind works. I see possibilities, I assess the probability of each, and I rationalise the heck out of it.


On the 4B Mountain Highway, Laos. October 2022.

Hello, Luang Prabang. October 2022.

My mind skews towards known logic, past experiences and what I have learned in the past, but my feelings and gut tell a whole different story. There is infinitely more that we don’t know than that which we do, and to assume that all that we know is the limit to all there is to know is the height of hubris. It is our inability to be at peace with not knowing, and very likely never knowing, and instead mind-fuck ourselves into thinking we know what we don’t by subscribing to a belief.


As someone wise said, “Truth is not a belief. You can believe whatever you want – it need not have anything to do with reality. If you make a large number of people believe something, lies will become mainstream. Once you believe, your entire identity will be built on what you believe. Belief leads people to accept the most ridiculous things as the absolute truth.”


Nong Khiaw, Laos. October 2022.

Belief provides a false assurance that we know what we don’t, and assuages our fear of the unknown by not overcoming and facing it, but by blind faith that we already know for certain what we don’t. Humility is drowned, and denial sanctified.


I could try living like that I suppose and there is nothing wrong in doing so, but I can’t. I can’t blind myself for comfort, and I can’t lie to myself for acceptance. I can only find peace on the road less travelled, and not on the well-trodden path with rest stops, 24-hour restaurants, shiny malls and all the comforts that money and assimilation can buy.


Phu Kha, Thailand. November 2022.


So here I am. Writing this with the mountains in front of me, in a small town in northern Thailand that is my home for the next 10 days.


Right here, right now. Pai, Thailand. 18 November 2022.

6 months and 3 days into the unknown that has become known, little by little every day, like a new waypoint in Command & Conquer that reveals another portion of an endless world map. Roger. On my way. With a rock guitar soundtrack playing in the background of course.


Here’s to the next 6. Let’s go, baby.

I'll be seeing you down the road.

Cheers.


Warbaby

Friday, 18.11.2022

Pai, Thailand

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