I yearn for peace, a state of mind that has been elusive the last few years. It’s crazy how emotions can hinge on another person. I thought I found clarity in Beijing, but all that did was spur a desire for something greater, for my eyes to continue seeing parts of the world that for so long were mysterious.
Delving into foreign territory has taught that a place is just land. Tall buildings and unique cuisine are interesting, but it’s the people who my mind remembers first. Many days I want to go back and rewrite the past, not to change the outcome, but the order of operations could have exercised more empathy and been less focused on a happiness that only benefitted me.
People tell me not to think so much, that my thoughts should be forward thinking and that the past is relatively inconsequential. It’s hard to rationalize that belief.
I like investing in others. It gives what I do meaning. My biggest joys happen when someone smiles on account of my good deed. Giving more and taking less. That’s a concept that nine months ago would have seemed ludicrous. Back then I was in Thailand, walking through the streets of Bangkok without a care in the world until this wild chicken popped out at the bottom of the steps. It was whining and making a scene, so to avoid the bird I turned around and looked for another route. This brought me beneath a highway littered with old abandoned cars and a smell not even Hutong bathrooms in Beijing could equal.
So I pushed through, running past the large chicken and another one trapped in a cage, sweating profusely while death seemed certain. It wasn’t until I made it to the sidewalk that reality returned.
This doesn’t detract from the fact that Bangkok is beautiful, an exotic city still finding its footing, much like myself. That was my first solo vacation abroad, without the luxury of friends to bury my concerns in. I could have used the help, particularly one humid evening when indecision marred an otherwise beautiful day.
But let’s delay that story. Let me tell you something less me-oriented.
I met Winona on a bike ride through Bangkok. She was intimidatingly pretty and spoke great English. People that can speak two languages make me feel insecure, behind the times of a world that with every tweet grows more connected.
“Do you have Instagram?” she asked before hopping in her cab to go elsewhere.
“Do you want to get a drink later?” I wanted to ask, ultimately choosing loyalty to a new relationship even though the only thing keeping me in line were values of integrity my parents worked so hard to instill.
But her and I have maintained a friendship over the months, two artists operating on different mediums with varied levels of success, hers more recognizable than mine.
Bangkok brought us together, allowing for an insight into Filipino culture. I saw some of this through the lens of her camera. The rest is tucked away in the spirit of a woman with a passion not only for her country, but the rest of the world.
“I manage to conquer almost all my fears and weaknesses with the right companions and mindset,” she says, which greatly explains her position as one of the most talented and popular artists in her home country.
**TO BE CONTINUED**
Quentin Super’s first book, The Long Road North, was not a commercial success. Find out why by clicking on this link
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