Thursday, March 29, 2012

Unsure but still in Motion

I've been back in the U.S. for eight months, which is long enough for me to decide what I miss most about my life in Bangkok. And what I miss most is leaving it.

Every ninety days in Thailand, I crossed a border. Even when my visa didn't demand it, I went to another country after three months in Bangkok. Sometimes I was gone only for a couple of days, sometimes several months, but always I loved my time away from Bangkok, as well as returning to it. And during the three years that I lived that way, I became addicted to tickets.

Bus tickets, train tickets, air tickets--I love them all, those slips of paper that hold possibilities. Purchasing them became part of my internal clock; sitting in a conveyance that would take me somewhere I had never been before was like nourishment. I needed it, yearned for it, was sustained by it. It didn't have to be comfortable travel; it just had to take me away, give me a new perspective, bring me back with a few good stories, make me realize that I liked where I lived.

By now, were I still in Bangkok, I would have made a trip in October, another in January, and would be preparing for yet one more in the coming month. In Seattle, I've explored different neighborhoods. It's not quite the same.

My plan had been to return to Bangkok at least once a year, and then travel on from there for as long as I could. I still long to do that. But an invitation from a friend has opened a new gateway for me, enlarging my tunnel vision that only saw Asia; Europe awaits. And as I think about a stay in Italy, the world unfolds for me in a way that I'd forgotten I hungered for.

I'm in my early 60s; with luck I might have another fifteen years of good travel time--and there is so much I want to see. Morocco, Istanbul, Uganda, Argentina, Serbia, Mexico City. How much can I gulp down while still being in these places as I want to be, for weeks or months, not days?

Once a year, twice a year, instead of four times a year--the tickets still are waiting with their promises of new worlds, for as long as I can keep on going. Revisiting the familiar while exploring undiscovered spots--not a bad goal for a motion junkie, for as long as I can, as far as I can.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012


Almost Home: the Asian Search of a Geographic Trollop is with a copyeditor. After grammar and punctuation have been made perfect, and tweaks have been made for clarity, the book will no longer be mine. It will pass into some mysterious limbo, to emerge in a year or so as a finished volume. By then it will seem like a completely new book.

When Tone Deaf in Bangkok came into my hands, I could do nothing but stare at it for a long time before I finally opened it. I wonder if that same dazed happiness will come to me again with this book, or if it only happens with the first?

But I can't think about that right now. There's a new book jostling around in my mind. It's going to stay there for a while, in the mulling process and then the possession will take place. (It possesses me, not the other way around.)

Meanwhile there are other people's words to edit. What a good life--how did I get so lucky? All I ever wanted was to spend my days reading and writing--and that's exactly what I do. Good fortune indeed.

Thursday, March 15, 2012