It only takes a day to disappear. Even when I found myself on solitary islands in the midst of the Andaman Sea, the only neighbouring land visible but ghosts on the horizon, I still did not experience that feeling of absolute tranquility, the feeling that I had disappeared. I was still connected to the world by which I define life; my family and friends back home in England, the new friends I met along the way, all combined to keep me firmly grounded to a tangible reality. It wasn’t until my last days in Thailand that I experienced the strange and oddly exhilarating sensation of not existing. I was in Bangkok passing through en route to Kanchanaburi, a city 2 hours outside of the capitol, having just touched ground after a 14 hour coach journey through the night from Krabi. I had no wifi access and I had maxed my roaming limit so my phone was rendered obsolete but for the need to keep time. I was alone in Bangkok for the first time, the previous two occasions I had been there I was in the company of my friend V. As I looked around the bustle of traffic and people pursuing life in the unrelenting heat and pollution, it dawned on me that not one soul in the world knew where I was. Not exactly. I smiled, no one could vouch for my presence since going on 17 hours now, and this was at once terrifying and liberating. Do you exist if no one knows you? Then came the guilt for the people who would be worried about me: my mum who I am certain never slept the whole time I was away. But as I could do nothing to alleviate their concerns I decided to enjoy the moment anyway basking in the freedom of nonentity.
In some respects coming back to AwkwardTurtleTales reminds me of that feeling of nonexistence. I have been hovering over half-written posts since my return and have held back each time from recommitting myself to the world. Im still retreating in observer mode, cautious to jump right back in. This post is me breaking my proverbial seal (the literal one is long gone by now), and by golly! there’s a lot of writing to be done.