15 Countries in 10 Months and a Moments Rest. A Lot Can Change.


Today is the first time I have really sat still and have not had any urgent location to get to or task to accomplish in about 10 months. At least that’s what it feels like.  10 months ago I started moving, I moved across Asia North to South, started in South Korea and went all the way down through Nepal, then I island jumped around Taiwan and the Philippines. After that I ran around Vietnam and many other countries eventually culminating with me catching a train in Beijing all the way to Sweden by land, crossing mainland Asia again East to West into Europe. Now after all that I’m catching my breath in Thailand awaiting the arrival of my old friends from home for the next great adventure, but for now a moments rest.

A lot can happen in 10 months, as a person, in the world, and in life. Babies are created and born in less than 10 months, it’s two months short of a year, and for me I’ve found you can ramble through about 15 countries in that time, as I just did.  But when you are on trains, planes, boats, or hoofing it on foot the world is literally always moving by and it’s easy to forget. Today I got sentimental and looked at pictures from the past, thought about my friends I hadn’t thought of in a long time, checked them out on facebook, and gradually realized their lives and life had really changed.

The first few hours I was ever in Asia, in Seoul, South Korea my
The first few hours I was ever in Asia, in Seoul, South Korea my “good” buddy Steve made me eat live squid and this is what my face looked like.

 

Then after a 8 months in Asia, as you can see, the squid didn't really bother me anymore.
Then after a 8 months in Asia, as you can see, the squid didn’t really bother me anymore.

We lose track of the time, we forget clocks always move forward, and so do people. There is no past to go back to, it’s gone as far as you have, it’s followed it’s own way, the same as you, at every tic of the clock. With that, with my friends having babies, getting married, several ending years on relationships, and the constant march of life I felt the pinch of having been trapped in time in a bubble.

 


But then I looked at myself; I have changed. Ten months ago I showed up with a buzz cut and new clothes.  Today I look in the mirror and I see a nose ring, two tattoos, new scars all over my body, I’m thinner, I’m older, I’m calmer, I’m a bit road worn, and very different. Time has moved on for me as well, I’m not an employee or a worker or a Midwesterner anymore. I’m a traveler. That’s what I do now, and after 10 months I’d say I’ve earned the right to say so.

 

Spot the difference! This is my first passport photo in South Korea juxtaposed against the one I just had taken in Russia 9 months later. I guess things have changed.
Spot the difference! This is my first passport photo in South Korea juxtaposed against the one I just had taken in Russia 9 months later. I guess things have changed.

It’s strange truly realizing you are a different person, especially since you see yourself in the mirror everyday. Thomas Wolfe once said, “I have to see a thing a thousand times before I see it once.” Today that was true. As a trained artist tuned in and specialized to watching life, I realized I was just seeing it again today with fresh eyes.  Thomas Wolfe would probably smirkingly think, “You can’t go home again,” and he’s right, my home of yesterday is gone, a blink in time.  There is excitement in this idea however; in the words of  T.S. Eliot, “We shall not cease from exploration and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time.” Sounds good to me.

 


Next entry: 24 hours in a Bangkok hostel: Hookers, Jugglers, and Hangovers

Previous entry: Trans-Siberian Part 5: The End of the Epic Detour and Almaty, Kazakhstan

COMMENTS

  • Dan Fedyk

    Posted on May 15, 2012 at 6:52 pm

    Did you somehow develop a cow-lick?  Looking fantastic Stevo, although you may get a few more questions coming back into the US than you did before.  You’ve got some kind of Cat Stevens thing going on, difference is we actually want you to stay a US citizen.

    I’ve been reading everything you write man, fantastic stuff.  I hope you’re collecting sketches and drawings so you can put together some items for my wall when you get back.  Rest assured I will be bringing Dave with me to come see you on your triumphant return.

  • Stephen

    Posted on May 15, 2012 at 7:23 pm

    Danimal, I’m glad you’re enjoying the adventures man. My hair has an enormous natural cow lick when it gets long, it’s just never long. I’m working on some sketches man, hopefully you’ll start seeing em pop up in this blog before too long. I definitely look forward to see the Fedyk Bros. in full force when I return, perhaps this Christmas? I’ll be seeing Dave when he flies into Bangkok this Friday, he’s got an adventure waiting for him. Alright holmes, good hearing from you, see ya when I see ya and keep reading, ya never know, a Chicago article could pop up one day.

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