The advertisement for Thai Airways has been making the Reader’s Digest back cover for quite some time now. The catchline always stirs something deep inside.
So many faces to see, too many places to be.
It’s perhaps an old desire to be a vagabond.
Ever since the onset of early adolescence, I have found myself away from home, living in boarding houses. At times, i had to rent cheap hotel rooms in urban sprawls that smelled of semen, cigarettes and shaving creams. I eventually grew to love that just like i loved how the morning sounded there amongst the delightful monikers hurling about distastefully painted corridors and the raspy swearing voices piercing paper-thin hotel walls. Even if it sounds dirty, life is an immaculate piece of clockwork there. Miss a minute and the dining hall is already closing down. The pandemonium dies after eight in the morning, only to return at eight at night. In between the two pandemonia, the hotel, devoid of the hubbub of the early morning hours, feels to have slipped into some kind of deep meditation. Later in the evening, with people teeming back in, dining hall gets to be the center of all activity. A scene out of it can get a jovial laugh out of you or a nasty vomit depending on your disposition. However, the best part about being a vagabond is not the crudeness of places you have to put up with; it’s experiencing the richness of souls you come across. Among the cheapest underclass, you meet the free-est of the spirits and the universal wisdom, if there is any thing such. It’s only beyond the point we have nothing more to lose do we reveal who we truly are and there in such hotels, i have taken a glimpse into what mankind truly is and capable of.
Being a vagabond is more about removing the human filters around us and within than traveling far and wide. As long as these filters are in place, the world we move in is not the same as the world that God created. All his life, a bourgeois walks a bourgeois world, a jet set, a jet set world, and an underclass, an underclass. These insurmountable filters shatter the harmony of our world by dividing it into several parallel universes that never intersect, keeping us from experiencing its phenomenal beauty as an organic whole. Breaking free of them is an essential part of what would truly be an insightful transition from being an ordinary traveler to a true vagabond. Being able to admire a diverse cross-section of humanity, irrespective of the social strata they belong from, simply as people, is the first step in this spiritual journey – a journey that is sure to transform the one who undertakes it.