Camino 0017: The First Step

Could you believe it? It’s already tomorrow.

It’s crazy how time flies. I was 14 when I felt the calling for this pilgrimage – 8 years later I’m about to walk the road.

AAAAA how frightening. So many new things. Anxiety-inducing things.

But I am going to take it slow and enjoy the ride.

This blog may update with scribble comics and drawings during the journey.

Buen Camino!

30052017: Loneliness

This comic is 2 years old now! I wrote it sometime between the end of college and the start of my new life in Melbourne. That was yet another period of change, not so long after the previous one (graduating high school, best friends moving their separate ways, and entering college). Each time I start a new chapter of my life I am visited by an old friend, Loneliness. It stays with me in the first few months, as I travel alone, eat alone, shop alone, all the while trying to figure out how to make friends in this confusion.

In Melbourne it’s been with me for a little over two years now, probably the longest since elementary school. I’ve known it since that long, and to be honest, I’ve come to terms with its presence and have accepted it as the most stable constant of my life. It wasn’t easy – being the loner kid with barely any stable group of friends (except books) had its bad times, and I think it had a lot to do with my social anxiety now – , but it eventually became easier to recognise its presence as not something to be necessarily repellent of, but as something that was normal, part of the human experience, and that it had its benefits.

I treasure the solitude that gives me the space to think and to know more about myself, and the lonely walks that taught me to pay attention not just on myself or on other people but of the world around me – the colour of sunlight as it hits the trees, small trinkets lost or misplaced on the floor, the beauty little appreciated in this busy and bustling world. Over the years, it taught me how to notice the small and quiet things. It showed me how to be friends with myself, and to value the experiences (the plays, the food, the museum trips, the shopping) I create, even if I can’t share them with anyone else.

I read somewhere (to be honest it was a critical review of an animated series) about loneliness being defined as a mishmash of textures. It is often dark and shadowy – perhaps with one eye -, consuming you with thoughts of others, of being a part of others. That is the main experience, and the most popular view of it in media. But then there’s the other side to it, the one more like solitude – it is in the loneliness of being with yourself. With that is the amplification of quiet of breathing and the rustling of leaves, the movement of insects and birds as they mind their own business, of watching teasers of other people’s lives. The more of these ‘small’ things you collect, the more you realise that you aren’t just alone. You’re also experiencing these alone moments with the rest of the world (not people, but the world as itself), and with yourself.

Of course I understand how hard it is – it took me nearly 15 years of sustained introspection (afforded by the loneliness) to get to this point. But my intention to offer an alternative view of loneliness, informed by my true lived experience of it, and I hope that by showing this view, it will help younger kids reach this understanding sooner than later. For the sake of their spiritual health, seeing as we’re living in an increasingly isolated society.

You can download a PDF version of loneliness here: https://reimenayee.itch.io/loneliness
Pay as you want, so it can be free, or you can give me a few bucks.

08052017: Gaucho Pants

Still suffering with assignments (actually, I’m down to my last for the semester, but I’ve finals to worry about).

Here’s a quick update! I recently bought a pair of gaucho pants, which I’ve been wanting for ages. Friends and family who have known me will know me as the type who is averse to long pants; it’s always shorts or skirts or dresses, and the closest to long pants I ever get is leggings. There’s no reasoning behind the aversion. Maybe I unconsciously want to show off my nice (debatable) legs.

But anyway!! I’m a Big Fan. Of gaucho pants. They are extremely versatile, and add instant flair to an outfit that would otherwise look bland (as you can see in the above illustration). Plus they look like something I could see myself wearing in the next decade, which is great as my wardrobe is undergoing a paradigm shift of sorts. Much of my clothes came from my teens – with some pieces existing since I was 14! So as of now, I’m done with bright hipster patterns and prints, and moving towards something that is minimalist, but with high impact and versatility. By that I mean basic-looking pieces that have flattering cuts, are multi-purpose and worth their value in the long run. Dress-down and dress-up flexibility is key.

