和怡然居的相遇,是一次心念的轉折,搭配一連串的無心巧合堆砌而成。

  因為一些緣由,使得當初計畫好的生活走向被迫轉型,面對突然湧現廣大無垠的未知和可能,剎那間手足無措,既不知道能做什麼,也不知道什麼能做,一個人呆楞在原地,宛如深陷纏繞中央山脈的千里雲霧,目不能見,身不能行,動彈不得。

  迷惘的時候,時間過得很慢。那段緩慢的日子裡,我常常出去漫無目的亂晃,只想找誰說說話,似乎說夠了,就比較不會那麼難受了。

  陰鬱低潮的時刻,對於堅持夢想活出自我的歌曲特別脆弱,一直反覆聆聽像在自我催眠,在房間裡埋頭大唱直到聲嘶力竭。表面上我依然是風平浪靜,唯有獨處的時候才能看出內心動盪不安的端倪。

  某一場午後的雨又急又冷,我躲到「有的、沒的」避雨,吃著「不早、不晚」的捲餅和薯條,看了一本和孩童心理學相關的新書,翻了名為「簡單圈」的刊物,徹底放慢生活的腳步,不管其他。那場雨,下了約四小時,我也和自己的迷惘失落和社會期望脫軌了四小時。

  然後這一連串看似不幸的事件,不知怎的,越看越像轉機。對於未來的想法逐漸明確,原來捨棄一切期望或安排,在我心中,一直是往長年的夢想傾斜:成為一個多元化的文字工作者。一念才起,龐大精密的命運巨輪開始轉動。

  和我身處類似情況的一位好友子群,也在現實和夢想中掙扎。他的理想是成為攝影師,能夠走遍世界的角落,拍攝窮苦地區的孩子們,並且盡一己之力幫助他們。當我真正認識他熱愛旅遊的一面,我才發現我對花蓮的了解淺薄且陌生。

  後來我們開始騎車出走,徜徉在花蓮的山與海之間,漫無目的地遊歷。在一個欲雨的日子裡,我們騎在蜿蜒的光豐公路橫跨東部山脈,入山不久,先深陷霧中又盤旋其上,看到遠近山頭都隱入山嵐宛若一抹濃淡不一的墨影,只餘輪廓,才發現原來國畫中的寫意筆墨、留白構圖竟然可以如此寫實。

  偶然在「有的、沒的」看到一張關於兩人流浪音樂會的海報。音樂會的呈現手法頗具巧思,整體氛圍平實恬淡,以言語、歌曲和照片為媒介,敘述一段為夢想出走的故事。她們手繪自己的理想,懷著燦爛的笑容迎向所有艱辛,沒有猶豫和後悔,邁開大步,走在那一條我自始至終擱在心頭卻不敢實踐的路。

  築夢踏實的過程中,她們也在為大陸某處的小學募款,透過販售以照片和簡單文字堆砌成的,頗具巧思的書,期盼能送貧困的他們一台筆記型電腦、一些書籍,並於日後返回當地,教導孩子們一些技能,並且以電腦和外界溝通。

  同樣是在「有的、沒的」,巧遇一位台北來訪的旅客Linda,她正在尋求廻異於台北步調的生活方式,因此遠來東岸的花蓮,呼吸自由無拘的空氣。我和好友帶她一起去銅門的慕谷慕魚,在水色晶瑩夢幻的清水溪畔的大石頭上,無思無想一下午。

  Linda戀上花蓮的清幽山水和和暖人文,有意定居在此。在找工作的過程中,民宿「自己家」的老闆告知她某一間以攝影為特色風格的民宿有意尋人,她意欲前往,並且打電話問我有沒有興趣陪同。能夠認識花蓮的文人雅士,我樂意之至。

  那間攝影風格民宿,正是怡然居。

  因為工作性質不同,最後留下來的是我,而Linda又受薦前往別的地方。這段日子裡,民宿主人簡大哥不遺餘力雕塑我的工作態度,並提供機會讓我學習,也待我如家人一般,我很感動也很感謝。

  爾後陸續聽到一些消息,流浪音樂會的兩人因為大陸方面的政治關係,最後無法前行;好友因為經濟壓力,被迫以考量以賺錢為首要目標;Linda目前仍在台北工作中,依然懷持著花蓮夢;如今的我,很幸運的,尚在追逐我的理想,但離成型還有一段漫長的顛簸路要走。

  祝我和他們,都能早日活於理想,逐步踏實。

 

My encounter with Errantry Lodge derived from a change of thought, and upon series of unexpected coincident.

