I have crossed the sea into another world entirely. Modern life brought me here. Planes, trains and cars, online booking and airport terminals. All the tools of contemporary culture coalesced into a pathway, an invisible road that deposited me here and then quietly disappeared.
Each day stretches languidly in the heat and I’m aware only of the slow traverse of the tropical sun across the powder blue sky, of my pulse beating just under the skin and the sweat trickling down my back. I fall asleep to the sound of the geckos declaring their names to the humid night.
The island creatures are everywhere. My rough wooden shack on the edge of the jungle is filled with all manner of creeping, crawling, flying things. They eye me incuriously. This is their world and I am temporary. Their nightly dramas unfold while I sleep.
Maybe this place is not just a remote island, but an edge place, touching the world we know only lightly. Time behaves differently here. Like the ancient land of faery, visited only by unwitting travellers and the initiated, two weeks here may be the equivalent of two decades back home, and we may return to find the world has changed utterly while we’ve been away.
Maybe this place is not just a remote island, but an edge place, touching the world we know only lightly.
I may not have passed through a mythical sea mist on my voyage from Sihanoukville, but this place is certainly an oasis displaced sideways in time. The angry, grey, industrial world has slipped from view. There is no urgency here, no schedules, no deadlines, no meetings, absolutely nothing to achieve. The odd thought of home floats occasionally into view, an email not sent or a bill not paid, but these seem strangely dislocated. An oddity to be examined briefly, then gently released.
It is a strange thing to journey so completely into another world so different from your own. Who will I be with so much of my old life set aside, at least for now? So many of the things that shaped my days, my thoughts and ambitions have no relevance here. Much of what was important seems insignificant.
I know one day the song of the familiar will draw me home, but for now the path leads deeper into the forest…