The Wind (Combined Excerpts from Traveling to Thailand and Current Musings)

27 Mar

The Wind (Combined Excerpts from Traveling to Thailand and Current Musings)

One of the coolest traveling experiences I ever had was in the jungle of Northern Thailand.  I lived in a small village with a total population of 20.  I was accompanied by a group of 12 other tourists, mostly Europeans.  They all slept inside a wooden room built just for passing tourists like us.  But I decided to sleep outside under the stars with our tour guide, Tok.  As I fell asleep, I heard a gentle caress of a warm wind pass my face. Though I was so far away from home I felt safe.  I felt grateful to have been given the opportunity to travel and experience such wonderful cultures so different from my own.  And then I had a really cool thought.  I mused: t


The wind is a superb traveler.  It possesses an unstoppable ambition to see the world.  The wind travels to the highest and coldest altitudes, to the lowest and hottest deserts, into dark caves and canyons, across rivers and oceans.  It has no fear of its path.  Or maybe it does posses fear.  But at least I know it doesn’t fear its fear.  It only knows the basic formula of expanding itself: to become One with the place that it travels to.  As terrestrial travelers ourselves, we could learn a thing or two from the wind.  The wind takes chances – with the unequivocal guidance of nature’s wisdom.  And so should we attempt to travel to new cultures, to listen to our heart’s desire to harmonize with people in places we could only fit into our imagination.  And when we find ourselves in a new country, we should be fearless to try to speak the native language.  And there are thousands of languages out there. But they should not be reduced to expression of words and body.  There is also the language of play, the language of music, the language of radio-silence, the language of meditation, the language of smile, a language of thought, and language of love.  In other words we possess the capacity to express ourselves in so many diverse ways. 


Loris Malaguzzi, one of my heroes in the world of education, wrote a poem called the 100 Languages of Children.  It’s always inspired me to do my best as a teacher of children.  But now I see how it applies to any person who dares to be like the roving wind: 


The child is made of one hundred.
The child has a hundred languages 
a hundred hands 
a hundred thoughts 
a hundred ways of thinking 
of playing, of speaking. 
A hundred, always a hundred 
ways of listening 
of marveling 
of loving 
a hundred joys for singing 
and understanding 
a hundred worlds to discover 
a hundred worlds to invent 
a hundred worlds to dream. 
The child has a hundred languages 
(and a hundred hundred hundred more) 
but they steal ninety-nine 
the school and the culture 
separate the head from the body. 
They tell the child to think 
without hands 
to do without head 
to listen and not speak 
to understand without joy 
to love and marvel 
only at Easter and Christmas. 
They tell the child 
to discover the world already there 
and of the hundred 
they steal ninety-nine. 
They tell the child that 
work and play 
reality and fantasy 
science and imagination 
sky and earth 
reason and dream
are things
that do not belong together. 
And thus they tell the child 
that the hundred is not there. 
The child says: 

No way.  The hundred is there!

This poem inspires me to travel the world and share our unique languages.  It teaches me how to make the most of my experience by becoming one with the people who are the bricks of the cultural house that stands in every country, unique in its language, value system, religion, and way of mind.  What’s the point of being the typical tourist?  How much can one learn by only going to museums and important places that the travel agent or Lonely Planet guidebook recommends? The wind interacts with the environment as it sees fit.  And so should we.  It knows that in the Caribbean it will be a hurricane or a tropical storm.  It knows that in the valley it needs to be a tornado.  It knows when to be a warm light breeze, and a tailwind for birds and airplanes.  The wind is such a savvy traveler that it doesn’t even know that it knows.  It just is. 






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