Colleen Thornton's Blog

'Because in the end, you won't remember the time you spent working in the office or mowing your lawn. Climb that goddamn mountain.' – Jack Kerouac

“What am I doing? Tearing myself. My usual occupation at most times.” – Charles Dickens

Expectations. This is a big word with a whole lot of emotion attached to it. For me, expectations are a drug affecting every part of my life. They are present in situations without my knowing sometimes. They offer me hope and keep me high with anticipation for blissful, rewarding outcomes. They also make me crash and burn with disappointment when they are not met. Such is life right?

“Sometimes I can feel my bones straining under the weight of all the lives I’m not living.” – Jonathan Safran Foer.

One of the great things about living and working in a non-touristy place is that you are sort of forced to visit tucked away little places you might not normally visit as a traveler if you want to escape the city. Fact is, you would probably never hear of such places. Because of this you also get to know some of the little subcultures in your area that you may not otherwise recognize.

Indonesian Independence Day fell on a Monday which meant I had a long weekend and with one extra day I could go a little farther afield than a usual weekend trip. So I finally made the trip to see my long ago but not forgotten friend Hakan on Gili Air. We met in India two years ago whilst volunteering for the same organization and have kept in loose touch ever since.

“It is perfectly natural for the future woman to feel indignant at the limitations posed upon her by her sex. The real question is not why she should reject them: the problem is rather to understand why she accepts them.” – Simone de Beauvoir, The Second Sex.

When I hear the word contract I cringe a little… it sounds a bit like commitment and I’m not very good at that. But if we consider that there are two basic fundamental emotional needs in life – security (yawn) and adventure (yes please!) – “contract” definitely covers one of those, especially if “long-term” is a predicate to it.

When I tell the people I meet travelling that I live and work in Indonesia I usually get “wow, that’s so cool… where, in Bali?” which I reply to with a laugh. It’s a pretty good gig but it’s not that good. I’m in East Java in the fairly large city of Surabaya. This is the city from which the Air Asia flight travelling to Singapore left, the plane that went down after several days missing.

This is a 2-part blog introduced with, in true kindergarten teacher style, a short story...


The penguin was grumpy and tired. She didn’t like the cold. She didn’t like her work. She wanted to see something different. She wanted to see something special.