BY?NELSON NG

2020 has been a rather exhausting year. Exhausting because, it has been very much out of control. More than ever now, people are worried about what the future holds. As we worry about the coming year — or even just tomorrow — we try very hard to determine what happens. We make plans, then plan Bs, and sometimes, even plan Cs.

But the universe never cooperates. And why should it?

For most of us who live in cities, we’ve forgotten what it feels like to lose control. As we get better and smarter at changing our environment to suit our daily lives, we have come to believe that that the universe revolves around us. We demand instant-gratification, expect excellent results, insist on being on schedule, and take it for granted that everything works at the click of a button. We are used to being in control. We think being in control makes us happy. And the cities that we live in encourage this.

But maybe being in control doesn’t always make us happy.

We are reminded of our vulnerability when we travel. In a foreign place, we have to adjust to new surroundings, adapt to the local food, and learn to communicate using a different language. Things won’t work the same way they do back home, and we realise how helpless we are when we are out of our comfort zone.

It is probably even more so when we travel out of cities into the countryside. Nature can be beautiful, but it can also be unreasonable. It will choose to rain when it wants to, and be scorching hot if it feels like it. The grass might be soft to lie on, but the rocks that lay around can also be sharp and deadly. The breeze can be nice at times, but it can also turn into an uncontrollable wind that blows your hat off. You can try to reason with nature, but it will not reason with you. You have no other choice but to only act according to its will. And in the process you are reminded, that you are not the boss of the world. There is something way more powerful than us at work here.

And this is what I like about travel. It humbles us. And it also liberates us from ourselves. It reminds us that it’s okay to mess up, to let things break down, and to let ourselves be defeated. We don’t always have to be strong and perfect. We don’t always have to know everything. We don’t always have to be holding the reins. It’s okay to just sit back and enjoy the ride. It’s okay to let go.

And so I wrote this little poem in the opening pages of Issue Seven, as a reminder for our readers and also for myself, to surrender ourselves to the journey once in a while. There is strength in learning to be accepting, rather than being insistent all the time. It is especially true in these trying times, when nothing goes according to plan, and everything seems to be falling apart. We might not be able to change the situation, but we can definitely change the way we react to it. There is freedom and happiness in giving up control.

Because it was never ours to begin with.

2020年讓大家特別累。累是因為這一整年發生的事情都非常難控制。人們比以往更加擔心未來的發展。而在我們擔心明年 — 甚至明天 — 的時候,我們就會盡所有能力去控制未來將會發生的事。我們會做很多計劃,然后也會做一些備用計劃,而且也會為備用計劃再準備一些備用計劃。

但宇宙永遠不配合。它又為什么會呢?

對于大部分生活在城市里的人,我們其實已經忘了失去控制的感覺。隨著我們越來越擅長改變環境來適應自己的日常生活,我們也開始相信宇宙圍繞著我們旋轉。我們要求即時滿足,期望獲得出色的結果,堅持按時完成,并且覺得只要單擊一下按鈕,一切正常運作就是理所當然的。我們習慣了掌控。我們相信掌控能讓我們幸福。而我們所居住的城市也鼓勵這種行為。

但也許掌控并不總能讓我們開心。

當我們旅行的時候,就會被提醒自己有多么無奈。在一個陌生的地方,我們需要適應全新的環境、當地的食物,以及用不同的語言來溝通。一切都不會像我們習慣的那樣,而當我們走出舒適區時,我們意識到自己有多么無助。

離開城市進入鄉下時,情況可能更是如此。大自然可以是美麗的,但也可以是不合理的。它想隨時下雨就下,想變得炎熱就突然地轉變。草地雖軟,可以讓我們很舒服地躺在上面,但周圍的巖石也可能是尖銳而致命的。偶爾的微風也許非常舒適,但它也可能突然變成無法控制的臺風,把你的帽子吹走。你可以嘗試與大自然講道理,但大自然不會與你講道理。你別無選擇,只能按照大自然的意愿行事。而這個過程會提醒你:你不是世界的老板。在此地,有比我們更強大的勢力。

這就是我喜歡旅行的理由。旅行能使我們感到謙虛,也能讓我們從自我的世界解放出來。它提醒我們,可以讓安排被搗亂,讓事情自然崩潰,也允許自己被打敗。我們不必一直堅強而完美,也不需要擁有所有的答案。我們不必一直當駕駛員,偶爾也可以當乘客享受一下旅程。我們可以讓自己放手。

于是我在LOST第七期里的前幾頁寫了這首詩,來提醒自己和讀者們,偶爾把自己的命運交給旅程。懂得去接受也是一種力量,而不一定要一直執著地堅持。這個想法在這艱難而無法控制的時期尤其如此。我們也許無法改變目前的狀況,但我們絕對可以改變自己對狀況的反應。放下控制反而會得到自由和幸福。

因為它本來都不屬于我們。


NELSON NG 出生成長在新加坡,自從2004年出國到紐約留學后,就一直在世界各地跑。在紐約留學時,他投入了美術與設計,也愛上了印刷品。之后因為工作搬到上海,重新發現旅行,創辦了獨立雜志《LOST》。目前 NELSON 在上海設立了出版工作室 VOLUME PRESS,一邊聽爵士音樂,一邊幻想出更多有趣的創作。

Nelson Ng was born and raised in Singapore. After graduating from Pratt Institute (Brooklyn, NYC) in 2008 with a BFA in Painting, he fell into the world of advertising and moved to China to work as an Art Director at advertising agency Wieden+Kennedy Shanghai. During his time in Shanghai, he rediscovered travel and founded LOST magazine in 2014 as a platform for people to share their personal travel stories. Since then, he has left advertising to focus on publication projects through the publishing studio VOLUME PRESS.