I have been extraordinarily lucky when it comes to travel. Starting at age 2 ½ that was not my decision, but seriously since age 19, when I began travel independently. My first Round the World trip was completed before the age 24. I have continued to travel, all through my life, during my university days, during my medical school days as well as a Junior Doctor (I did a Thursday to Tuesday RTW from Melbourne as the Hospital will not give me any more days off!) and now as a Consultant, with at least 20 major trips per year. When Immigration Officers ask me why I travel so much, my stock answer is, I think I am lucky! I am grateful for a good medical education in London, Melbourne, Brisbane and Miami; I watched the recently become Young Consultants juggling to make money, while trying to do what ordinary people do. I decided to fashion a career melding my love for travel and my desire to help others through the little talent I have as a Doctor. I have since then been involved in Humanitarian Medicine, which suits me fine. A doctor without Border, having no affiliation to any group or institution, that is what I have become. Doing so, I have been able to practice my craft in far-flung places; memorable moments do exist, examining a patient from Tristan da Cunha at Funafuti, becoming the doctor to an entire family in Rapa Nui, in addition to the usual culprits, Jamaica, Venezuela, Myanmar, to name a few.
Some say, travel extends your life, breaking out of the routine, it appears as if one week is longer than a sedentary week, weekends are prolonged without the anxiety of an approaching weekday. Being an early product of a globalizing world, I have felt that it was a prolongation of Innocence, a Peter Pan of Emotions rather than of the Body!
I remember how hard a time I had trying to explain to a WHO employee in Yangon, Myanmar about the definition of Innocence. In general people who are non-native speakers of English would interpret that word in its literal sense: physical purity or emotional immaturity!
Let me explain.
Recently I was at the Toy Museum where an afternoon party of 25, four year olds was taking place. I looked at them individually and I realized what the great sages had always said: Fundamental nature of human beings is pure, conscious, peaceful, radiant, loving and wise.
Then the questions, these children are everything pure in the human nature, who does the spoiling, why do they grow up to be nasty, cruel, unkind, violent, grizzly, cold, frigid and stupid?
Do parents do it? Trying to mould them after their own imagination?
Do the teachers and the classmates play their part in this destruction of humanity? Or is it the society with all its constructions?
(Text books in certain territories inculcate hatred of the other very early in life, while in some countries, in Vietnam for instance, the children grow up grateful to the friendly countries to Bac Ho!)
For many years into my adulthood, I could still savour the Innocence of my childhood, which taught me certain behavioural patterns.
Extend a hand, without worrying who would grab it to save themselves from drowning; it may lead sometimes to misunderstanding, but usually is beneficial to both parties.
Never Wait to Offer Help. When there is an opportunity, try to help, and do that with love and respect, if you can.
When I became a Consultant to the American Indians, I found resonance to these thoughts among their philosophy. I was satisfied to read Laurens van der Post describing his beloved San people, as men-children!
Walking along certain avenues of South Caulfield, in Victoria, Australia, flowers or vines overgrowing into the street, evoked in me a sensation, as if I was being transported into the crevices of the green overgrowth of the hills surrounding Melbourne.
The very first time, someone drove me to Crandon Park in Key Biscayne in Florida, as the car turned a corner, I was transported to the remembered sight of my first journey as an adolescent into the Malaysian Interior to Pahang. That sensation was reproducible, repeated in many a pacific islands.
TRAVEL THAT EVOKES SENSATIONS SUCH AS THE ABOVE IS ALSO A FORM OF INNOCENCE