ONE BIG SUNFLOWER

Category: BackPacking

you can bury me when my body breaks

by retrodiction

42/142

 
You wanted an explanation I could not give, and I keep wondering how something so easy could be so twisted by my inability to speak. I used to have a life where I could look you in the eye and never feel such ache— I think I’m too in love with pretending that we’re all in so much pain. The stars you can’t see in your far-too-bright night sky are way over here, mocking me. I see them now as they were a billion years ago, foolishly thinking how beautiful it is, that these dead, empty things still keep on shining.

 
These are things that I carry like they were born a part of my body; I would break every rib in my chest just to breathe without any of you again. All I can give you are these poorly worded metaphors, analogies and stupid, stupid hyperboles. I also want you to know that I’ve filled for you a profusion of apologies— like each second is another reason to be sorry— everyday, over and over, in my mind. Above all, I’m sorry that my stubborn mouth won’t speak. Maybe you can pretend to understand this.

I’m sorry, that it’s still all about you.
I’m sorry,
that I wrongly believed I was strong enough.
I’m sorry,
that my hands were not enough to stop the bleeding.
I’m sorry, that I might as well have been the one who pulled the trigger.
I’m sorry,
that you had me.

 
Hasn’t someone once spoken some horrible truth about how everywhere you go you take yourself with you? My skull’s too thick to understand that I shouldn’t persist with all this pointless running.

But didn’t someone also say that your body is only a vessel for your soul? I think I damaged both along the way. The ship and it’s cargo are only drifting.

Please make me believe we’ll find shore in one piece.

 

Day 40: A Little Something Something

by retrodiction

Venezia

There’s no such thing as normal,
there’s just different shades of mental.
Your totally mental are in the lunatic asylums. 
The rest of them…


We’re nothing but a living experiment in madness
under constant observation by the psychiatric community of the world.

 

Maybe sometimes we need a darker shade of mental. But only for awhile.

 
It’s been such a great week so far!

In terms of going out and about the places I’m in, I’ve definitely regressed into a complete lazy bum. (That’s not to say that I don’t go out at all) I just, more often than not, head out late and return early. The up-side is that I’ve been doing a lot of reading, and coming up with ideas for all sorts of projects I will probably not follow through with— for when I return.

So a little something something, with a little something else got me a 150% stoned last wednesday night, and really, I would’ve preferred to just sit and stare at the salt shaker in front of me, but I’m glad I didn’t. I felt like I gained a 100pounds in a fraction of a second. If you can imagine, it was just hilarious really, because I was so thirsty but my arms felt like jello. I felt like I would’ve died of thirst if I didn’t reach for my drink that instant, but it also felt like the sheer amount of effort needed to lift my arms to get it would kill me. The struggle was beyond real. But I digress.

Basically, what happened for the next two hours was complete silence, my host, Serge, playing with seashells, and me frantically scribbling god-knows-what in my notebook. Serge’s girlfriend just sat there across the kitchen table the only one completely sober— laughing her ass off. I can’t remember the details of anything else except that at one point I practically shouted to her (in response to a question I can’t remember) that it “makes your brain so slow, you can’t help but think of only this one thing, and that makes it so much clearer. So much clearer!” Or something like that. Like I’m Jesus giving some kind of holy insight to enlightenment.

The next morning, reading through what I wrote— out of which at least half was nonsensical bullshit I magically pieced together an outline for a short film I was thinking of making. *Yay marijuana!* Since I’m not in my home country, I technically cannot be punished for what I did outside of it. Out of paranoia, I refuse to write the name of said country because I deeply believe they’re tracking all of us. Each and everyone of us. *Cue music: Every move you make, every bond you break, every step you take, I’ll be watching you.* I feel it’s also important to emphasise that I’m having such a blast bitching about said country, although I probably shouldn’t because it’ll just make me seem like that kind of asshole who has no love for her country. Even though it’s most probably true. The downside though, is that it always makes me extra scared at night. Class A wimp right here.

