A Love Letter to Thailand

Your head is nestled into my shoulder
or perhaps my head rests on your breast
I can feel your softness and warmth
as our fingers idly play and tease.

Our legs casually stretch towards the sunset
as the waves slap softly at the seawall
Occasionally a tourist walks beneath us
smiling quietly as they notice our dangling legs.

We speak little, and move less
engulfed by the heat of the early evening
Dragonflies and swallows fly lazy circles about us
hunting mosquitos and singing to the dying sun.

Soon it will be dark, the mosquitos fled
even the faint shrieks of the bats will be gone
We will peel our bodies apart, shake off our torpor
and leave to find food, to talk and laugh among friends.

Tomorrow brings another day
but for now, we want for nothing.

It's a Complicated Relationship

Our hubris has been believing that when the aliens come that they will be walking, talking creatures which we can comprehend. The reality is that the aliens discovered and exploited us millennia ago. So long ago that all we have left of the time before, is the whispers of folk tale and legend.

They descended upon us and traded directly with our subconscious. In exchange for a home, they offered soma. Perhaps this wasn't such a bad deal, reality was terrifying to our incipient human consciousness. Their offer of absolution in exchange for what we didn't yet understand, was gratefully accepted.

Yet some understood. As they watched their brothers and sisters fall under the spell, they understood the nature of the bargain that was struck. For now, within each of us, there is a voice crying to be fed. A voice that can be subdued but not silenced. A voice whose desire must be reckoned with each and every day.

May the Night Be Kind

“it's my birthday” she said,
sodden eyes scanning the street

the older man next to her,
with an unhealed scar on his chin
showed me he was waiting
for her caution to wane

i let her use my phone
gave her a hug and a kiss
asked “you okay?”, already
knowing that she wasn't

getting on the bus home
i changed my mind
turned around, looking
she was nowhere to be found

may the night be kind

Monkey Seeks Truth

Monkey fears truth,
so he hides in his bed.
Monkey seeks truth,
but goes surfing instead.
Monkey finds truth,
when he's not in his head.

How We Solve Problems

This description from Newsweek on what happens in our brains when we're creatively solving problems is wonderful. I don't think I could have come up with these words but they describe exactly what it feels like to me when I'm involved in difficult problem solving.

When you try to solve a problem, you begin by concentrating on obvious facts and familiar solutions, to see if the answer lies there. This is a mostly left-brain stage of attack. If the answer doesn’t come, the right and left hemispheres of the brain activate together. Neural networks on the right side scan remote memories that could be vaguely relevant. A wide range of distant information that is normally tuned out becomes available to the left hemisphere, which searches for unseen patterns, alternative meanings, and high-level abstractions.

Having glimpsed such a connection, the left brain must quickly lock in on it before it escapes. The attention system must radically reverse gears, going from defocused attention to extremely focused attention. In a flash, the brain pulls together these disparate shreds of thought and binds them into a new single idea that enters consciousness. This is the “aha!” moment of insight, often followed by a spark of pleasure as the brain recognizes the novelty of what it’s come up with.

Now the brain must evaluate the idea it just generated. Is it worth pursuing? Creativity requires constant shifting, blender pulses of both divergent thinking and convergent thinking, to combine new information with old and forgotten ideas. Highly creative people are very good at marshalling their brains into bilateral mode, and the more creative they are, the more they dual-activate.

Life After Weta?

I keep forgetting that we aren't all connected to the same hive mind and am surprised when friends don't know that I have left Weta (again). Everybody asks why I chose to leave, and the answer is simple. Despite the fact that I adore my job, doing it left me with very little emotional energy to do anything else. I realised that for most of my adult life, work really has been my life. For a long time that was fine because I loved my work and was happy to make it my life. However with each passing year that compromise has seemed less acceptable. With “Avatar” wrapping up, and especially now that I'm single again, it felt foolish to not take a punt and try something different.

Of course this leaves the question of what exactly is the next step, and honestly the answer is that I don't know. What I do know is I've been talking about travelling the world for longer then I can remember. As a kid, shuttling between California and New Zealand with my parents, I remember idolising the scruffy hippy kids that I'd see congregating in the corners of airports. Over the last <gulp> twenty years I've ended relationships and quit jobs to head off on this journey more times then I care to count. Yet I always allowed life to pull me back before the final plunge. The time has arrived to stare the dream square in the face and either plunge in … or get over it.

What I do know is that I'll be spending the next couple months in Wellington enjoying summer and the company of friends. Then around April I'll be heading off towards Southeast Asia. My destination? The cheapest flight that gets me to Southeast Asia, I'm guessing Bangkok but hope to be surprised. From there I intend to slowly make my way westward. Since I'm not in a hurry I intend to stop for as long as I like and enjoy everything which seems worth savouring. I'll be avoiding planes and will instead travel by foot, bicycle, motorbike, boat and bus as much as possible. After exploring Southeast Asia I hope to make my way into China and from there to Tibet, down through Nepal and into India. After that I really have no idea, I suspect my initial travel companions will have headed for home by then so I'll be properly on my own. Then depending on how comfortable I am in my new traveller shoes, Africa or Eastern Europe seem the most likely choices.

I've been saying that this is going to be a years trip but really I have no idea. More realistically it'll end when I: get sick of it, run out of money, find something I don't want to leave or end up back in New Zealand.

Between now and then I hope to keep the new travel section of this updated with what I learn and experience along the way.

2014 by adam shand. sharing is an act of love, please share.