Friday, August 18, 2006

calling me mad : butterflies and motorcycle barriers

Travelling is a brutality. It forces you to trust strangers and to lose sight of all that familiar comfort of home and friends. You are constantly off balance. Nothing is yours except the essential things - air, sleep, dreams, the sea, the sky - all things tending towards the eternal or what we imagine of it.

Cesare Pavese


Those of you who know ricebag are not at all strangers to that low grumble that starts in the base of her belly and scrapes its way up the hollow of her chest cavity ... grumbling and growling, the tiger within the tiger. It's a breathing bitching beast - this utter yearning (an aside: so strange to understand the inherent phyiscality of a word like "yearn"), heart hurting, physical auto-desire, an unyielding ache ... an innate sense that it's a part of being without which there is no reason, no desire - it's the drive, the need to MOVE ... to be moving .... to be moving over seas and across continents, up mountains and along roads and crossing jungles and tenting forests, driving across deserts and along the mix, crushing hearts and splitting ideas and meeting minds and loving some, meeting moments and missing days. What an utter luxury is thing thing called "travel".

And the yearning returns. Only this time it's different. Before, ricebag lived with the potent imperative that if she wasn't 'moving', that she would die. And so she kept moving.

That imperative is no longer there. And knowing that is scary as all hell.

The desire is no longer the ABSOLUTE imperative it once was because now there sits the rudimentary acceptance of a (lets face it some would say more sane - I would say more homogenous) notion that "I will not die if I do not experience x or y or z" ... That imperative was bound up in several tenets, all echoing a central truth of me - that my life would not have been of worth or well-lived or even lived, without being in some way extra ordinary. And accepting that a life could be ordinary and without ... that acceptance did not come easy. I've had to dig myself out of some serious mental and phsyical gutters before I could even begin to sit at the same table as some of the honest acknowledgments of my meagre accomplishments, let alone even start to say that those ticks meant something valuable.

It has taken some pain and real loss-of-self and a coming-to-love and some stripping-of-the-ego, to come to almost-believe that the value of this life might really be worth MORE THAN the unfulfilled desires and failed hopes of it. This distinction alone has blurred EVERYTHING for ricebag. Somehow it was easier to hold in triumph the "All Or Nothing" attitude, a great fuck-you to the future.

But now ricebag oscillates in this in-between Half-Life existence ... and lemme tell you that residing here is a whole lot scarier mantra to preach than the idea of dying for love. Because I always said, and I always believed, that half-living, that living for your bread and spam maam and working the dog-hours and the jacuzzi bars and the jetski weekends didn't seem like a trade-off when there was such incredible TRUTH of EXPERIENCE to be had ... when the planet is so AWESOME and WONDERFUL (and not in the well-flogged diasporic sense but in the sense of something truly divine) ... when the world, THE WORLD, was there to swallow us up and hold us in its bowels where the acid of experience would strip away our flesh and fear and fat and fake and maybe even our faith. And what would be left would just be the lovely bones and something selfishly puritanical. In that existence "poverty" meant being poor-of-experience and being literally poor was just a metaphor for living on the other side of the matrix. Because it had to be worse to remain inside the ambient leather-bound scraping cocoons we burrow into and build in metropolises and greyscapes made of stone and blood where the metronome tells you your heart is ticking and the drugs say the boar of your worst dreams doesn't exist and your pinned-lover says neither does the boy in Baghdad who told you that faith made men and love women made.

Oh what to do, what to BE. To be what islandbabies are expected to be when they've had golden girl educations and the love and patience of a lifetime. When is the point where the hook curves and your pull away lessens and the return to form is a notch on the evolutionary ladder of adulthood.

Well, whatever whatever. Wanna know what ricebag is dreaming of? Can you know?


Africa beckons. A dream in mind for the last 3 years ... Ricebag wants to get on a motorbike and travel across Africa - Start on the West coast and travel south to South Africa and then up the East coast to Egypt ... and time-willing, back over land I've crossed before through the Middle East and Central Asia and onwards Paki/India ho.

Oh no say you - not ricebag on another travel ranting phase. Ye of little faith. Have you not yet learnt that when ricebag dreams of faraway, she's already halfway there.

It's early days but I am getting into the research mode and right now am seriously perving on motorbikes and so far am oscillating between the following:

  • Honda Dominator 650
  • BMW F650GS
  • Yamaha TTR250

We see. We see. We see.

For the skeptics, just remember when I told you about Tibet 3 long years before I did it - and I DID!! I did it. All of it. Solo. Across that motherfucking alternate universe.


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