There is never enough time. I only have four more months here. No, less. It seemed like it would be forever, then it was gone. It’s a lot of time, in a way, and not enough in another. I’ve learned a lot, but there is so much more to be found. I still think that living here is too easy, but maybe it just doesn’t have the challenges that I am looking for.
Comfort is a trap, in a lot of ways. It’s easy to complain when life is not difficult, and even when it is, as long as it is familiar. A steady paycheck, a regular schedule, a limit to the chaos we allow in our lives. The war between entropy and order, but it’s not real. Entropy is illusion, as much as order is.
It’s always hard to let go of people when I connect. I found a lot of friends here, people that I know I will lose when I leave. As much as I want to stay connected, I can’t really do it over that kind of distance. Some connection can be maintained, but it’s not the same as presence.
I traveled to Hualien and camped on the Mukumugi river. We relaxed, ate indigenous food, and had a lot of fun. There is something about the right group of people that creates friendships. A tour is one thing, but really travelling rough with people is different. You connect over the differences as much as what you share. Finding the right people makes all the difference in the world. I would much rather be locked in one place with the right people than be free with the wrong ones.
Travelling up the river to the Golden Grotto was amazing. Our fearless leader was Ark Wong, a local who moved up the river like he had been born to it. He climbed up the waterfalls, then dropped the rope down to us. He leapt off of the top with a nonchalance that comes from familiarity.
There was a tower overlooking the river at one point, like a guard tower, but long abandoned. He climbed to the top and threw himself off with a grace that shouldn’t have been possible for his form. A few of us followed. It was terrifying, especially because there was enough time to look down before I hit the water. It wasn’t any better the second time. I would definitely do it again.
We skipped stones, made bad jokes, and insulted each other endlessly. It took a week to recover, but my candle does burn at both ends. It was a strange contrast to the pain of the week before, a week of confusion and loss.
I never felt so far from home as when I wanted to go back, and realized it really wasn’t possible. I could get home from Mexico in a couple hours. Here, it’s a day long trip, regardless of the time in the air. The time zone changes, the layovers, and getting to and from the airport consume so much time. I realize it’s selfish to an extent, that any difficulty could probably be overcome, but the other side of the world is still so far away.
I’ll be back soon, and hopefully I can see all the people I’ve been missing. I have realized something though. The more places I travel to, the more people I will connect with. It will never be possible to keep that connection with all of them.
I think that is the best argument for staying put. A neighborhood that doesn’t change, a school with all the same people, connections that never really fade, but I’m can travel because I believe it is a lie. Everything changes, like the ocean I love so much. We stand on the shore and look for patterns, but the reality is that we find what we’re looking for.
I am here to see what is, not to search. To listen, not to fill the void with my voice. If I can strip a few of the layers of what I believe from what I experience, maybe I’ll find a bit of Truth. The tragedy is, I think, that I know whatever I find I will never really be able to share. The Tao that can be spoken is not the true Tao.