“Recollecting” ~ Why here? Why Now? 

Journal Notes. Photographer: Jean-Philippe Cypres

In the very early 1970s while in my 20s after leaving Japan, with a brief sojourn in Hong Kong, including a Chinese Junk I was sitting on and venturing to parts of southeast Asia, I flew across the Bay of Bengal and eventually made my way to Bombay (now Mumbia).

By chance I met and spoke with a Hindu woman in her 70s. We shared some tea together at a small wood table adjacent to a restaurant outside the city not far from the Arabian Sea. I recall our conversation where at one point she told me someday I would be wealthy. My eyes lit up. She then said, wealthy in experience. I had been abroad close to 5 years at the time and the conversation with her was uplifting for she told me about a man she had met in her twenties during the 1920s. His name was Mahatma Gandhi. I asked her many questions about him half of which she just smiled.

I have had many experiences in my travels from parts of East and Central Asia, the Middle East (particularly Jerusalem), parts of North Africa, Europe and the United Kingdom and even spent some time at Loch Ness looking for Nessie. And later parts of the Americas. I lost a lot of weight living on few meals. It was the journey, the trek, the voyage that mattered.

Some of my experiences were inspiring and others deeply sad as I witnessed human tragedies firsthand…interspersed with laughter…the trajectories of my experiences at times appear unfathomable.

I have asked myself the question of why here, why now? One may have intent…but intent is connected to available resources. Equal is never quite what we think it might or would like it to be.

And many places that I have worked and lived I have been repeatedly asked why I was living and working “here” …as if there was a special place for adventurers in which to “fit in” and settle, at least “for the time being” – nothing is forever except the physical death of “I”. Best to enjoy this moment, however one can.

In the Gospel of Thomas (113) Jesus was asked when the kingdom will come…his response was the kingdom of the father is spread out upon the earth but men do not see it.

Two of the most undoing characteristics of humanity involve the lack of humility and unselfishness both linked to creating the violence of physical and emotional poverty.

My travels have cautioned me, I have decided to write another memoir strictly about my travels and the people I have encountered. My first memoir is titled Writer in Exile, a Literary Memoir.

My greatest adventures have been listening to other people’s stories from around the world.

LJ Frank