Thoughts on life from an offbeat Island in Cambodia

Nothing is yours except the essentials – air, sleep, dreams, the sea, the sky – all things tending towards the eternal or what we imagine of it. The things we really need in life are obtainable, and within easy reach. It is for the superfluous that we sweat. If you spend your life acquiring things, you will be disappointed at the time you lost. And by what you didn’t do.

So throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover. It has nothing to do with gear or footwear or backpacking fads or philosophies. It is not even about getting from point A to point B. It has to do with how it feels to be in the wild. With what it is like to walk for miles with no reason other than to witness the accumulation of trees, meadows, mountains, streams, rocks, rivers, beaches, sunrises and sunsets.

The experience is powerful and fundamental. It seems to me that it had always felt like this to be a human, and as long as the wild exists, it would always feel this way. The feeling is a heightened state of awareness, in which we are mindful, receptive, undimmed by familiarity and ready to be transformed.


It is more more than the seeing of sights – it is a change that goes on, deep and permanent, in the ideas of living. It is about taking off all your envies, jealousies, unforgiveness, selfishness and fears. Most of us, of course, have never taken such a vow, but we choose to live like monks anyway, rooting ourselves to a home or a career and using the future as a kind of phoney ritual that justifies the present. In this way, we end up spending “the best part of one’s life earning money in order to enjoy a questionable liberty during the least valuable part of it.”
We’d love to drop all and explore the world outside, we tell ourselves, but the time never seems right. Thus, given an unlimited amount of choices, we make none. Settling into our lives, we get so obsessed with holding on to our domestic certainties that we forget why we desired them in the first place.

In reality, it has nothing to do with demographics- age, ideology, income- and everything to do with personal outlook. It isn’t about being a college student, it’s about being a student of daily life. It isn’t an act of rebellion against society; it’s an act of common sense within society.
It doesn’t require a massive “bundle of cash”, it requires only that we walk through the world in a more deliberate way. And that we make our way. That’s the only thing that makes you richer.
Stuff your eyes with wonder and live as if you’d drop dead in ten seconds…
See the world. It’s more fantastic than any dream made or paid for in factories.

Koh Ta Kiev Island,
September, 2018

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