Light Up the Night

My wife once told me how envious she was on my life. That at a young age I knew exactly what to do with it. She wasn’t alone. We had a mutual friend, who said the same thing to me. I have friends who feel the same.

I couldn’t have been more than 11-years-old when I thought I’d set sail, determined to become a journalist. Somehow after staying tuned on National Geographic than at Cartoon Network had some sort of influence on me. Because it just hit me that the world is a massive place and there many fantastical and absurd things to see. And there was it. I wanted to travel and see the world. Not the Carpe Diem, penny-less, reckless, pursuit-of-life bullshit. Something more as a passion-driven profession, where I’d get to travel and write all about it, and get paid.

The truth is, being able to work on videogames is the first thing I really wanted to do. But my brain couldn’t comprehend coding and I keep feeling stupid whenever I try to study it as hard as I could, plus the severe lack of resources back then. (It is only recently that gaming industry is gaming traction from where I live.)

So I set out to become a journalist. Because it involved writing and I’ve been writing short stories and games stories ever since I’ve played “Super Mario World” and writing about games was the closest thing I could do to make them.

In my past five years as a journalist, I have been to Thailand, Malaysia, China, Taiwan, Singapore, India, and Indonesia, for numerous times, each exploring another part of the country where I haven’t been before. I think, it’s a little hard to tell which one had been the best. There was that one trip to Singapore, where all 12 of us media friends sat at dinner, being loud and obnoxious, singing the theme song of Captain Planet. Holy shit, right? Then there was my first visit to China, to Beijing specifically. I scaled a tiny fraction of the Great Wall, sailed along the Yellow River, saw the faces carved from mountains – two emperors, whose names I forgot, and then, the best of all, Kung Fu training where the tour guides made us dress up. The twist here, had been the bus drop out was in a massive tourist location, and there were people all over the world, looking at us, taking our pictures. We had to walk over an hour, to get some basic training, and then, a little more walking, we got to watch actual martial artists practicing Kung Fu in its full glory.

The stuff you see in films where dozens upon dozens of rows and columns of children going “Hiya! Hiya! Hiya!” are true. It was a thrill.

Then of course there is that first travel, to Bangkok, Thailand. Where the gracious phone maker company treated us to a very sketchy massage place. At first we all though, ah, okay…. All the people that will be doing the massages are all dudes, so, for half of us guys, are like, okay that’s a little better. For a moment there we all thought we were being forced to do something illegal.

Then each of us were ushered to our separate rooms, a blank, boring room, with a lone mattress on the floor, and a bright red light on the ceiling. Holy fuck, what have we gotten ourselves into?

It all turned out well. We’d hear the occasional scream from the other room, and someone from the other room would shout, “Hey you okay?”

It was a legit massage place, long story short and the most amusing tale that night was this really hot girl that were with us, got a little bit of unwanted extra attention. Nothing terrible happened to her. She just managed to laugh it off. This is a tale best saved for another time.

Later that night, we were on a cruise ship along, from what I recall, is called the River of Kings. We passed by underneath a bridge, with a couple of Thai people waving at us, shouting something. It could have been “Hi!” or “Fuck you!” I don’t know. It was nice and sweet and tourists waved back at them.

I started a blog before going to bed. A travel blog, because, this was it, my moment to write about the places I see. I don’t know what happened to be honest. The blog died before it even took off. I started a second one for book reviews and that went nowhere as well. A few months after that, the Visceral Writings WordPress blog came to life, originally designed to document my writing progress.

I think I realized too late, no one really gives a shit about reading the behind-the-scenes of how a novel came to be. Especially from a no one such as myself. I thought about spicing it up by putting in writing advice. Then I realized, that was stupid. Who am I, to give proud advice to other writers? We’re all equal and on the same boat. Inspiration and motivation? Maybe. Yeah. I suppose that’s alright. But it’s not enough of a reason though. It only made me look arrogant.

Look, I’m not saying I will start handing out advice if I become a better writer. There are tons of writers out there that are doing a better job. My work pales in comparison in mostly everyone else that I know and anything I put on paper continues to be criticized to no-end. But it’s cool. I’ll keep on writing.

I suppose the purpose of this post is simply to make it formal. I’d like to jump start the travel writing thing while I still can. So this blog of an aspiring author will now write about random travels every now and then. I’ll try to recall some of my past visits and write about them too. Keep on trying new stuff and all those ridiculous stuff.

All I’m saying is, most of my life has been in the dark, wandering out alone and shit. I guess it’s time to put on a little lights here and there.

Hell, I might even try to do food writing. Uh, maybe not.

Now Listening: Light up the Night, by The Protomen


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