November 4, 2013 § Leave a comment
Dearest my forever travel buddy,
Decided to write a along update/rambling about life letter since this past weekend when I looked through our old Europe trip albums on Facebook. Some of the pictures I definitely remember, the St. Helena Island in Italy, some I wished I remembered more. Like the overnight train car from Barcelona to Venice? Or Venice to Switzerland? One of the night adventures in Spain is now my profile pic in case you missed it
Quick glance at those glorious moments, I decided it was time to watch “The Motorcycle Diaries” again. It’s a film based on the journal of road trip Che Guevara took back in his early 20’s (he is 22 going on 23!) exploring the freakin whole continent of South America. From Buenos Aires to the tip of Venezuela. Can you believe it? 14,000+ km on a beat up motorcycle, then on boat, on foot hitchhiking (hah! our first in Italy!) and bumming airfare even. I think they backpacked for about six months. It was in the 50’s, a lot of international political movements going on. I’m no historian but I did take one Cuban revolution class at Cal. Actually I have a feeling that movie inspired me to watch another Cuban cultural history film: Buena Vista Social Club. I still have the sound track. I’m pretty sure now I talked about going to Cuba with you right? That’s been my dream since high school!
Anyhow, seeing this film for the second time made me think about travel again. Overseas. Where my English, decent Korean and nonexistent French won’t get me nowhere. Also I just wanted to see if that adventurous and spontaneous Hatty was still in there
You know this full time work is really different from how I thought adulthood looks like. Actually I’m not sure how different, I don’t think I’ve really thought about my future that way anyway. So no frame of reference. But it’s definitely not what it’s been in the past. I have responsibilities now. Like really. Not just for myself either. Actually it’s always to other people. And that’s what makes you an adult. Now your actions and choices affect other people. They depend on you. If you don’t deliver or can’t fulfill your promise or don’t “feel like it” and slack off, others have to live with your consequences. I can’t just not go to work! Crazy stuff!
Getting all philosophical here I see–but can’t help but mention this quote from The Little Prince. There’s a scene where the little prince and a fox chat. They talk about a rite, the process of taming and being tamed. Totally gorgeous scene at the end is when the fox reveals his secret and says that you become responsible for the things you tame. I almost feel like this is what growing up is all about. You become more mature in your friendships, relationships, and you have to take care of those who’ve been tamed by you. Not necessarily about my work/coworkers (though I’m going to say more about one of the later in this letter if I can find time) but just about everything in life. I think I’m thinking less self-centered and more about how others are affected by my actions. Some of that had been purely circumstantial. I don’t think I would’ve decided to do so on my own accord because we’re all selfish like that. But slowly and surely I see my thought patterns and the way I process/make decision/understand things around me become more than just about myself. The ripple effects, in my mind used to stop at my level; they wouldn’t go outside to touch other people. That didn’t register for me. Now I have to (and do occasionally on autopilot), think bigger, more outward
Sometimes it surprises me. That was definitely not the case when I last traveled with you. It would be strange if I hadn’t changed/grown I guess. But nonetheless, it’s interesting and gratifying to see maturity in yourself like that. Hope you’ve been having similar moments of clarity too
And having said all that, I still want to go back to the movie. That adventure seeking and spontaneous to the point of recklessness sometimes, Hatty is still there. Maybe the part that excites me about traveling isn’t so different from the first realization I just shared about growing up. Because this time, I found myself struck by not so much the scenery and the music but the inner changes of Che who started out with all the privileges of a well-to-do med student in his prime and the youthful careless/carefree attitude towards life, then slowly transformed into someone who becomes deeply passionate and driven by values of social justice and human compassion. If you’re familiar at all with the story of Che, he goes on to volunteer himself in the guerrilla warfare of Cuban revolution with Castro and to Bolivia where he gets captured and murdered by the CIA. He basically gave up on his medical career to live a life of conviction, even if that meant death. And you can see the changes, the evolution, in the film. In fact if you read his memoir, which I totally did read after watching this in high school, you see that he credits his revolutionary journey starting from this particular road trip. He says he’s not the same he anymore. The continent had changed him, for the better I want to say of course. I think that’s my heart of wanderlust. I’m dreaming about traveling like that because I want to encounter and already believe that I will encounter the lands the people the stories out in the world and become more tamed, more responsible, more compassionate. How awesomely exciting is this life!!!
Just looking at the physical day to day at my job and my church and at home, I’m not quite sure how and when I can take off for such a journey. But I’m convinced that I’m exactly where I should be for the things that await me. Wasn’t trying to talk about Jesus at all. But I guess I can’t separate anything from how He intersects with my life. Yeah I’m very thankful for the ways He has guided me till now
Hope you’re doing well love! Miss you and our spontaneous hang outs. Please write back soon. I want to be better at keeping in touch