Thursday, January 30, 2014

My 500th Blog Entry

This marks my 500th blog entry of "Allen's World".  Some how I feel obligated to mark this milestone with some type of profound entry.

I started writing a blog in July 2008 to share observations and experiences of living and travelling in foreign countries.  I was motivated, just as with my photography efforts, to show extraordinary people doing ordinary things.  In so doing, I wish to show how different people appear, to provide a glimpse of other cultures, to celebrate the diversity of mankind and to demonstrate that despite our appearances we are so much alike.

The Buddha is quoted as saying "Everything changes, nothing remains without change"

There have been many changes in the five years that I have been writing this blog.  On personal levels there have been births, deaths, marriages and all the other life events that mark the progression of our lives.  We have observed and, at times, participated in many festivals and cultural events which, through enriching our experience, have changed our life in giving us alternative perspectives of life.

We have observed other changes in our world.  The small and rather funky Luang Prabang International Airport which provided an intimate introduction as well as departure to the area has changed into a stereotypical airport now.  It now as sky-ways to access airplanes rather having to walk on the exposed tarmac to reach your plane.  Airbus A320 twin jet airplanes now regularly use the airport in addition to the small twin engine turboprops that service the airport.  The terminal is now large and spacious - a monument to progress but at the cost of lost intimacy..

Throughout Udonthani Province, rice paddies are being filled and commercial structures as well as homes.  Even some of the farming methods have changed.  Up to this year, I had not observed any mechanization in the harvesting of rice.  This year I observed six separate locations where combines were harvesting and threshing the rice crop.

Life is about choices - choices of what we do or do not do.  Every action or lack of action that we take has it own set of consequences.  These consequences are sometimes intentional but often are unintended.  The lack of experience and the lack of knowledge increase the likelihood that our actions or lack of actions will have unintended and definitely unforeseen consequences that will affect our life as well as the lives of others.

I do not like being told by others, especially those who believe that they know better than me what is best for me, how to live my life.  In my blog I try not to tell others how they should live their life.  The choice on how they live their life is their decision.  What I strive to do with this blog is to share, to educate, with others the ways that others live their lives, often quite different from living the way that we are accustomed and most comfortable with.  In sharing with others I am providing information and perhaps if others decide for themselves, alternatives, for their lives.

This blog is meant to be non-judgmental. Our reality is shaped by our experience and perspective.  "Allen's World" is not my confiscation of the world, your world, but sharing of my experiences and perspectives which define my reality and in so doing define my world.

In sharing aspects of other cultures, my hope is raise awareness and appreciation of how other people live, and what they believe.  My blog and associated photographs are not meant to deride anyone or any culture. "Allen's World" is meant to inform so that others can make their own assessments and to make better informed decisions.

Just as the diversity of flora and fauna is considered to be desirable, I believe the the diversity of human cultures and traditions are treasures to be protected within their nationalistic environments. Just as there are many routes to travel on a journey to a specific destination, these cultures and traditions provide choices along our life journey.

The willingness to inform others of your culture by living it and setting a good example is admirable.

A willingness to explain, and teach others about your culture is commendable.

A willingness to incorporate desirable aspects of other cultures into your life or culture is wise - change that you can choose.

Starting and maintaining a blog has had one unanticipated consequence for me.  Through the blog, I have literally and figuratively met many interesting people who have influenced as well as enriched our life.  Duang and I cherish the friends, old and new, that we have connected with through the blog.

Life is a journey which is marked with changes. The changes, good as well as bad, shape and define our individual realities.  I hope that this journey will be interesting and informative as I continue to share it on this blog.

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