As I mentioned, I'm working on several posts to sort of summarize my many trips during this VERY extended sabbatical of travel. So I started to look back to see some of the trip pictures I took along the way. If you ever checked out the picture area of TempusFugitive.com you will see after a couple of years, I gave up on the picture thing.
This is because I was spending so much effort taking pictures and often not connecting with the location or people. I realized that it was more important to enjoy the experience directly first. I know, greedy but my website has less viewers than Rosie's recent variety show, and that's tough to do.
Also some people who know me, know I HATE being in pictures myself. This was always the case, even as a kid. The only reason my Mom has any pictures of me as a baby was I couldn't crawl away fast enough.
This got much worse when I gained weight and looked like a Macy Day Parade balloon. I would be be the one that clips the street light and drops it on a NY police man and little girl type of balloon. Okay, for those who don't know, I used to tip the scales well above the 340 pounds / 154 kg plus range. I will leave this for an upcoming post about my journey because my weight-loss was a key part of it. Let me be clear on one thing, before I get hate mail. I don't believe everyone has to be a certain size. My ideal of beauty would look very similar to the UN. So I'm not going to get all Richard Simmons on anyone and trust me my dating and friendship past would prove this out. But I would be lying if I didn't say that my weight at times made my dislike of pictures even more acute. Just look at these those pics and I think you can understand my feelings on this.
Yes, that's me in the middle. More about those two guys to come in future posts and below. See, I look like I swallowed Tony Soprano. Some people can carry their weight and look great. I wasn't one of those people. Actually at any weight I'm not one of those people. Just like I have a vampire soul when it comes to early mornings, I feel the same about mirrors and photos. I'm best left un-seen.
Okay, enough of that for now. Back to the reason for the post. As I was going through various pictures from my travels including the most recent I realized something in the final picture I took from each Christmas trip over the last few years. Each one in Japan seems to have a weird sadness to it. My own sort of Lost in Translation moment. Let's start with my most recent final Christmas trip picture. As mentioned in my prior post, I actually canceled my Japan trip due to the brutal climb of the Yen against the Dollar. But my return flight did stop over in Japan. This final trip picture was taken in the United first class lounge at Narita. I don't know how a cold glass of beer and sake could be sad, but here it is. This picture makes me think of the final minutes of the film Local Hero.
Every end of year, I go into the big depression that my travels are over and life will return to being trapped in the mundane Desperate Housewives town I live in. Luck has favored me and thus far it has not happened. I almost always end my Christmas trip in Japan, not only because I like it, but it's the safest way to ensure I'm home for Christmas. One year I was dumb enough to make London Heathrow my last airport before I came home for Christmas. The gray hair I do have was all created during that barely made it back to home trip. Trust me, never again.
So I went back and looked at my past last pics. I won't bore you with all of them, but here are two other years of my last trip of the year shots from Japan. If all these pictures had a soundtrack, it would be Nina Simone. Wow, I never noticed the sadness in them until now. Part of the reason, is none of these shots are ones I published or shared. Given this I didn't give them more than a passing glance. But somehow today, I was motivated by the above photo to look back. Now Japan itself does seem to have a certain somberness to it's soul, so maybe that's some of it. Also it is winter, so the lighting will have that character. But I think it's truly an expression of how I feel some how projecting itself onto the images themselves. I have always hated endings to the point I just realized a bizarre quirk I do recently. I never fully finish a drink. I always leave this small amount in the bottom. Is this part of the same thing or just plain mental illness. Not really sure. But when I see these images, I think its part of behavioral dislike for any ending.
Now I did find one year that had a final trip photo that was an exception to this rule, as is the case in all things with the universe. This was in 2006. Seems just like yesterday. For 13 years straight I always went to Amsterdam and had some form of a Christmas party, again more about this to come. My best and most remembered were always with my Dutch brothers. This shot is from the end of a long-all day & night pub-crawl which has always been our tradition when together. When I tell you these guys are my brothers, believe me. Of course by classic definition we aren't biologically related, but I can assure you for those with siblings, my feelings for these guys have no difference in loyalty, care, or respect. The tough part is time, change, and endings have all served to keep me apart from them for the last couple of years. I guess the reason I don't look sad in this final picture, is I know that I will be there again and that our time apart won't matter. Maybe in some way the Zen nature of Japan speaks to deeply to my Buddhist soul but Amsterdam, Singapore, and many other places speak more to my heart.
So I start 2009 knowing a couple of things. One is Japan tends to make me sad, which is okay when put into the focus of my past & present Zen beliefs. At least it doesn't try and kill me like New Zealand which I also love. Two is I know no matter what happens this year, I will be in Amsterdam and Singapore this year and most likely for many more years to come . To much yet to do, to say, to resolve, and in some ways so much not to do at all.
Well thanks for your indulgence of reading my first blog of 2009. If any of it makes sense to you then a GOLD STAR for you. You get the smartest kid in class award and maybe you can tutor me on what I just wrote. I hope for everyone that 2009 brings all of us health, happiness, and good fortune.