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Escapism in my Mind November 15, 2007

Posted by Janjan in All, I, Lawyer, Seriously now….

Ever since I’ve graduated from high school, I’ve either been studying or working or both. At the most, I have had only my summer vacations back in my undergraduate years in Accounting to count as real vacations where I had nothing to do but lounge around in the house.

And I’ve realized that I’m tired. I want to run away. That is my fondest wish. I want to get lost to this world, to be a complete stranger in a strange land. I want to take time, a year and a day, to just stop and reflect. I want to reorient myself, know where I’m headed, understand who I am, and just reconnect to the world that I feel I’m alienated from. I want to take time to meditate and get to know my God better.

But of course, that is just an idle fantasy. The reality is that I have duties at home, to my clients and to life in general that bars me from irresponsibly dropping everything and being self-indulgent. But nevertheless, I can always run away in my dreams.

The question begs therefore… where will I run off to? What will I do? What will I carry?

Well… in my imagination, I’m packing the following things: One week’s worth of change in clothes, plus a lot of laundry soap for my washing. A strong, sturdy and waterproof knapsack. A nuclear-powered laptop with satellite link to the Internet (so I can still keep track of the world and let everyone know that I’m alright and alive), a magnesium-alloy body DSLR, with a full complement of Nikkor lenses (macro, fisheye, tele-zoom, and wide-angle). The camera should be chargeable against the laptop’s nuclear battery.

I would be riding an amphibious car that can run on land or water, powered by super-efficient solar panels. My wallet would have enough to meet for my basic needs during all the time that I’m away. I will carry a cellphone with satellite link-up, but on a strict firewal that only allows me to be accessed in case of someone dear to me.

And now… where do I go off to? Where will I spend my year and a day in solitude?

My conditions are that the place where I am going to must be quiet, solitary and cut-off from the rest of the world. I would like to hear myself think, that’s why I would like to go to:

1) The Benedictine Trappist monastery in Belgium that reputedly brews the best beer in the world. I would love to stay there and learn the secrets of their brewery. Plus, I could also learn the Benedictine’s discipline of prayer and meditation. They could assign me somewhere, perhaps to their vegetable patch or to their carpentry room, where I could make myself useful. I could already imagine myself in the beautiful and cold temperate forests of Belgium, taking pictures of black bears and wolves, and hying off for vespers at the Trappist chapel. And as we turn in for the night, we are handed our ration of heaven’s beer.

2) Osaka, Japan, the birthplace of karate, where I will train with the best karate masters in the world. I’ve been a Japanophile way before the advent of the anime craze in the Philippines. I love the quiet minimalism associated with Japanese culture. I want to wake up to a glorious sunset with a D300 in hand, taking pictures of cranes bobbing for fishes in the Osakan sea.

3) The Banaue Rice Terraces. I want to live amongst the Ifugaos, and get my hands dirty planting rice alongside them. I want to take pictures of their ritual medicine dances and sleep in their conical stilt huts.

4) The Wudan Temple in inland China… the one that was used in the movie “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon.” Oh to learn meditation principles and kung-fu with the Wudan masters…. that would be a treat. Mind you, I am not talking about the Shaolin monks (the ones in orange robes, practicing Buddhism), but the brown robe-clad monks of the Taoist sect. Why? Because if you’ve seen the movie, you’d know how breathtakingly beautiful the Wudan Temple is and how hard it is to access.

5) The wineyards of Champagne, France, where I will harvest the delicate white wine grapes together with the French peasants. A bonus for me would be if it has an eerie forest, just like the one seen in “Le Pacte le Loupe” (Brotherhood of the Wolf), where there are great photo opportunities waiting to be captured.

6) Barcelona, Spain, where my Perez roots are said to hail from. Barcelona… a city full of painters, passionate women, flamenco guitars and tango dancers. Beautiful stucco roofs, old buildings, flourishing art all around… strong, full-bodied… just like brandy.

7) A castle in Germany. I’m a big fan of the medieval ages, and what better way bto retrace the roots of the Dark Ages than visit the land where Goths, Visigoths and Vandals once rampaged? I could spend hours learning German and then poring over ancient manuscripts hand-written by Jesuit friars.

I guess this is my list of idyllic places where I want to run away and hide from the rest of the world. One can only dream. 🙂