Men plan, and God laughs.
I’ve abandoned two of my goals as no longer suiting my present or future needs. These are (a) travel and adventure, and (b) learning a language.
All of a sudden – and this happened almost overnight – I’d completely had enough of travel. I no longer want to explore new places or discover exotic cultures. A lot those places are smelly and fly-ridden, and so are the cultures. After eleven years overseas I’ve just had enough.
I don’t want to return to Australia. I just want to find a nice, comfortable place (by my low standards) and settle down there. Get into a routine. Focus on my other goals like writing and finding alternative sources of income.
I will force myself to visit one other place in Africa while I’m in the region, but after that I will go back and settle down in Asia. Because I like it there. The food is good, the girls are cute and the price is right. Err . . .
I’m tired. I’m sick of dealing with foreigners who dare to do things differently in their own countries. I just want to stay in one place, figure out how they do things there, and relax.
Fuck adventure. I’ve had too much adventure over the last decade or so. Nuclear disasters. A girlfriend’s father was murdered. Earthquakes. Riots quelled with live ammunition. A union drama (I’ll write about that one day). Insane Korean bosses. Sleeping in a wet cave with a girl I didn’t know and her wet dog. Crossing a desert, twice. Getting chased down a mountain by enraged monkeys. Politically connected enemies who are trying to destroy me. Bastardized communism that is even worse than the original. It isn’t exciting and character building any more. It’s just exhausting. Of course, some of these can’t be avoided anywhere. But the ones that can be, I intend to avoid.
I want to find a stable place, get a modest apartment and just hang out and do my things. No alarms and no surprises. Lots of fresh fruit and vegetables, regular exercise and a dream diary. Forty minutes of daily mediation. I might even get some goldfish.
As for language, my philosophy has changed. I used to want to study a second language for the intrinsic value of seeing things from another point of view and opening my mind. I can tick that box. Learning many additional languages seems to have diminishing returns in this respect. Also, I don’t really care for some points of view. If a country has impressive historical and cultural achievements it may be worthwhile learning how they think. If they’ve done fuck all for the last thousand years, why bother?
I am particularly disinclined to study the local language any longer because the locals are not good listeners. They just want to say their own thing over and over and over as though you have said nothing at all. There is no give and take, no mutual understanding and compromise. Just endless head butting until someone capitulates. Again, why bother?
Further, I did not enjoy studying the language. Every time I did so I was reminded that I am here in Bumfuckistan. I’d prefer to read or write in my free time so that I can occasionally forget about this unhappy circumstance.
Learning a language to any degree of fluency is a massive investment of time – especially the present language, which contains a horrific multitude of irregular verb conjugations and masculine/feminine, singular/plural noun forms. Time is a scarce resource with alternative uses. Instead of learning Bumfuckese I could write a book, take up a new sport or other activity, read great poetry, befriend a Chinaman, or even just get more sleep. Quitting the language has improved my life.
In future, I will only travel to a new place in order to settle down and enjoy myself there, and I will only learn a language in order to get by in that specific location.
I’ve had enough new experiences and eye-opening events. My urge now is to slow down, to consolidate, to reflect upon and write about some of what I’ve discovered out there in the World.
In other words, I’m old.
Perhaps some day I may again contract the wanderlust. Perhaps I will even return to Africa and find some new, profound reward in dodging bullets and shitting black water. For now, though, I’m going to chillax and redouble my focus on other goals.
Not immediately, though. In sixteen more months. I’ve made my bed and have to lie in it until then.