Comfort, travelling, tradeoffs, Vancouver

by wynlim

So here I am again – new city, new people, new food, new experiences. I made the decision to come to Vancouver for reasons I cannot reveal, it is something that I have to do as part of a much longer-term plan.

I don’t know but it may sound exciting to other people, which it is to a certain extent, but it is also filled with times of uncertainty and discomfort.

There are moments when I feel like I want to be back at my 40in tv, memory-foam bed, consistent hot-water shower, complete with my dog and partner.

But I remember this excerpt of someone’s blog post on the “Life of Pi“:

“Comfort is a a menace though. It reminds me of the oasis island Pi came upon in the middle of the Pacific in the book The Life of Pi. The one where sweet fruits weighted down the tree branches and furry little beasts approached to offer their company and occasionally ended up in Pi’s belly when he craved for meat. At nights he slept on big branches hugging a couple of his furry pets. All was dreamy.

Until he found the teeth. The teeth of the others who lived on the island before him. The island was actually a living organism that slowly eroded away anything that lived on it, every hair and every bone. Until, only teeth were left.

That is what comfort does.”

And I agree. That comfort is poison. Once you only want to be comfortable, once you resist change, you try to live your life pursing that comfort and trying not to lose it.

There is something romantic and profound about the process of transformation. Like the phoenix which burns and rise from the ashes. I guess for me, this is what represents life. Going through the process of re-birthing over and over again.

I keep remembering the war reporter who served as a muse in one of Paulo Coelho’s books – she keeps on returning to war zones to do journalistic reporting because it is only then that she feels truly alive.

While it was indeed very tempting to remain in my comfort zone, the desire to feel alive is stronger, but it is a constant battle to remind myself over and over again why I am doing this. I am only human sometimes.

In life, it is really all about making tradeoffs. Knowing what you truly want and the willingness to give up certain things for it. But it is easy to get confused between what you think you want and what you really, truly want. 

When things get really hard, I ask myself – would I rather be doing something else? I guess not, because I am a hopeless romantic and being romantic means tolerating zero degree temperatures and foregoing material stability in order to be closer to where I hope to be. 

Pursuing what you believe in is hard. But that is why only a select few get to walk the talk. I can only continue trying. I remain comforted to know that despite all my apparent weaknesses, I am still not giving up and that is all that matters.

I make it sound all drastic and grey in this post but all serious issues aside – Vancouver is really growing on me. I have never felt any urge to seek out Asian places or people when I travel, but I feel strangely happy when I am in one of those hongkong-style cafes with old people speaking in Cantonese. It is ironic what makes me feel comforted is not something that reminds me of my home country, but rather the Cantonese culture. It was also heart-warming and nostalgic to be discussing 90s’ Cantopop with Canadian Chinese.

Apart from the apparent asian-ness of Vancouver, hippie cafes, organic markets and old-style diners make me happy too. Notice the food theme everywhere? 😉

For the first time in my life – I saw snow, I experienced zero degree weather, I saw trees without leaves. I also successfully unclogged a bathroom sink by doing a search on google. That made me feel strangely proud of myself for some reason.

I’ll be here for a few more months and I look forward to feeling alive – over and over again.