Wednesday, October 29, 2008

in Hong Kong

I'll be in Hong Kong for at least the next couple weeks, and will probably travel for a week or two in southwest China second half of November. I'm thinking of heading to Perth, Australia for the first week of December, and then spending the middle of December in Thailand or possibly returning to Vietnam, where I spent about 10 days last December. I may spend Christmas and New Year's in Singapore, travelling to India for a bit in late January. I might swing by the Phillippines in February, or maybe head to South America for a final couple months before "settling down". There's also some chance I might remain in Asia until to becomes warm enough to reasonably make a spring trip across Russia from the Pacific to the Atlantic.

That's all tentative, though. There are two elements to expanding one's consciousness, increasing the amount and variety of raw stimuli, and increasing the intensity and scope of one's deliberations upon that stimuli. The former is concrete and requires moving oneself to whatever the particularized experience is available. The latter is abstract and although theoretically doable anywhere, generally access to abstracted communication is necessary. That's a complicated way of saying there is a limit to how much I can learn and how educated I can be apart from access to the internet, western media, books, etc. Human knowledge and understanding is an extremely collaborative exercise; while some truths can and have been discovered quite independently, that rarely happens in the 21st century.

All this to say that while I feel my time travelling increases my awareness of the world, there are limits to that effect. As TS Eliot observed, "Shakespeare acquired more essential history from Plutarch than most men could from the whole British Museum." The point being that I could potentially be a more developed person by staying home with a quality book than by heading to, say, London, even with all that it offers culturally.

On that note, I may have a blog post or two over the next couple weeks while I'm here in Hong Kong and have internet access.

The real activity of life is the great activity of the developing consciousness, physical, mental, intuitional, religious — all-round consciousness. This is the real business of life, and is the great game of grown men. All that other affair, of work and money, should be settled and subordinated to this, the great game of real living, of developing ourselves physically, in subtlety of movement, and grace and beauty of bodily awareness, and of deepening and widening our whole consciousness, so that we really become men, instead of remaining the poor, cramped, limited slaves we are.

- DH Lawrence, Letter to Charles Wilson, 28 Dec 1928

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

in Africa

Apologies to all for no notice of the fact I have been travelling in southern Africa.

It has been a very concrete, physical experience: Kalahari sands too cold to walk 10 steps on at 3 AM, too hot to walk 5 steps on at 3 PM; spectacular sunrises and sunsets, moonrises as well; getting into sync with the cycles of the sun and the moon; enduring a series of days where it was 42 degrees in the shade, fresh water snorkeling in Lake Malawi, dealing with breakdowns, fascinating fellow travellers, etc.

I arrived in Mauritius on August 27 and Jo'burg on September 4. I'm currently in Malawi. Next up: Zambia, although that may be the end, with me flying back to Jo'burg from Lusaka on or about Oct 21. We'll see!