Many,many decades ago stuck on a farm in a small village I traveled the world vicariously- in my imagination – through reading such authors as ,” Kim” by Rudyard Kipling , magazines such as ,”Look” a , ” Life ” and National Geographic. In 1967 I enrolled in a journalism program . By the time I finished in 1970 , both Look and Life had folded. Luckily for me , I had abandoned journalism or at least hard core journalism studies for a Liberal Arts program majoring in Psychology and English. After graduation I continued studies in Psychotherapy and many forms of alternative healing modalities.
My first big trip in 1974 took me out of the country to both Europe and Africa . I did East African studies at Humber College duing the winter. The summer studies was a month in Kenya and Tanzania via London ,England. I had been hired to document the trip for markeing purposes . It turned out to be a pivotal trip for me. I had never traveled with a group of people before in such an intense circumstances.
I learned a lot about myself , others and traveling in general on this trip. A lot of water has gone under the bridge in the interveening 43 years. Six months ago I spend my 27 th winter in Aisa, primarily in Chaing Mai, Thailand. I have wandered all over Europe and Asia ,but I keep returning to my beloved Chiang Mai. It’s like a living entity for me. Like a person it has many admirable qualities and a few warts . The most admirable qualites are the freindly people ,the safe space in my Santinam community of healers , creative writers and seekers, the fresh tropical fruits and other culinary delights, the guaranteed warmth, the inexpensive amazing Thai massages (two hours for $12.00 Canadian , and inexpensive accomadations and organic vergetarian restaurants. Did I miss anything. The warts are the pollution and traffic and sometimes noise all by products of any so call sucessful city
Two months ago I spend a month in Da Nang, Vietnam. I had been to Hanoi and Saigon in 2009 for several weeks, but no where else in Vietnam. I was surprised to find out that Da Nang is the third biggest city in Vietnam and that a very fierce battle had been fought there during the Vietnam war. I took up a residence near enough the beach to view the white caps rolling in . There are many under tows there and the life guards are continously moving the red flags and cautioning people not to swim in many areas.
The loud sound of construction is heard everywhere close to the beach and more and more facitlities are built for the tourist trade. Across one of the three bridges spanning a river ,the original town of Da Nang stands. It is a mixture of new buidlings and venues and many old narrow winding streets with buildings built during the French Colonial days. I actually met a young man who was an architect professor dividing his time between Hanoi and Georgetown, Washington. He had just given a lecture at the University next to the coffee shop we found him in . He told us that he and his family did public projects ,but needed the work of private projects to fund his public projects. He was one of two young men who I found interesting in Da Nang. The other young man I stumbled upon one day while in my favourite coffee shop in Da Nang. Although this young man had a PH.D in chemistry his passion was doing portrait photography. We met a number of times during my last two weeks in Da Nang. This young man rekindled my love for photograpy ,especially portrait photograhy that I had had for since my teenage years into my late twenties.
Now , having returned to Toronto from my five months of winter stay in Asia , I slowly organizing my life around photography and writing.
Returing to the title of this article, “not all who wander are lost”, I find this so true in my forty three years of wandering the planet. I would call most travelers I meet ,”seekers”. Let’s say some seekers are closer to finding what they are searching for than others. In some cases, it appears that some are hopelessly lost. Everyone’s journey is unique. The trick is to wish all well and concentrate on your own journey . As, “The Wandering Therapist”, I offer my services or advice to anyone who sincerely requests it. Being in the enviable positon of being both money rich and time rich I have no need to profit from my services. I do believe in the theory of karma , “energetically what you put out comes back to you like a timely boomerang”.
I keep telling people, “that a good day for me is a day in which I have learned something new”. All my life I have been a sponge for new information. The concept of being bored or depressed is alien to me. Forget about never leaving home without an American Express Card as their ad shouted out for as long as I can remember , -I cancelled my $500.0 annual fee platium card recently when I realized I had not used it all year. It has great perks , if you take advantage of them. Back to the subject at hand. I never leave home without a book to read, a notebook to write in and name cards to share with people I might meet with whom I have something in common.
As a traveler ,there are constant delays and long waits at airport and train startions. A book and a note book are a traveler’sbest friend unitl you stumble on a felllow traveler who is in the mood for chatting and you have something in common to share.