To Reflect or Refract


Evan Matthew Klinger's Facebook profile

A dear friend and devoted blog reader recently commented that my posts were becoming mostly episodic and lacked reflection. She told me that I was simply rattling off my life like it was an attendance roll and that I was not taking the time to reflect on the experiences I was having. Indeed I have been cursed by the world of Facebook and I now write with over-consolidation as if life was a myriad of boxes for me to check off.
“Jumped off a Himalayan cliff today.”
“Swam with pink dolphins and fed them tuna fish sandwiches.”
“Was sated with satay in Malaysia.”
“Did the holy dance in Kashmir”
“Strolled through Indonesian lava fields.”
“Took a dump on a toilet you wouldn’t believe”
Am I really becoming the product of my sums or should I start savoring each moment for what it is and then savor it again at a later date? Perhaps this succinct syndrome is the product of travelling alone. I have never felt more alone than I have in this last 6 months in Asia. Maybe it is the fact that I am now at an age where I am not easily approached by the young twenty something backpacker. I tend to go for not higher end places but not bottom of the barrel. Sometimes I do search for the budget option though just to find like minded travelers and see how the kids are spending their money these days.
This pause for reflection comes at a great time. As I type this, I sit on a propeller airlplane bound for Medan, Indonesia. Surrounding me are jovial brown men and very few women. The flight cost me $32 and the airline more than no frills. The “ticket” is a receipt similar to the one you get in a grocery store. I am sitting on board and no one has checked my ticket or even looked at me twice. I was walking around the tarmac by myself with no guidance for a few minutes and wandered over to a large silver plane with the words “Air Force” on it. “No, that plane is for the New Zealand paratroopers and their wives.” New Zealand sounds great to me but its winter there right now and I am hoping for some warm Indonesian waves.
Indo has been a dream since I was 18 and saw my first surfing video. In the video a young Kelly Slater was surfing in water a color I had never seen and, in the interstitials, he was wearing headbands made of lush orange flowers. I didn’t know anything about the food politics or terror that Indonesia is now equated with, but I knew that the 14,000 islands on the equator were a dream for me.
Engines rumble, Indonesian flight attendants don yellow life jackets, and I pause and reflect every second for the 32 minute flight that will transport me to a dream. It’s country 54 for me, but why do I feel like it’s number 1?

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