« Survival | Main | Walking Into The Past »

April 17, 2005

Be Bold And Powerful Forces Will Come To Your Aid

    That first night we visited next door for a drink before we went to bed.  Bee Bee’s had many lights set up in trees and around their bar, and had a great music collection which they played loud enough that we could hear from Lanta Family.  We felt incredibly guilty going next door when we could be ordering from Lanta Family, but Lanta Family had no music, no bar and very few lights to sit by.  It was heartbreaking to see the staff sitting in the restaurant patiently, while their customers went elsewhere to enjoy the evening.
    The next day I woke early, around 6:30am, the air cool and the morning light soft.  I decided to jog to the end of the beach, and I made a friend on my way, a playful black dog who enjoyed having someone to run with.  Running on the beach was a great workout, sometimes the sand would be firm and you could get a nice rhythm, sometimes it was soft and you had to plough your way through.  We reached the end of the beach; Dave and Cheryl had told Jeremy and I that to get to the next beach, Long Beach, you had to walk back up to the road as it was impossible to navigate the head of rocks.  My friend the dog had already begun to take a path up the small ridge ending Klong Khong Beach, so I decided to see if he knew a way Dave and Cheryl didn’t. 
    As would be expected, he did, and we pushed through the jungle until we came out on the other side to a small empty beach.  Along the small track he led me on I saw odd flip-flops, pieces of trash and parts of fishing nets which had been washed up by the tsunami.  The top of the ridge was about 10 metres above sea level, so the tsunami must have been very high here.  At the end of the small beach we hit another ridge, which we climbed over, and saw the same display of bits and pieces laying about.  On the other side we reached Long Beach, but I turned back, having seen enough for one day. 
    After breakfast we responsibly sat down with our books to study grammar and teaching methods.  Though we started with good intentions, it was difficult to stay enthusiastic about present simple continuous tenses, auxiliary verbs and prepositional phrases.  Especially when many definitions of these words begin along the lines of “People have struggled for many years to explain the meanings of the present perfect tense” or “One way to describe an adverb is…” followed by a list of seemingly-unconnected word uses.  Jeremy told me about the time he watched his grandmother diagram a sentence.  I listened in amazement and we both wished Grandma Klein was here to divide the superlative from the adjective phrase. 
    By late morning we were joined by another resident of Lanta Family, a 35 year-old Dutch dancer Alisa, who had sold everything in Germany where she had been living for 9 years and set off traveling with her German boyfriend to see where life would take them now.  We exchange oh-my-god-I’m-quitting-my-job stories and hypotheses about how your mental outlook determines your destiny.  She told us about cutting her long hair, which is generally a required “look” as a dancer, and how it felt to be homeless, stateless, unemployed and an owner of nothing.  We each exchange stories of following our hearts and taking a leap of faith, then watching events unfold around us in our favour which we could only have dreamt of before.
    “Be bold, and powerful forces will come to your aid” Jeremy quoted, and we each nodded in agreement.
    I looked at Jeremy and laughed.  “See, I should just be bold and cut my hair off, and who knows what will happen for us?”  I had been talking about cutting my hair for weeks, thinking about it for months ever since our trip in Fiji where I had to deal with caring for my waist-length hair in the heat.  I had known I would have to think of something to help me take care of it, as the efforts of washing and detangling it while living out of a backpack were greater than anything else I had to care for.  It was the one chore I couldn’t escape from, and the one which annoyed me most.
    “You should” he encouraged with a smile.
    I looked at him nervously, unsure if he was merely egging me on or if he really thought I should do it.  It is hard to imagine yourself with short hair when you’ve had long hair your entire life.
    “Do you want to cut your hair?” Alisa asked.
    “I want to.  It’s just too long, and it’s impossible to take care of in the heat.”
    “How long is it?”
    I pulled it out of the knot it was tied in.  “See, I never even wear it long anyway, it’s always tied up because it’s too hot to have it down.”
    “Wow, it is long” she said, running her fingers through the length.  “Seeing this makes me want my long hair back!”
    We laughed at the impossibility of the situation – when you have short hair you want long hair but when you have long hair you want short hair.
    “No, really” she assured me, “you should cut it.  Because you will always wonder what it is like to have short hair, and you will not know unless you cut it.  If you cut it you will know, and if you don’t like it it will grow back quickly in this heat.  But at least you will know.  It is good to face your fears.”
    She struck a chord with me and I took a moment to contemplate.  I wanted short hair.  I had wanted short hair ever since Fiji when I thought how cool it must be to just jump in the ocean and swim without worrying how I was going to get the knots out of my hair afterward.  The only thing stopping me was fear – fear of the unknown.  I just didn’t know what it would be like as I had only ever had long hair.
    I looked at Jeremy.  What do you think?
    “I think you’re going to do it, it’s just a matter of when.”  He was right, I had been talking about how I didn’t want to have to cut my hair because I had reached 30, and that’s what you do when you’re 30, get a new style or something to save from aging ungracefully.  “Be bold and powerful forces will come to your aid.”
    I jumped up, I had heard enough.  “Alright then, let’s do it.”  I ran over to the restaurant and asked one of the girls for a pair of scissors.  They were sharp enough.
    “Let’s go.”  Jeremy looked very nervous.  “What’s wrong, don’t you think I should do it?”
    “Well, I didn’t know that ‘we’ would be doing it.” 
    “Come on, don’t you want to help?  Just cut the back piece off, I can’t cut it by myself.”
    “I’m just nervous that you’ll freak out at me if you hate it.”  Valid concern.
    “Look, I’ll probably freak out and hate you for a bit.  But I’ll get over it.”  I hoped.
    Back at the bungalow we wet my hair in the shower and I carefully plaited the entire length.
    “Where should I cut it?”  I tied it 2 or 3 inches below the nape of my neck.
    “I don’t know.  That looks fine.”  Jeremy had commenced damage control already. 
    I turned to him.  “What’s wrong?  Do you think I shouldn’t do it?”
    “No, I think you should do it, I think you want to.  I’m just worried that you’ll regret it.”
    I thought for a minute.  “Well, so am I.  Do you think I will regret it?”
    “I don’t know.”
    “Will you miss my long hair?”
    “Of course I will.”
    “Do you think I will?”
    “I don’t know.  You probably will.”
    There was only one way to find out, and I wasn’t going to let my fear get the better of me.  I let Jeremy off the hook and took the scissors in my own hand.  As I closed the blades around the top of my plait, I looked at myself in the mirror and faced my fears.
    “Be bold…and powerful forces…will come… to your aid” I declared as I hacked my way through my hair.
    Jeremy looked at me expectantly, nervously.
    “Well, what do you think?”
    I stared at myself in the mirror, in shock.  It was gone.  My plait was in one hand, unconnected to the hair on my head.  I had actually done it.
    “I’m not sure.  I think I like it.”  I shook my head and felt the short lengths of hair fall around my face.  “I like it.”
    Jeremy smiled at me.  “Do you like it?” I asked.
    “I do.  It looks good.”
    I searched myself for any feelings of regret, of panic, of horror at the short haired head looking back at me in the mirror.  There were none.  I had faced my fears, and found that there never was anything to fear in the first place.


