Saturday, April 14, 2007

Resuming My Quest for Samosa

Although my last post mentions closing the door on my travels in Southeast Asia, it turns out I will be starting another chapter in this journey. In 48 hours I will be heading off to the airport to return to a land where time stands still. I am both excited and frightened by the prospect of another 3 months in the land of smiles, a million of elephants and the rest of the domino playing field. As I said to my lovely niece, I’m sure once I sit down for a big bowl of Tom Ka Gai at Panee Restaurant, I’m certain my nervousness will yield to self-reliance and the thrill of a different perspective.

In my preparations for this trip, I often questioned my choice of destination. Why return to a place which I have already been? Are there no other destinations which pique my interest? What happened to Tibet and Argentina and Hungary and Tanzania? Am I so embedded in one thought that I have no room for another? It’s a mixed bag – as are all choices in life – that I carry. In short, my decision to return to Southeast Asia, and more specifically, Laos, is based on my pursuit of a novel (and some other writing endeavors) which takes place there. That is the practical side of it. However, on a more philosophical level, my return to Asia is peppered with a thought which has returned to mind again and again over the past months.

People ask me ‘Where (or what) is Samosa?’ Samosa is the snow leopard looking down from its perch on the tiny village and Shangri La with Atlantis and Lemuria off in the distance. Samosa is the flavour of childhood beckoning from the back of our tongue to be re-tasted both familiar and queer. Samosa is both place and sound and touch and thought and emotion. Samosa is the fountain of satisfaction – the satisfaction of facing your demons and recognizing one’s achievements with absolute detachment. In this context, my return to Southeast Asia is a pursuit of something which only exists in my heart and fantasies. And therefore, it really does not matter where I go. Again, it is not so much that we start in the “right” place, but that we start at all.

Conquering my biggest fear – the fear of never trying – seems to be well on its way. Resisting my second biggest fear – submitting my application to Dunder Mifflin – is too far in the distance to worry about today. And so, with limited funding, a few ideas and a passion beyond all imagination I cast myself back into the fray.