Two weeks had passed since I arrived in India and I sat at the bank of the Ganges river in Rishikesh reflecting on all that I had experienced. To sit in silence with only the sound of the rivers silent caress against the shore was new to me and much needed. The India I had seen, heard, touched, and tasted was not mellow in any way.
Only one word was exchanged between us, but this photograph captures the words that were not spoken. It is the essence of this photograph that became the first inspiration to share my journey.
"I have a good life. I have everything. I have the ocean. I have my family. I have many friends. I have my friend's families. I may not have the nicest house, but I have a place to sleep. I have food to feed my family. I am lucky. I have everything." -Bonzai (Banten, Indonesia, March 2017)
One connection always leads to another and that's how I met Bonzai, who is close friends and ocLean partners with Ricky. It was no surprise to me that I was also welcomed into his family. Bonzai is a crazy character, always laughing and having fun. He also has a gentle and peaceful side which I was able to get to know as I spent more time with him.
While traveling, people have asked me, “How do you decide where you will go next?” The honest answer is that I never really know. It is more of a calling than a logically researched plan. I’ve tried that before, where I’ve booked tickets in advance, designed a travel route, and had a general idea of where I will be at a certain point in time. These rarely worked out as planned. True and authentic travel has no plan or destination. To create a path to walk before you even see your feet in front of you is to limit yourself from all the possibilities that lay ahead. This is how I ended up in Nepal with a woman I had met for a few hours on a flight from Southeast Asia to Europe.
There are many people who come and go from my life. None are coincidental, but some leave a mark larger than others. Ricky was one of those memorable marks.
Eight months of anticipation led to this very moment where I stood like a lost and not-yet-found puppy waiting to be rescued by someone who did not yet exist.