Damien Secret's Anthropological Origins on a Southeast Asian Odyssey
The Wild Musings of a Yung Vagabond Traveling Southeast Asia
For a long time I was searching--reading books, novels, short stories, speeches, & essays; volumes, chapters, pages, paragraphs, & sentences--searching for the words that I was supposed to write all along. I wasn't able to put pen to paper until the back-end of my postgrad Southeast Asian Odyssey, in Bali. I wasn't able to materialize the storm of words flying tirelessly around my cranium until now.
It was around the middle of June that the storm of shenanigans around graduation subsided and I finally bought my flight from LAX to Tokyo for July 20th. As promised, I told my cousin-brother Raphael, who earlier in the year had expressed similar thoughts & lamentations about uncertainty of professional directions, a budding loneliness, and getting away from his university & city (UCSD & San Diego) on a postgrad trip. He was V down with the idea of a postgrad odyssey and within a few days he'd booked his flight too. Around his birthday at the end of June I made the trek up to "farmville" , the Valley of Grass, where he lives for some brainstorming about our barnstorm to come. We got some ideas from friends & family about places to go & ways to get around and set our sights on making our way from Japan down to Indonesia. We spent some time booking flights and a few AirBnbs & hostels (for financial incentives) and were really stoked with what we had come up with, spending a few days to a week in most of the countries we'd visit starting with Japan and working our way down through China, Thailand, Laos, Vietnam, Cambodia, Phuket & Koh Phi Phi and end our adventure in Bali.
After about 3 months abroad on this odyssey I finally returned home in the beginning of October with a new perspective on the world and my life. Throughout our atavistic adventure in Southeast Asia Raphael and I saw many new and enchanting places, met countless amazing and beautiful humans who we shared our hearts and minds with, lived tall tales against new cultural and environmental backdrops, and wrote real stories of secret and legend. I had learned so much about the world, the cultures and people in it, and especially myself. New worldviews, new means of relating to others, new dreams and ideas for the present and future, a new view of myself. I was a new human back in my old home.
Since being home though, I've felt a strange displacement, a feeling that I'm an extraterrestrial in the place I'd come from, lost in my hometown. I've been home about 3 months now and queries about my travels have started dissipating, but the new sense of being and new spirit inside me still resides. Even with this strange sense of displacement I'm feeling, I can't seem to shake my newly discovered spirit: first name: Damien, last name: Damien. A man forgettably subdued in LA and unearthed on this Southeast Asian Odyssey. Experiences along the journey showed me more bits and pieces of myself until the full picture starting coming together. Each time it felt transcendental, as if I was J.D. Salinger's Holden finally, and gradually, shedding my cynicism about growing up and entering the often disillusioning and sometimes phony adult world. During my travels I lived in each moment--present exactly at where and when I was in the universe--and I brought this presence back home with me. I started writing in Bali and was fiendishly continuing, writing about the lived adventures and farcical legends Raphael and I created; the beautiful, sublime, and life-altering places we went; the surrealist and real characters we met along the way, and of course, all that aforementioned inner-monologuing existential shit too.
But Damien Damien is just geil. And geil is Damien Damien. Unearthing Damien was really an exercise in unearthing my real self. But how do I share my changed essence of self, my new spirit with those at home who changed in their own ways while I was traveling--entering the workforce, dating new people, buying houses/apartments, and moving to new cities? How to solve this existential dilemma (without traveling again)?
Damien's Secrets is my way of sharing the internal transformation I've experienced that hasn't faded since my return home. Damien's Secrets is an ongoing collection of my poetry & prose: wild stories of international secret about my travels--all the amazing and beautiful humans met along the way, the enchanting destinations seen, the beautiful cultures experienced, and the thoroughly gluttonous gorges--transcendental & introspective musings about life while on the road, and photographs if only to remind myself that all these things truly happened!
Damien's Secrets will be inaugurated with my Southeast Asian Odyssey experience, but once that begins to wrap up on these digital pages, I hope to expand my writings to include more pieces about what adventures I'm up to now wherever I am in the world, sociopolitical musings on current issues, travel guides for some of the places I've been or lived, and more of the inevitable inner monologues I'll have along the way!
Thanks for reading & I hope you enjoy the words & images as much as I enjoyed these experiences!