A few years ago, I had the realization that I hadn’t traveled much. I wanted to travel, but I didn’t have the courage to do it by myself. And for one reason or another, I postponed.
I met Dev in San Diego. After graduating from UCSD, he had a plan to go backpacking for a few months in South America. I had the desire to go as well, but not the courage to quit and travel for a few months. So I ended up backpacking with Dev for a mere two weeks. But I experienced and saw a lot in those two weeks.
After I came back to San Diego. I decided to further enrich my career by relocating to San Francisco. Almost two years flew by. The desire to go backpacking still remained.
This desire was unearthed over a conversation with my girlfriend, Cherry, who had just returned from a two-month trip to Thailand and Bali. The conversation was reflective, and for fun, we did a life-satisfaction exercise, which involved rating various aspects of your life like career, friends, family, love, adventure. “Adventure” had a low satisfaction score. She asked me why. I told her I wanted to backpack for a few months, but hadn’t had the courage to. She asked why not. I told her about my apprehensions – it seemed scary to leave work, home, and just be unemployed, which I’ll have to deal with when I come back. Then she said, “What time is there better than now? You’re young, you’re healthy, your parents are healthy. It won’t get any easier.”
The candle was lit.
I thought about it for 2 days. Could I muster the courage to take this leap? But I still didn’t want to travel alone. So I texted my buddy Dev, on the morning commute to work. After exchanging a few text messages, we had planted the seed to travel to South East Asia.
The Purpose of the Trip
I was at a dinner party, and a friend was asking me why I wanted to travel. I casually told him I wanted to create “negative space” in my life. Not being a term in his everyday lingo, he asked me to explain. I told him that in print design, the use of negative space serves to guide the eye; the emptiness serves a purpose. In interior design, the empty space in a room is essential, nobody wants a room with all this furniture jammed together. Empty space serves a meaningful purpose.
Thus in my trip, I’m giving myself the opportunity for negative space. Making space for reflecting, experiencing, and creating. Reflecting on the past three decades of my life. Experiencing new sights and adventures. Creating the possibility for new ideas. Another term for this I’ve encountered recently is “Relaxed Presence”.
He said I should name the blog “Negative Space”. And I thought it was a brilliant name. But it’s taken. So I started thinking of other blog names, and I finally settled on one.
Why Ankur Wat?
I’ve always had a desire to visit Ankgor Wat, and I would joke with friends that I would go visit this temple that sounded like my name. And we would joke about it, saying “Ankur Whaat!”
Seriously though, Ankgor Wat was the first image in my head when I thought about the idea of traveling to South East Asia. When I told my parents about this trip, I showed them a Youtube video of Ankgor Wat to explain that I wanted to explore such beautiful places in the world.
Initially I didn’t want to use this as a name just because it sounded silly, but then I learned that Wat means “temple”; temples are physical spaces, where one goes for nourishment within. I dig it.
The journey begins July 31st.