Highlight of this great week part 2: I am not a university student, I am not Italian, but I crashed an Italian university student party last night. Well, not so much crashed as went anyways as an uninvited guest. I deeply and sincerely hope that this will be a part of my university life. The people were hilarious and so so generous, nobody gave a fuck, and most importantly, I wasn’t the only one doing weird dances.

I think this is one of the best parts of couchsurfingI mean, partying asideI’ve tried so many new things that I wouldn’t even dream of if I wasn’t with the locals. And tomorrow… On to conquer Padova! I need to try to have more stamina for sightseeing.
 

Day Twenty Four: I Wrote This For You

by retrodiction

St Malo

But what if I missed a turn somewhere—
missed my own future?
That would be frighteningly easy to do.
I’d make one hesitation or one departure too many
And then I’d have run out of choices; I’d be standing all alone


The fourth day, finally alone, I couldn’t stop thinking about how much I miss her. I’ve had years to not think about her. Years, where not seeing her at all didn’t make the image any blurrier in my mind; when, and if, I even thought about her. You would think I’d be much better at adapting to being away again… I was afraid that this would happen. That I would grow attached. But I’m glad that I can see it now, before it’s finally too late. Too much time has been wasted. We’re two islands much too far apart.

All I see now are eyes that look at me with the gaze of too many strangers— doubt and apprehension where familiarity should be. Hands with more kindness than I deserve. Knees, spine, heart and all, weakened while my back was turned. I never meant to drain you. I need us to stop living like we’re atoning for a sin. There’s nothing left to forgive. You were a different someone before us three— I’m trying hard to remember that. I’m trying to find some middle ground where we both can be at peace again. I’m trying not to want to run away anymore.


 

Here, the days seem as though they’re becoming longer, and shorter, at the same time. Too many hours to think, and then not enough all the same. Too many hours to wander— till carefree starts turning into aimless— yet not enough to see it all. Too many hours have passed into 24 days just like that. Where has all the time even gone to?


 

Does it seems trivial, these things I’m coming to appreciate?

Day Nineteen: When You’re Nothing At All, There’s No More Reason to Be Afraid.

by retrodiction

Omaha Beach


It feels good to have nowhere to be, and nothing to do. Half the time I’m doing things I could definitely do back home— reading, writing, lazing around— all that’s different is the scenery, the people, the weather, the minuscule things. But it feels different here.

I spent most of the week reading under the sun on the beach. Omaha beach, Port de Cancale, St-Malo’s old town. I haven’t felt the urge to keep reading in a long while. And a book I found by chance, no less.  In Caen, I happened to come across a quaint little bookshop, Mémoranda. I almost didn’t walk down that street. Almost didn’t see the basket full of books at cheap prices. I almost didn’t pick this one. And out of it’s 200 odd pages I turned to beginning of a chapter that tells the story of exactly how I’ve been feeling. Just when I’ve almost completely forgotten what it feels like to not be able to put a book down. Funny how these almosts could have easily not happened.

I still feel bad sometimes. I feel like I’m wasting time, having come so far away just to not do much. I feel like I’m not experiencing enough. But someone said to me the other day, that I’m doing exactly what I would never do back home— sit, read, relax and just be. I would gladly spend the rest of my days like that.

Now I’m in Cardroc, France. In this little town there’s not much to do. No reason for me to not sit around and just be. I guess I’m still learning how to stop being so anxious about all these perceived not-enoughs.

It’s almost the same, but it feels very different here.

 

Day Twelve: I Thought I was Talking to Jesus

by retrodiction

 

Moral Disorder

Everything was as I’d imagined it before hand,
though I already felt it slipping away from me.
I was too old, that was the problem.
I was looking down on it from my balloon.
Now that I’d arrived at the moment I’d planned for,

I couldn’t remember why
I’d gone to all that trouble.



It would help if you could give me some answers… Or some questions. If I knew what I was looking for then maybe I could find it. It feels as though I’m searching for something I didn’t even know was missing. Lost, lost, lost… Gone high up and way beyond.


I don’t know. There are a lot of ‘I don’t knows’ with me. I don’t know what I want, who I am, where I’m going— where I’m supposed to be going— and I’m just wandering. All the time. I guess I would’ve much preferred to keep on being angry. That was something I knew how to make go away. With too many stupid things, but at least I could disappear. The eye of the storm has always been the safest.

