The red apple

Defining experiences

Experiences are defined by the most subtle things. Your childhood could be defined by something your mother said, or an entire relationship summed up by the simple smile on the corner of her lip.

In the same way, experiences are identified by perhaps the most trite details. How would I describe the sensation of being on a tropical island in Asia? The best I could do is speak of the sound of fat raindrops splattering against crudely poured concrete. Or the blindingly bright fluorescent light bulbs on the ceiling of brick houses with no doors installed. No, the best I could do to convey the mystery of the rain forest is to speak of the geckos that lined the walls of every hotel or home. The geckos that at first perturbed you, irritated you, provoked you to chase them and throw sandals at them as they scurry into the cracks and behind furniture. But it is also the geckos that you become accustomed to, the geckos who manifest the peace you find in acclimating to the environment. The geckos, like ambassadors of the forest, envoys of the deep, they welcome you into the madness that is the tropics.

These details are codes that unlock the experience. It is a whispered cipher that exposes the grandeur of sight and sound to those who have experienced it. Those who have felt the flush kiss of a humid breeze against their faces, those who have stared at the blackness of the night listening to the rustling of palm trees. Those who have seen the electricity of an urban city, lit by neon blue, red, and green signs; accentuated with the raucous rattle of a scooter rambling down the wet road. It is knowing that the best meal is always served to you when you’re sitting on a plastic chair by the street. These subtleties come together to shape the bizarre reality that you are an entire world away from home. These subtleties stun you because you realize that this blur of people, motorcycles, storms, and geckos, go about their mad dance of life, love, and death, every hour and every day, with or without you. They storm through life with a flagrant passion for tomorrow, for another breath of this wet heavy air.

So it stills you, and strikes awe in you as you realize the size and depth of the world around you. How could you stop there?

Experiences are defined by the most simple things. And we then are defined by these experiences.

Then the world is defined by us.


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