Dec 31, 2010

During our time here on earth, there are perhaps a handful of years that, in hindsight, stand out. When far-reaching decisions are made. Or when momentous events roll through, rearranging perspectives and priorities. While we cannot know the new future that is being summoned, we can sometimes sense when a path has been altered.

I’ve been fortunate to have lived in two foreign countries before coming to Thailand (Japan and South Korea). The years in those places were indeed special, with unforgettable experiences, but did not change my life’s overall trajectory. Despite the occasional moments of euphoria, I knew the day would eventually come when I’d pack my bags and return home. America was where I ultimately belonged.

Thailand, however, has presented a new kind of challenge, thus insuring that 2010 will go down as an important, even a pivotal, year. For moving here required a new mindset. I had to let go of my home country and prepare myself for not just another extended time away, but a journey. To travel down a sometimes twisting road whose ultimate destination would be unknown. It has been both exciting and a little unsettling so far. The undiscovered country — in more ways than one.

My maternal grandfather had a younger brother, Raymond, who worked for a number of years as an accountant for a hotel chain. His financial acumen allowed him to retire early and devote his energy to various pursuits such as playing the violin and traveling (which, like me, he had a real passion for). Because it was late 1960s America, with cheap gas and most of the new Interstate Highway System in place, he and his wife decided to purchase a small sized motor home. Discovering they loved the experience of being on the road, exploring, they ended up selling their house and spent a number of years crisscrossing the U.S., following the seasons. Winnebago Vagabonds. My grandparents would know of Ray’s whereabouts only from the occasional postcard. One of them contained the below postscript, which I think will be helpful to keep in mind as I venture into the new year:

“Don’t know where we’re going. Don’t care.”

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