This? This I haven’t got a clue.

And I don’t know if I’d like to go back to who I was before— if I could even find my way back— or just start being someone completely new. I’ve thought about this for years; while I’ve been changing, slowly, inconspicuously, until one day I get out of bed and find that I don’t recognise myself any longer. That’s the way things always are, aren’t they? All the small little things you think mean absolutely nothing piles into this huge crushing something you never saw coming. And now you don’t know how to get out from underneath it. Although, ‘someone completely new’ basically entails piecing together all the parts of someone else that I admire. Does that still make me, me?

There’s something that I’ve read awhile ago, and have probably remembered it all wrong: The folly of human beings, is the belief in a ‘self’, a soul, a unique individual. Maybe that’s the cause of all our suffering. We’re, no, I’m… looking for something that could, quite possibly, not even exist. And I’m trying to make sense, to find meaning and reason and beauty and strength out of things that have none. It’s stupid to have let something so small plague me for so long. But I guess that’s just the way it is.

Maybe I just have a sensitive nervous system— an enhanced reaction to every reality… Reactions always in excess of the occasions for them.

I remember storming out a party once— bawling my eyes out— after being accused of something small and insignificant. Not even accused really, just a good talking down to. And a screaming match in the middle of a classroom sparked by a few simple questions. And hiding in the bathroom at a reunion that’s been way overdue. And books filled with letters I have never and will never send. And dreams I wish would stop appearing like they’ve been burnt into the back of my eyelids. I remember too much. It’s getting too heavy, this carrying them all around with me. I guess I feel… like Atlas burdened with the weight of the world. Like fragile china in a world full of rampant, angry bulls.

It’s not my fault. It’s only the way I am.
I wish I could believe that.

Something definitely went wrong. Maybe I’m too many thin wires, wrong buttons and mortal danger to find out what went where it never should.

It’s probably fortunate that I’m best at nothing but keeping everyone else away. For your sake. But definitely more for mine.


Day Nine: I’m going to try to write more often.

by retrodiction

Retrodiction

In the darkness I will meet my creators
And they will all agree, that I’m a suffocator
I should go now quietly
For my bones have found a place
to lie down and sleep

 

It’s impossibly difficult to live in the here and now. I’m thousands of miles away from home and still I am utterly distracted.

Nine days down and 134 more to go. I didn’t think it would be this obvious that I’ve lost my spark. It’s beautiful here, there’s no doubt about that. I’ve been waiting for this trip for over three years, but I’ve lost the ability to look at anything with wonder. I haven’t got a clue what I’m doing here.

At 10am in a museum I’m planning for a 12pm activity. On the way to anywhere all I’m envisioning is what I’ll see and what I’ll do when I get there. In France, I’m imagining Italy, and in Italy I’ll most probably be imagining another place, another time. I can’t find presence.

It’s probably stupid that I’ve come so far away and not really want to see the sights. I mean, I do… But I don’t. I don’t want to travel like I’m just ticking boxes off a checklist; “yes, I’ve seen this and been here and done that, but it didn’t make feel anything.” I met a tourist in Paris who said she just had to see Versailles because she can’t possibly tell people that she’s been to Paris and not seen it. I’m not saying there’s a right or wrong way to travel, I’m just saying that’s not a way want to travel. (Although. Let’s be real, I’m pretty sure I went for the same reason just that I didn’t say it out loud) Maybe that’s why a huge part of me doesn’t really want to see these things right now, because I’ll just gawk at them instead of being mesmerised like I want to. 

There’s too much expectations of what it’ll be like and I’ll be like here. I need to learn to forget. I thought I would magically become more ‘myself’, whoever that is, once I’m far far away. Obviously that isn’t true. It’s hard to love, and want to be, all the parts of yourself you’ve felt ashamed of for so long. Maybe that’s what I’m trying to find here. I feel like such a cliched YA novel.

