The Buddha’s Striptease

The Author
I have been living in NYC for about 12 years and worked as an IT consultant in the financial services field. I got bored with the job and the routine: 9-5 in the corporate world, go to a bar, have a few (after work, mind you. Wait, there were a few times I had a martini or two at lunch), come home watch a bit of TV, and start it all over the next day.

I felt like I was Bill Murray in “Groundhog Day”: I was reliving the same freakin’ day again and again. Since the market tanked at the beginning of this year, consultant jobs were few and far between. I thought that was my opening to break free from NY (I have been trying to move out for the past three years) and travel around Australia for a few months. So I put all my stuff up on eBay and then loaded up my VW Jetta, Otto, and headed west. I stored some things at my mom’s in California and hopped on a plane first to Hawaii then to Oz.

I have been thinking of giving this 2-3 month trip around Australia a purpose. I know that I didn’t just want a “beach, see the tourist attractions and take a lot of photos” kind of trip. I want something more.

That is why I decided to do these travelogues. I want to use these to gauge my ever changing moods along the way and how the trip has changed me, if at all, and hopefully to entertain you a bit also. Sort of a male HBO’S Sex and the City Carrie Bradshaw, but without all the questions at the end of sentences (I don’t think Carrie would leave a pair of Manolo Blahnik shoes behind in a hotel room though, do you?…see photo below).

I want to be a travel writer when I grow up. But not a travel writer that only tells you: “You must see the Botanical Gardens in City X. Quite exquisite. The food at Chez Barf et Bag is sublime” etc, ad nauseum.

So that is where I am now. I want to be a travel writer, I think. Being a full fledge member of the “A-type Anal-Retentive Personality” program (AARP for short, but I don’t get a walker nor discounts at the major tourist attractions), I decided I need a plan for my travel-writing foray. Then the “Traveling Order of the Buddhist Brethren” (TOBB for short, which is ironic because that is how I used to write and say my name when I was in kindergarten – ‘Tobb Taynor’ to be exact) side of me says I should just let it be – plan for jack and go with the flow. After heated negotiations between the two groups, the AARP side of me won with one concession given to TOBB. This trip will be henceforth titled “The Buddha Striptease: Naked in Oz Tour 2001“. Whew! Whew!

So my goal, although an anal derivative, is to leave Oz in 2 or 3 months with just the clothes on my back. I really do not think this will be difficult because when I arrived in Hawaii on the first part of my journey, the airline lost my luggage (my bags kept on going to Guam). So for two days, I only had the clothes on my back. And you know what? I didn’t miss my clothes at all. The airline gave me $200 as “sorry-we-effed-up” payment. I was really hoping they would do the same thing on the way to Oz so I could finance my trip that way.

It also helped that I way over-packed. My mind in California was elsewhere: ruminating on leaving NYC, wondering what I would do at the end of this trip, etc. So the day before I left, I just started throwing clothes in my duffel bag. Packing extra for the warm parts and extra for the cold parts. The sum of that game plan was that I have too much shit.

Rest In Peace...I will miss ye, old friends.
To actualize “The Buddha Striptease: Naked in OZ Tour 2001“, I decided in each city I will leave a piece of me behind (not me arse – although a chunk of it IS on a rock on the Tully River). I already left my Speedo swim trunks in Hawaii (not the penis-pincher type, see photo). In Cairns, I left my English walking shoes (I had them for five years and they were just weighing me down).

I do feel guilty about just leaving stuff rather than donate it to charity, but hopefully the maids will take the stuff home to their sons, husbands or lovers. I cannot express what a big step this is for me.

Rest In Peace...I will miss ye, old friends.
I have a tendency to get attached to possessions (hence the concession to free my Inner-Buddha). I once got into a heated argument with a friend of mine who lost my umbrella. My friend thought I was crazy and had a big stick up my butt to get so upset over an umbrella. And I replied: “But you don’t understand. That umbrella has been with me for five years. It has been with me when I moved to Germany, and back to California, then to Arizona and back again to Germany and then to NYC. We have a history together”. This is the glory and wonder of me.

But they are just possessions and nothing in life is permanent.

This is the full list of my possessions:

  • 11 pairs of undies (boxers or briefs? I will leave that up to your imagination)
  • 10 pairs of socks
  • 2 swim trunks (See photo…one already met his demise in Hawaii)
  • 1 pair trail running shoes (these will stay with me for the duration of the trip)
  • 1 pair walking shoes (See photo…they have a new home in Cairns)
  • 1 pair of sandals
  • 1 pair of river shoes (bought them with the “effed-up” money in Hawaii)
  • 3 pair of walking/running shorts
  • 3 tank tops
  • 7 shirts
  • 3 pair of trousers (light variety)
  • 1 heavy sweatshirt
  • 2 sweatpants
  • 1 windbreaker (or windcheater as they say in Oz)
  • 1 beach towel
  • 2 hats

I do have some electronic stuff with me but I am not going to give up my laptop, my digital walkman, nor my digital camera. I might be on a Buddhist quest, but I am not stupid.

If you would like to vote on which possession should stay behind next, do let me know. My personal vote is for the beach towel.

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