“Travel isn’t always pretty. It isn’t always comfortable. Sometimes it hurts, it even breaks your heart. But that’s okay. The journey changes you; it should change you. It leaves marks on your memory, on your consciousness, on your heart, and on your body. You take something with you. Hopefully, you leave something good behind.”
I’m reminded of these words as I have continued to dwell on the ruins of Angkor. this trek is a week old as of today, and yet it feels as if I’ve been gone for at least a month. A brief stop in Bangkok, but with a delayed sense of anxiety, a rushed kind of mental fidget. Eye on the prize, time for Cambodia!
As a brief side note, I never intended for this writing project to be any kind of guide. I know those are super popular now, and there are some exhaustive ones already out there for damn near everywhere. These are written by people far exceeding my humble talents and budget. I’m more here to share my reactions and observations…out loud as it were.
Back to the temples! Climbing these stairs and exploring the walls of this civilization, I was struck again and again by the theme of time. How it felt that I’d been gone for weeks already, how the year 2017 is rapidly drawing to a close, etc. Then to the passing of time witnessed by these mighty walls and stone based efforts.
Time. Goes. On.
You find yourself here after the cost, and the planning, the logistics and the energy…and despite the Chinese tour groups (deserving of their own post) best efforts at maintaining ridiculously high levels of inane obnoxiousness…it’s eerily quiet. Finding your own corner to observe this massive tree separating a thousand year old wall and burying its stones under root it’s the passage of time and transition that hits you square in the frontal lobe.
All of us, we are born, we grow, mature (hopefully) and then we die. One of the twin pillars of guaranteed factors in this life. Death, and taxes. I believe that travel changes you, leaves it’s mark on you, by thumping you in the forehead and saying
“Hey stupid! Life! It’s happening right fucking now! Right here!”
It forces us to answer that call. You begin to question why you’re working a job you hate, in order to buy shit you don’t need. For me Angkor drove this home again, again, and again. There is the cycle. Do with it what you can.
Life is simply too damn short to be unhappy. That’s what I saw etched into these stones. Grab those dreams with both fucking hands and don’t let go.
Don’t live a life of quiet desperation. It doesn’t take dodging tourists in an abandoned temple 10,000 miles away to realize that there exists a bigger picture in play.
“Because in the end, you won’t remember the time you spent working in the office or mowing your lawn. Climb that goddamn mountain.”