Just Do It (II).

by retrodiction

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As of 9.36PM, Singapore time, I’m officially set to fly off to Paris on August 29th, all the way till January 20th!! 4 months and 20 days of immersing in culturally, historically, artistically rich and diverse places, living a dream I never imagined could come true. That’s not to say that all the fears and doubts I had before booking my tickets (see previous post) just magically disappeared. If anything, I feel them more acutely because everything feels so real now. So real yet so surreal. I can’t believe I’m really going to do this.

My tentative plans for this trip would be to fly into France, Paris. Spend about a month in France, then head to Italy for about a month, followed by Greece for a month, then Germany and Denmark, before finishing the last leg of my trip in enigmatic Norway and Sweden.

France> Italy> Greece> Germany> Denmark > Norway > Sweden

Other than the first and last destination (Stockholm, Arlanada airport where I’ll be flying out) nothing’s set in stone. But I can already see it in my mind as clearly as if I’m already there: mountaineering in France; the idyllic countrysides; the Gondola in Venice; nausea from Stendhal Syndrome at the awe-inspiring art my eyes will have the privilege of looking upon; surfing in Greece; skiing in The Alps; cycling through Copenhagen; reveling in the beauty of Aurora Borealis in real life instead of pictures. And the list goes on and on and on.

But I don’t want to be just another tourist. I want to do as the locals do. I want to live and experience their way of life. Just thinking about it has me bouncing off the walls! 🙂

There’s so much to do before the next 145 days are over and I fly off into the magikcal land that coined my favourite term: “Joie De Vivre”. This is my Joie de Vivre; my joy of living. I’ve now leapt from being on the fringe to truly being in action.

But my oh my, what a tedious task of planning I have to ahead of me now. Places to research, budgets to calculate, things to buy, documents to prepare… Not to mention that I haven’t even scratched the surface of preparing those college applications!

This is the worry at the forefront of my mind now: that I can’t get everything done in time. But more than anything, booking those flights have pumped me up and made me more determined than ever to square everything away so that I won’t have to needlessly worry on what is supposed to be the First Great Adventure of My Life!

So, first things first. Fill up my college applications, complete my portfolios, then onto making that list of MUST-SEES!

What are the places you’d give anything to see with new and eager eyes again?
Any advice for a novice backpacker? The must-sees, must-dos, must-eats.

 

Just Do It.

by retrodiction

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“Courage is not having no fear. It’s being afraid but doing it anyway.”

 

I’ve been looking through multiple websites all day trying to find the cheapest tickets for flying in and out of Europe for my backpacking trip. And I think I’ve found the one. But now that I’ve sorted that out I can’t bring myself to click on that orange little button book.

It’s irrational, I know. All I’ve been talking about since even before I graduated was how I was going on this great adventure to comb the magnificent cities, eat mouth-watering food and just having a bloody fantastic time. But now… Now I’m not so sure.

I’m planning a trip from August 31st till January 29th. 4 months and 29 days of being immersed in beautiful cultures and unforgettable sights.

But…what if I don’t enjoy myself? What if I get there and the “oomph” factor that I’ve read so many bloggers rave about just doesn’t hit me? What if I feel as numbed and lifeless there as I do here?

And then there’s the more legitimate fears. 4 months and 29 days?! What if I don’t have enough money to support myself? (Red alert! insufficient planning, I know) What if all throughout the trip all my mind can fret over is whether or not that college application got through? What ifs, what ifs and more what ifs!

“Worrying says more about the worrier than the worries.”

I’m afraid to commit to this decision because I’m not sure if I’ll be able to pull through. And of course that sounds so silly because the whole point of this trip is to let loose and just have fun. It’s not a blazing trail through purgatory! So I guess this whole post is basically just a boot to my own ass. I want to stop being such a worry-wart and if I don’t click that orange little button then I’ll forever remain the kind of person I don’t want to be. The kind of person that only talks about such great and grand things, but never actually do them…

“If you can worry, it means that nothing has actually happened.”

So. Pep Talk 101: Go out there and do it (whatever it is). Because when it comes down to crunch time, when you really have to, you’ll find a way to survive.

Once again, this anxiety filled post contains no interesting information whatsoever. I really do want to talk about my upcoming trip. When I’ve got the nitty gritties finalized that is.