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November 19, 2008

Fulfilling A Dream

Tom McLaughlin

“What has possessed you, Tom,” many have asked. “Leaving the country for Borneo Island for a year,” they wonder. “And what about your health?”


I just can’t see myself living in Middletown or Ocean Pines. Although I love my daughters and everything associated with both Worcester and Frederick counties, the wander lust has struck.


I want to go to watch the great apes and the monkeys. I want to see tropical birds. I want to find out about palm oil plantations. I want to learn about tropical rain forests


I want to snorkel over barrier reefs. I want to explore strange foods. I want to become part of nature in the tropics. There is so much more.


I want to learn about people. I want to study Islam under an Imam. I want to learn about Buddhism. I want to befriend Ibans and all the wonderful ethnic groups of the island. I want to learn their language. I want to study Chinese.


I want to take Chinese medicine. I want to learn about tropical rain forest herbs. I want to take my love for people and share it with different cultures.


I want to travel. I want to go to places I have never heard of. I want to see that Indonesian dragon, the Andaman Islands, the homeland of the people I lived with 30 years ago.


I want to start at the top of India and visit each state, not just a whirlwind tour. I want to see Ankor Wat, Saigon, Vientiane, Phnom Penh, Naypiyday (Rangoon), Jakarta, Colombo, Spice Island, all of New Guinea, Timor and a Pacific Island or two.


I want to visit China. All of it. Province by province.


I want to visit as many brothels as I can. Record their characteristics, the people, and the patrons. Observe, experience observe. Have Viagra will travel. Sex sells and will help finance my quests.


After that’s finished, what’s next? Africa!


Money? I don’t need a Hilton. A simple life. A grass hut. A condo. Live off my investments although they are tanking now. Asia is cheap, if you know how to do it.


There will be teaching opportunities. Like English as a Second Language. I will write magazine articles. Maybe a book. And share my life with the readers of


As you know, I have a rare incurable neurological disease. My doctors have probed and prodded. Things went up my rectum and down my throat. I have been scanned, blood drawn, urine tested and been on the couch with a shrink. I tell each of them the disease is not going to stop me. And it’s not. I will just have to take care of myself.


Some say I am crazy to leave a paid-for house and wander around Asia. Especially since I am sick. What about medical? I can fly back to the states if anything happens, I tell them.


And what if you can’t? What if you get very, very sick and die over there?


So what, I answer.


I will be living my dream.


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