TrackBack URL for this entry:

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference Be Bold And Powerful Forces Will Come To Your Aid:


I found your website about a month ago while looking for hot pepper pictures on google. There were pictures of you guys on your roof in DC, which was kinda funny because my boyfriend and I also grow peppers on our window in Dupont.
What was even more facinating reading your journal is that you were preparing your travel to Australia, which we are also doing (we are leaving in october)...and now, you are writting about those great stories in Thailand, the place we chose to visit before going to Australia...this is just weird...
I am happy that you decided to write again here, your stories are great.
Good luck with everything,

hello stranger!
so i randomly came across your blog, cuz i googled bonnaroo and came across your pictures!
i am going this year (a month away!) are you guys making it back this year??
anyways, just wanted to leave a nice note, your pictures are great :)
aim- evilbecca02

what was the link to their bonnaroo pictures? I can't find them anymore, but i remember they were amazing.

Post a comment

If you have a TypeKey or TypePad account, please Sign In

Recent Posts

Recent Comments


  • The Biggest Snowman Ever
    From foliage to snow in West Hartford, CT.


  • Man On The Mountain
    Life in the land of Crodcodile Dundee, Yahoo Serious, and a disgusting excuse for food called "Vegemite".

Koh Lanta vs. The Tsunami

  • Tsunami Water Level
    In April 2005, Fiona and I went to Koh Lanta, an island off the Andaman coast of Thailand. We were shocked to see the damage done by the tsunami, and we decided to see what we could do to help our new friends. We sent out an email, and within four days we had raised a total of $2,905.00 USD from almost 50 friends and family members. Our most profound thanks to everyone who donated. You cannot possibly underestimate how much you have helped.

March For Women's Lives

  • Us
    From across the nation and from nearly 60 countries, women marched in Washington DC on Sunday with their daughters, mothers, husbands and others in support of the Supreme Court's 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling that made abortion legal. The rally stretched from the base of the U.S. Capitol about a mile back to the Washington Monument. While authorities no longer give formal crowd estimates, various police sources informally gauged the throng at between 500,000 and 800,000 people. I've been to a fair number of rallies in Washington DC, and I've never seen anything like this one. It's difficult to tell from photos, but the number of people was absolutely staggering. The sheer size of the crowd coupled with the raw enthusiasm and the sense of power was overwhelming. I am proud to have been a part of it.


  • And Finally...
    Wayaleilei Resort, Wayasewa Island, Fiji December 2004


  • 20menacing_sky
    From June 11 through June 13 we went to a festival in Manchester Tennessee called Bonnaroo. Over 80 bands played to 150,000 people on six separate stages. Sun, rain, music, mud... what more could you want?

Angkor Wat

  • Khmer Kiss
    The largest and most impressive religious monument ever constructed in the history of the known galaxy. June 6 - June 8, 2005