I still adore the fashion of my youth: cute playful prints, bright colours, and quirky designs. It’s a WIP choosing which pieces to let go, and becoming aware of how my teen taste affects my clothing purchase. Like, yes, patterns can be bought, but they are more subtle and subdued now. Things like that.

The wardrobe, just like I am, is maturing into its twenties.

1052017: Outfit of the Day + Life Update

I’m still going!

Or at least, I’m trying.

I haven’t updated as much as I would like; that’s because it’s that time of year when assignments come descending (like locusts!) into what were once idyllic campuses. Boring details: I’ve back-to-back assignments due each week, and finals after that, in addition to juggling my webcomic project, prepping for the Camino (more on that soon), and maintaining my art#brand. It’s great to be a struggling millennial.

Updates for the blog:

  1. I went to LuxBite a while ago, as well as a Riverside dessert fair as part of the Melbourne Food and Wine Festival, so those are two dessert run entries I’ll post when I am free from assignment hell.
  2. The Connoisseur Humanist now has an official Facebook page! Follow me there!

Updates for the Very Important Project, the Camino:

In a couple of months I’ll be embarking on the first of my major adventures for The Connoisseur Humanist: the Camino de Santiago. It’s a very significant trip to me – not only will it be the first of many things (my first time travelling to Europe on my own (well, with my cousin, but still), my first in Spain, and my first camino) – but it’s a milestone of a personal nature. For 9 years I’ve been itching to follow the Way of Saint James, ever since I learned about it and what it meant. It was a pull so strong it was like a calling. On a whim – during one of my strongest moments of instability at both a personal and global scale – I went carpe diem and bought the tickets.

That’s why I started the Connoisseur Humanist. It is definitely a blog about general travelogue things and a way of forcing myself to sketch often, but the main reason of its existence is to catalogue this camino. I know there are a lot of camino blogs out there, all of them are beautiful and amazing, and I am merely a fish in a big wide ocean. But in a way that a fish hopes to continue swimming and leaving a legacy, I hope my approach – conveying my experience through art and graphic narratives a la The Road Well Travelled – will bring a fresh take to the camino experience, and if successful, it’s something I would like to carry on into further adventures.

I suppose, my first Camino will be the first story I’ll tell in The Connoisseur Humanist series.

Get ready for some updates later in May (after assignments). I’m excited.

Catch up with yall soon.

 

18042017: The Road Well Travelled

The Road Well Travelled – a short comic about realising you’ve gone on the wrong path, and pursuing your truth.

A lot of things happened in the past few months that destabilised many of my beliefs. Particularly how I thought that if I followed a certain path, and did what my family told me would guarantee the best outcome (based on their experience), my future will be secure. But now I’ve realised that nothing is guaranteed – the world is changing, in so many ways, and no one can say for certain if the things they know now will be applicable or exist later on. So if the future of the well-travelled path is not guaranteed, then why stops me from changing direction, and to walk my own path instead?

This comic was a product of catharsis, me trying to rationalise my thoughts. I don’t know how good these words are, but it did a lot for me, and I hope it does for someone else too, in the same situation.

14022017: first post

meettheartist

Hi.

This is the first post of this new travelogue project I’m embarking. The Connoisseur Humanist has gone through several iterations since I thought of the name itself, but I think this is its final form? It’s in line now with me as a person and a storyteller (an artist and a writer). Drawn content is something I can easily provide – it’s a lot less daunting than writing – and now with an iPad, it could not get any easier.

I’m going to try, for the whole of 2017, to return to sketchbooking. I haven’t done it in years, and not as frequently as I should. It’ll just be of simple things: drawings of food, of places, of people, etc. I’m going to document where I’m currently living a lot more intimately. So that’s my first travelogue: about Melbourne.

Tomorrow is my birthday, and I’ll post a couple of things (a recipe and a dessert review) later.