I’m a mile or so up in the air once more, the flooded dark green plains of the Mekong Delta below so very familiar now after 2.5 years of traversing over them. Hunched and huddled in the fish-ponged cabin of a Vietnamese airlines aeroplane, I dodge the smiling offers of tepid seafood noodles and ground boot-dust tasting coffee.
This week, up until Wednesday night when I’ll be back to Saigon in time for my daughter’s 5th birthday, it’s Bangkok, for a conference and some networking.
Headphones on, I’m in auto-pilot mode.
Suvarnabhumi, Bangkok’s main airport, with its concrete grey facade and immigration charades, will welcome me onto the city sky train (or into a white-knuckle ride taxi), before the inevitable fresh fug of humidity and pungent street vending will course through my senses, awakening my thoughts…
…such as what am I going to say on the panel of “experts” I’ll be sat on at some point during Wednesday morning? Or wondering what my children will be doing right now, what I might eat for dinner, or other such personal domestic detritus.
When finished with those, I might drift into a meandering tumble of thoughts about Asia, about people, philosophising, and lost in guessing how much money the vendor I’ve just swayed past earned today, where he lives, and what might be filling his thoughts as he fries yet more plantain, lights a cigarette and eyes up my bright orange back-pack and my own curiosity.
Our brains triggers 50,000 thoughts everyday (“even at the weekend?” I want to query, when I hear such statistics). Surely, in amongst such a plethora we must all be housing enlightened, genius thoughts…poetic, melodic, sincere, beautiful, searching, illuminating thoughts. Mustn’t we?
If so, then how do we leverage these more instinctively, more practically? How to create the capabilities to summon up thoughts and introspections that lift up our hearts and open our minds to the impossible. Or even to the improbable. (Some of us, in fact, may well settle for being able to summon up, more simply, the ‘not so ordinary’.)
My weekend has been a classic enough tale of single parenting chaos, fun, and mainly laughter. My thoughts have been very much centred around my kids, and living in the moment with them.
An extra skip in my step, however, was randomly having one of my blog postings “Freshly Pressed” by WordPress editors last Friday – the result of which prompted over 1,500 new people to view the piece.
Their own blogs, musings and reflections on everything from cookery, homophobia, parenting, politics, the war in Afghanistan, sport – you name it – opened up like arrow slits to me through the world wide web, sparks of life and insights to explore from over 20 countries around the globe: some poetry about the conflict in the Middle East here, some Tuscan architecture there – a smorgasbord of narrative nuggets, all at my fingertips. All of a sudden.
It became an exquisite and indulgent weekend of literary titillation – looking through the lenses of so many, so instantly, and cajoling my own thought processes along by immersing myself in those of others.
Thank you, to anyone reading this today, for ‘liking’ and following this latest jumble of thoughts. This may well be our last encounter (I wouldn’t blame you – this is, at best, a random blog of nonsense most of the time!) but, if it isn’t, then I look forward to reading perspectives from your side of the planet, and twist of reality, soon.
I am indebted to the WordPress powers-that-be for casting this prize my way.
It was all at once an enthralling, exotic, and a truly lonely experience – for which I will always be grateful.