View from my workdesk: Bang Bao (near Lonely Beach, Koh Chang island, TL)
Welcome to the new Mind-Futures site! (almost). I am completely re-doing my main site and blog. Why am I doing this?
Well, it all began when I met a porn meister in a little village in a small island in the Bay of Thailand about three weeks ago. I met Yohan when I rocked into a Rasta bar one evening while on my month-long holiday on the Island. The bar was dark and smelly, and there were more dreadlocks to be seen than in a Jamaican cricket ground. Yohan was very tall and very Dutch – and we hit it off right away. I eventually got around to asking him what he did for a living.
“I design web sites.” He said is his Arnie-esque accent. “Some dating sites. And mostly porn sites.”
“Ah huh. That’s nice.”
Turns out Yohan was a really nice guy, not exactly in the porn business himself, but flirting round the edges. He told me how, since breaking up with his girlfriend of ten years, he had gone on the road, and was living as a “digital nomad”, traveling the world and living in inexpensive countries. In Lonely Beach he was staying in a beach hut for 150 baht a night – that’s about eight American dollars. He had a magnificent silver computer in his backpack. Straight away I realised that we had a lot in common, even though I have no connection with the porn industry (honest!). I, my good self, was travelling light around the Sand of Smiles. I had one very simple, small, black backpack which contained a small laptop, two shirts, one pair of jeans and a single pair of shorts (yeah, some socks and underwear, too). My inspiration for this midlife-crisis of an experiment was none other than Julian Assange, whom I have read travelled around in similar fashion before he became internationally (in)famous. Julian, it was said, had only a single, collared white shirt in his backpack, which he washed daily – even when fronting major international organisations and media presentations (Note: you should try travelling this way. It’s great! No need to wait for your bags when your plane touches down as you just take your single little bag on the plane).
Anyway, I am not the judgmental type, so I immediately accepted Yohan for what he is. I realised I could actually learn a lot from him. After all, he epitomises many of the qualities of what Timothy Ferris calls “The New Rich” (I wrote a review of Ferriss’ The Four Hour Work Week here).
While Yohan was slumming it in his beachside bungalow, I was living it up in a luxurious beachside resort some ten kilometres down the coast from Lonely Beach. I had a huge air-conditioned room, a huge soft bed with about ten pillows, and a massive 50-inch TV screen with international cable TV. Outside there were two swimming pools to choose from, jungle walks, and two palm-tree lined beaches – the resort was sandwiched between two seas on an isthmus. I felt very guilty for the US$37 a night I was paying . But hey, you have to splash out sometime in life!
Video taken while driving (single-handed! - thus the shaky footage) on my motor-scooter, leaving my resort in Bang Bao, Thailand
Each evening I drove my motor scooter over the hilly road from the resort, through the jungle and into Lonely Beach. There I would meet up with Yohan and we would talk about some deep and meaningful subjects; and many were not about pornography ;-) . Then, after a timeless time, we would walk few metres into the bar street and chat and dance the night away - often barefoot – in the balmy tropical evenings. And no, I wasn’t dancing with Yohan. The porn thing kind of put me off.
Lonely Beach is mainly a young backpacker’s hangout, so there were lots of people much younger folk there than Yohan and I there, but we didn’t care. We just had fun. On more than one evening I drove my motor scooter back to my hotel (the last part being through rather wild jungle) at very early hours of the morning.
I had given Yohan my business card at one point, and so it was that on one evening when I met up with him at a coffee shop in the town that he looked at me rather seriously.
Me, at the caffee where I had the conversation about my website. Luckily Yohan didn't start on my dress sense (but hey, this was TL!)
“Hey. I have been looking at your website.” He said in his strong Dutch accent.
“MindFutures dot com?”
“Yeah. It’s not good. It’s like something from ten years ago.”
I felt a bit defensive. “Yeah. It’s just for academics. It’s not for the general public.”
“I looked at some of your other sites. You have sites all over the place. You need to have one centralised site. That would be much better.”
I nodded. In the days that followed, I reflected on Yohan’s advice. Here was a man, seasoned in the subtle arts of the porn industry, and he had found me wanting. My site was useless. Impotent even. He was right. I needed a site that would get people excited. Arouse their interest. Something more…sexy.
In the end I came to see that Yohan was right. It is always good to get the view of an outsider.
After about ten days in Lonely Beach I bid farewell to Yohan, and not without some degree of sadness.
Just yesterday I was in contact with Yohan. He is still in Lonely Beach. But then again, it is still just a couple of weeks since I left that place. He has invited me to join him at his next destinations – Columbia, Brazil, Mexico... You, know… all the great places where you can find adventure, even in dreaded middle age… and where you just might get shot up in a drug bust or a gangland shakedown. But hey, there is no adventure without risk! Maybe I will take up that offer. One day. Before I am too old to explore the new. In the meantime, I hope you enjoy the new Mind-futures.com. I think you’ll find it a little bolder than this blog, more dynamic, and maybe even a little more sexy. You can thank a Dutch porn meister for that one.
PS. This will be the last post on www.22cplus.blogspot.com – and the first on www.mind-futures.com (which will go up in the next day or two). Please do join me for adventures into the frontiers of mind and spirit… into the unknown… and the future!