Here I find myself again. Yet again lost for words. Only this time not because I don’t know what to say, but because I don’t know how to begin; or where to begin for that matter.
Let’s see, here I am sitting on a beach, literally in “paradise”, coming down a mushroom high on my first night back in Gili Air. To describe the moment; I have a bug on my screen which follows the letters as they go. A distant music of an unknown genre rings my ears, with the most beautiful pussy sitting by my side. I’m talking about a cat.
(or am I)
It’s been a long journey. Too long for words. But to give you an idea, after some wonderful family time, i’ve hopped from one country to the next tallying my travels to 5 countries and 6 cities in the past 4 days. It’s safe to say i’m no short of a traveler.
The thing that struck me most about my recent travels was a taxi ride from one part of Bali to the port that would take me to the closest thing this world has to offer in terms of true paradise.
Narut. That was the cab drivers name. But it wasn’t his name or his friendly, kind humane attitude that made me realize something incredible. In all my years of youth and adulthood i’ve had this perception of how other people live their lives. I’d form an idea and stick with it until it proves to me otherwise.
An idea I shared with most people is the belief that people in poor countries don’t have the same privileges in life as what you would call “Westerners”. I couldn’t be more wrong. Sure, they may not have the numbers coming in and out of your bank account. Their homes may not be as decorated and advanced as yours. They may not have access to the same materialistic potentials as you do. But they have something much different.
In that cab ride across Bali I saw many “poor people”. People with worn out clothes, sweeping the streets, and opening their small businesses that feed their family. Some sell noodles, some work in fields, some drive trucks, some carve sculptors. As we drove down the roads I saw a man with an outdated haircut sculpting Buddha in his modest shop of incredible sculptures. I began to contemplate that mans life. I soon came to the realization that I had come across and witnessed one of the greatest artists this world has never seen. Yet he sat there with his legs crossed, a cigarette in his mouth, carving at yet another sculpture that would bring in a few bucks to feed his two daughters that were playing with a single Barbie doll.
We always speak of the greatest artists. The Michael Jackson’s, the Picasso’s, the Al Pacino’s, the Kardashians. (Okay that last one was a joke) Yet they all have one thing in common. They’re all famous. There are undoubted true artists that roam the world everyday with their life’s work gone unnoticed, under or un-appreciated. This great artist was a middle-aged Indonesian man with 2 kids and a dog.
In Indonesia you may find many “poor people” who are trying to make ends meet. (Or meat) “Poor people” who look to the tourists hoping to make a few bucks by selling goods such as fresh fruit from their farms, to wonderful knitted sarong. I saw a guy who hangs out in the port offering traveling tourists a massage with his homemade coconut oil. He gladly sold me the bottle for less than $2.
One thing was incredibly present in each and every person I encountered, whether I had an interaction with them or not. They were all full of smiles. They seemed wonderfully happy, full of life and joy. In that moment I realized how in fact ___________ “Westerners” are.
It’s a terrible shame the life of a modern Western. Wake up; go to work, pay bills, save up to buy the next iPhone only to take the best pictures for instagram and keep swiping the feed down to see how many likes you get. More the likes, more the vindication. More the money, more the room to buy material. Material you will leave behind.
I used to feel bad for “poor people”. Don’t get me wrong, I still do in some ways. But it’s nothing compared to the sorry I feel for the Western world. Completely missing the point only to afford gadgets for a higher social rank. It’s very unfortunate for those people who don’t wish to widen their spirits to seek other alternatives in life. I’m not bitter towards these people. Because I know how the allure of all things material and forms of social status can be a vicious cycle to break. But once broken, I can foresee a humanity beyond apprehensive measures. Until then I will continue to write what I see wrong and beautiful in this world. Believe me, it’s a beautiful world. And believe me, you haven’t even experienced it’s true beauty yet.
And unfortunately, I fear you never will.