That trip to South Korea. I forgot to talk about it here. The truth is, I have been thinking about what to write about Korea. But I have nothing. I hate to repeat what others have said before and words seem to fail me these days. So I thought maybe I should just let all the photos I took in Korea do all the talking for me.
Don’t get me wrong. The trip was not awful in any way. It was a trip of a lifetime for me. I had been thinking about doing it for years. But now that it’s done, I just don’t really know how to sum it all up in words. For some reason, looking back to that trip I can’t feel any connection to it. It’s like I am looking back into someone else’s memory. It just doesn’t feel like it’s my memory anymore.
Family and friends talk about my trip with a sense of wonder. Like it’s something that has earned me some kind of bragging rights. Every time I hear them talking in envy… I would feel lost. I have no idea why I can’t make myself feel the same kind of excitement about the trip.
In a weird way, what Galgut wrote in one of his books kind of explain the state of disconnection that I seem to feel about my trip to Korea… He said, a journey is a gesture inscribed in space, it vanishes even as it’s made. You go from one place to another place, and on to somewhere else again, and already behind you there is no trace that you’re ever there. The roads you went down yesterday are full of different people now, none of them knows who you are. In the room you slept in last night a stranger lies in the bed. Dust covers over your footprints, the marks of your fingers are wiped off the door, from the floor and table the bits and pieces of evidence that you might have dropped are swept up and thrown away and they never come back again. The very air closes behind you like water and soon your presence, which felt so weighty and permanent, has completely gone. Things happen once only and are never repeated, never return. Except in memory.(pg. 146. In a Strange Room, Damon Galgut) Somehow, I feel that… when it’s all over, the sense of wonder and excitement that connect me to that very moment… vanishes, just like that. I don’t know why do I feel this way. I just do.
So what else have I been doing lately apart from writing some weird disconnected stories in this journal?
These past few days have been hard on me. I can’t focus on anything. So I lose myself in thoughts of travelling to another country again. I took a long painful hike with Damon and Reiner in Africa. After that, I was in Malawi and Tanzania and for a brief awkward moment, I was in Switzerland to see Jerome and Alice.
This is what I do when I want to escape the living. I bury myself in great books and go travelling around the world inside my head. It’s weird but in these made up journeys inside my head; in these fictionalized characters and stories… I find a deep sense of connection that I cannot find anywhere else in my life.
That is the saddest thing I know about myself.