My original plan for life was forced to alter due to some abrupt events, and in the wake of this newfound vast and boundless uncertainties, or potentials, I panicked. I did not know what I was capable of, nor did I know what was available, just dumbfounded, as if enveloped by the thick mists and clouds of the Central Mountain Range, shrouding my vision, imprisoning my actions.

During those times of perplexity, the flow of time felt coagulated. Amidst those days of slow and torment, I often travel without a purpose or destination in mind. I felt the urge to speak, to anyone, as if enough conversation would alleviate some of the pain.

Those depressed moments made me awfully vulnerable to songs about dreams and tenacity. I listened to them over and over again as if self-hypnotizing, and I would sing with it until I was exhausted and out of breath. On the façade I was calm, only when I was alone would the internal turmoil reveal themselves.

It was a cold and sudden rain that chased me under the shelter of “This & That*”, and for the first time, I dined at “Neither Early nor Late”, enjoying its burritos and cheese fries. During the wait for handmade meals, I read a new book on child psychology, browsed through an issue of “Simple Ripple”, and completely slow down the pace of life, ignoring everything else but the moment. The rain lasted four hours, and I derailed from my misery, confusions and social expectations for four hours.

After a while, these series of unfortunate events somehow appeared to be favorable opportunities. The obscurity that once shrouded my future also dissipated. As it turns out, upon liberated from these expectations and arrangements, deep within my heart, I have always inclined towards my dream: a diversified writer. As the though emanated, the colossal wheels of karma began its turning.

A close friend of mine, who is foreign-born Chinese and currently residing in Hualien, encountered a similar situation as I did, struggling between his ideals and reality. His dream is to be a photographer, travelling around the globe, filming the children of poverty-stricken nations, and aid them with all his strength. When I was truly acquainted with his passion for travel, did I finally discover my knowledge of Hualien was merely skin deep.

It was then did we embark on a journey, touring in between the seas and mountains of Hualien on motorcycles, everything was impromptu. In a gloomy day of impending rain, we rode across the East Coast Mountain Range on the meandering Guangfeng Hwy. As soon as we entered the mountains, we were at first enveloped in the mountain mist and then circle above. The sight was astonishingly beautiful, as majority of the mountain peaks faded into the mists, or clouds, with only silhouette of their formers selves remained. My traditional perspective on Chinese painting was revamped as I indulged in the amazing scenery, that freehand brushworks and blank-leaving were more than just abstract techniques of representation, it could be a realistic portrayal of nature as well.

Fortuitously, I saw a poster of advertisement for a wanderer’s musical concert at “This & That”, composed by two girls. The concert was unique and ingenious, and the ambiance was calm and peaceful. With words, songs and photographs as media, these two girls narrated a tales of dream and exile. They painted their dreams, and with bright smiles they engaged all the hardships without hesitation or regrets. With concrete confidence, they strode on the path that I had concealed deep in my heart and never had the courage to face.

In the course of realizing their dreams, these two girls were raising funds for an elementary school somewhere in China by selling a book they authored of photos and simple words. The fund, they explained, would be utilized towards a notebook and several books, which would be a gift to those students upon their return, as a link to the outside world.

Again at “This & That”, I met a tourist from Taipei, Linda. She was on an exile from the intense and maniac lifestyle of Taipei, so she chose Hualien on the East Coast, to breathe a free and fresh air. My friend and I decided to take her along on our trip to Mukumugi, a beautiful site in Hualien, and on the riverside rock we sat, emptied our thoughts for the entire afternoon.

Linda had fell in love with the serenity of Hualien and the hospitality of its people, and a thought of residing here came across her mind. In the process of searching for a job, she was informed of a home stay featuring photography was hiring. Linda phoned me, asking if I would join her, and I gladly agreed, as this is an excellent opportunity to encounter more interesting people of Hualien.

That home stay was Errantry Lodge and Studio.

Due to the specific nature of the work, I was the one who stayed at Errantry, while Linda moved on with other recommendations. During my days at Errantry, Arthur, the owner of Errantry, vigorously educate me the proper work attitudes, and offered ample opportunities for me to learn, all the while treating me not as a employee, but more like a family, and for that I am forever grateful.

As life pursues its course independent from our expectations, not all endeavors yield favorable results. The two girls from wanderer’s musical concert failed to succeed in their school aid program due to political reasons; my friend was forced to prioritize money over ideals due to his economic situation; Linda is currently working in Taipei still, maintaining her Hualien Dream; and I, fortunately, is still on course with my dream, even though it is a long and arduous path.

Best wishes to all the brave souls in pursuit of their dreams, may their determination persevere, and their dreams be fulfilled.


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