Posted on July 09 2018
Today, we head home after three months in southeast Asia.
As we depart, we are overflowing with emotions. But the late, great Anthony Bourdain said it best:
”Travel changes you. As you move through this life and this world you change things slightly, you leave marks behind, however small. And in return, life — and travel — leaves marks on you. Most of the time, those marks — on your body or on your heart — are beautiful. Often though, they hurt.”
Anthony Bourdain passed away while we were abroad. In fact, the news broke the day we were taking a side trip to one of Bourdain's favorite places in the world, Vietnam.
It had never been lost on us that the opportunity to travel and live abroad for three months is something most people never get to do. But with his death, we were much more acutely aware that a trip like the one we were on is an extremely unique privilege.
Like many, we cried. Not only because a life was lost, and Anthony Bourdain would no longer explore 'parts unknown', but also out of gratitude, because we still could.
Neither of us are nearly as worldly as Bourdain, but we have left small marks behind, nonetheless — and ประเทศไทย (Thailand) has definitely left its marks on us.
Far too numerous to detail in this blog, those marks range in nature from new friends, to reunited family, to enrichment through immersion into culture, language, cuisine, and climate.
The ONE thing that ALL of these experiences have in common is that they have forever changed our perspective on the world. We can see now through a broader lens than before. And as a result, one of our most valuable assets as artists is immeasurably enhanced: our creativity.
As Bourdain says, even when it hurts -- amidst the challenges and struggles that travel may present, those too become assets.
For example, we don't speak Thai, unless you count a dozen of the most basic words, which we've tried to jam together in every imaginable configuration, incorrectly of course. As Americans, we're overly reliant on everyone else's ability to speak English. Here in Thailand, many people do in fact speak English.
Many Thai children are raised to speak both English and Thai. Conversely, some Thai folks only speak very basic English, and others speak none at all.
If you have encountered a language barrier, you know it can be very frustrating. We took a short Thai language class in Bangkok, and after two weeks of puzzling through confusing interactions for the simplest of things, we figured out ways to use the small amount that sunk in, and to build on it.
And then we decided -- all those same lttle things that confounded us, we would turn into Sesame Street-like games for ourselves. Counting out money for the dinner check, listening to subway announcements and finding the familiar words, and engaging shopkeepers, waiters, janitors, and anyone else who was willing.
Everything was suddenly new, exciting, FUN -- and even the teenage Thai girl behind the counter at Dairy Queen was amused and happy to practice our Thai numbers with us.
During a 90 day adventure, there were dozens of life lessons like these, teachable moments. Reminders that we don't know everything, and that we aren't in control of the universe. And what a beautiful thing that is; it would be awfully boring and pointless if we didn't have anything left to learn, and if we could pull all the strings.
Every day was also a feast for our senses -- touches, smells, sounds, tastes and sights. Some we loved, and some not so much, but every single one now further informs our point of view.
Each contributes to who we've been becoming. Widens what we have to give from our most authentic and creative places as artists.
I wish we could impart here what we perceived through our five senses. Find a way to describe it all with a measure of accuracy similar to absorbing everything firsthand.
But -- it's said a picture that speaks a thousand words. So, below we've shared a small cache of photos from our wanderings. We've been given a tremendous blessing during the last 12 weeks, and we are thankful we can share some piece of it with you.
We hope these images speak to you, and provide a creative spark for something of your own. Enjoy!
The Renegade Blog
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