Monday, December 6, 2010

Travels by Michael Crichton (A Book Review)

"If you’re a writer, the assimilation of important experiences almost obliges you to write about them. Writing is how you make the experience your own, how you explore what it means to you, how you come to possess it, and ultimately release it.” – Michael Crichton

Michael Crichton, the author of the famous 1993 film “Jurassic Park”, wrote an autobiography of his journey and adventures entitled “Travels”.  Ever since high school, he was a habitual traveler. He had already traveled in different continents when he started medical school in Harvard. His adventures were extreme - he experienced diving with sharks, tracking wild animals in Africa, and trekking across remote places, such as Pakistan.

Michael’s book has introduced me to another realm of knowledge and realization. Among of these interesting facts and observations are as follows:

  • Four (4) Rules that you must not break when you’re in Thailand – 1) If you are in a temple, never climb a statue of Buddha; 2) Always keep your head lower than the head of a Buddha statue; 3) Never touch a Thai person on the head; and 4) If your feet are lifted off the floor, never allow them to point at a Thai person since it was insulting.
  • Michael’s 5-day climb at Mt. Kilimanjaro, the highest mountain in Africa – His mountaineering activities encouraged me to try new experiences or sports which are beyond my usual likes. Of course, start out with preparation.
  • On Michael’s film shot in Ireland with Sean Connery - Michael mentioned that Sean is one of the most remarkable people he has ever met. He was often observed as the “real man”. Thus, during one of their scene shots, he observed that Sean’s gestures were a little effeminate but had a hard time to tell him the reason for the re-take.  (I am an avid viewer of James Bond series and how ironic that I also observed the same body gesture, but that makes Sean Connery the perfect agent “007” for me.)
  • Michael’s diving adventure in Rangiroa, Tahiti with the school of sharks – For him, in most situations, wild animals are encountered so rarely that its more appropriate to feel privileged than afraid. But of course, it depends on the situation and on the type of animal. In addition, a spatial arrangement or invisible boundary exists between human and animals. (I had visited a zoo a number of times but I didn’t dare to touch a reptile handled by the zookeeper J).
  • Michael’s spiritual journey includes meditation, silence and fasting– It reminds me of the contemporary movie “Eat, Pray and Love” wherein it’s always good to find time for oneself.
  • Michael’s frightening experience in Jamaica during 1980s – according to the prisoner they have accidentally interviewed, there is no money for the guards in Jamaica, so, there are no guards in most places even in prison. During their trip in the museum, Michael and her girlfriend were accompanied by a guide (a soon discovered prisoner) who possessed an imminent danger. Luckily, they had found a way to escape. (When in foreign land, tourists must be cautious and should not trust strangers easily).
  • Tribal wars in New Guinea – as mentioned by a tourist bus driver, there was an instance when one warrior beheaded another with an ox, in front of the tourists.
  • Michael’s direct experience on trance mediumship, on seeing auras, and on other psychic phenomena (e.g. precognition) – contrary to his educational background, he believed that these things are real and had some personal accounts of his inner travel in this book.

Michael’s accomplishment as Harvard-trained physician, best-selling author, and successful film maker showed his versatility. After reading this book, I realized that I can learn more about myself and explore all possibilities through traveling. Next year, I will have my first- time experience to travel abroad…Definitely, I will take a journal on this will-be adventure.

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