Travel is the easiest way to open incisions on yourself. I say that because every time I move, outside the tubular bubble of comfort I’m pressed for reconciling many of the world’s broken realities. Plunge into any developing nation and you will acquit yourself judgement from depressing poverty and intergenerational sorrow. People do not live like this if they had a choice. We can glide in and through the landscape like a living theatre, capturing essences of their daily grime to somehow restore our perspective. I had an experience like this similar to the photo captured above, however, it featured twenty-somethings. I wish I had taken a photo, but it would have been irreverently indelicate. We’d been rolling along all day through the countryside in Burma with small towns stringing past like cute dioramas.
It was a careless ship of a bus, everyone else – bikes and beasts – were either repelled or sucked behind. Then it happened. Two young men on a motorbike struggling along in the bow wave. The pillion (the guy at the back) looked up and for a very brief moment we locked eyes. It was a brittle, embarrassing glance. His eyes then unfixed and stared down in universal submission, a mangled kind of genuflection. Poverty staring at encased wealth. We looked similar in age and ethnicity except I was fortunate of birth and circumstance. For a second there was a mutual understanding, a sorrowful reconciliation. However brief it was there was a transference of desire, that which is lost on us – wealth beyond the wildest of dreams.