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。
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.