Earlier today I was watching an episode of Anthony Bourdain’s, Parts Unknown (Season 1 – episode 5) as he explored Tangier in Morocco. The introduction, with its haunting tones for a call to pray mixed with the sound of the Ney (Arabic flute) instantly took me to a distant time and place from my past visits to the middle east and Turkey.
If I close my eyes these beautifully textured sounds can transport me back to the Medina (market) like a warm embrace, with a hundred memories swirling in my head…
He then went on to quote the long time resident of Tangier and author – William Burroughs who said “I’ve always wanted to get as far away as possible from the place that I was born, far both geographically and spiritually, to leave it far behind”…
This mix of sounds and words really converged around the life that I’ve created for myself. Not just any life, but one full of travel, exploration and wonder. Since I was a small boy I’d always dreamed of the huge world out there just waiting for me to come and explore.
I’m a million miles from where I was born and raised…and not so surprisingly I’m sure you can appreciate my enthusiasm for travel and exploration.
My “itchy feet” as my mum used to call it come honestly in that apparently grandfather Conolly had a similar affliction, however the big difference between having itchy feet at the start of the 20th century versus the 21st century is the speed and access to help satiate your ‘ne’er-do-well’ nature. 🙂
Sounds and smells have always been a common trigger for me, and there is hardly a day go by where my mind is not hijacked by either of these two senses. it can be a simple as the sound of a Ney like in the Netflix show, or the smell of musty library…either way they inevitably transport me to a distant place and time in my life, I have a veritable library of them cataloged and stored in my brain!
For much of my life I’ve learned through my senses, always struggling when it came to studying for a test or exam in the traditional sense where I have to remember figures, facts and copious amounts of text, often only scrapping by after an inordinate and herculean effort of prolonged study…and I mean prolonged!
As a visual learner, and with what I would consider better than average powers of observation I’ve been able to make my way through life quite nicely, although what I lose in book smarts I make up for in determination, focus, perseverance and self belief.
As a child, school was always a bit of a struggle as I was always streamed into the lowest academic class and considered “dumb”. In fact the flip side was that I found I could pick things up very quickly by watching others, synthesize large amounts of data and turn this into stories, anecdotes for others to easily digest. It also helps that I have no fear of talking in front large audiences…enter stage right!
Another of the things my mum used to say was that I “liked the sound of my own voice” just a little too much…but of course that was in the days of “kids should be seen and not heard” so I filed that away for future reference…NOT!
This chip on my shoulder has been a consistent and driving force in my world domination (okay, my words…clearly not reality. Lol!). But seriously, being tagged as “dumb” during my childhood has been a blessing in disguise in so many ways.
This childhood crucible taught me the art of resilience and resourcefulness which have come in handy on many occasions during my life. I’ve also learned to embrace my senses to help guide me, and utilize them in a way that enables me to be successful, whether it be through my speaking, writing, or consulting.
I must admit I’ve spent a lot of time searching for and finding my inner groove over the course of my life. Sometimes this has proved to be frustrating, but other times providing incredible highs, but all these moments are just part of the journey…the fabric of your life if you will.
Life’s not about where you started, nor where you end but the beauty of your journey, finding contentment and learning how to be comfortable in your own skin while having fun along the way seems like the way to go.
So I will continue to embrace my senses, and let them take me where they want in my pursuit of living a full and contented life one day at a time.
p.s. By time you read this I’ll be jetting to Japan and onto my next adventure. If you’re interested in discovering Japn, check out my instagram feed for daily photos and updates (indelibleadventures), plus stay tuned to my blog next week for my stories.