Problems and Possibilities

There are problems and possibilities.
When I take a look at the world today,
I have to think about which one I see,
And how I wish to proceed on my way.
When I see a problem, it needs solving.
We must overcome this impediment
If we want to continue evolving,
But another will come when that one’s spent.
Possibilities can say the same thing,
But I should be eager to conquer these
Because each one is something worth gaining,
Making the next to be bested with ease.
It makes me wonder which one is present,
It’s just the perspective that’s different.

Chasing the Sunset

Don’t worry, the sunset will come again.

We will just wait until the day grows dim,
Then turn our heads towards the horizon,
And watch the hanging clouds of the prism
That we have not witnesses the other nights.

There have been many storms we have weathered
That have hidden the evening sun’s lights,
And to our front porch we have been tethered,
Not allowing a chase after the view.

We can only take what has been given,
And those little enjoyments have been few.

In a time when the downpours are driven,
We will appreciate it even more
When all the sunsets come back like before.

Hindsight

It’s nice to know that we have reached the end,
Looking towards what the New Year will bring.
Though the tribulations forced us to bend,
We would never give into the breaking.
There are still other trials yet to come.
Because of what we’ve already been through,
We will face them with a certain aplomb,
And build upon the way that we all grew.
This year may be one we wish to forget
Because of the pain we had to endure.
We should thank it for being in its debt,
Allowing us to build a world more pure.
It may have been a long and bitter fight,
But we learn a lot when we use hindsight.

Bureaucracy

The announcement by us is being made
To let you know that another will come.
We know that right now many are afraid,
And are unaware of where the threat’s from.
But we need time to prepare what we’ll say
In a very important announcement
That we are announcing about today.
Please hold on to that trust in government.
That is all we have to say for right now,
And we ask that you come back tomorrow
When we will give you the why, what and how,
But give us the time for our plan to grow.
We do appreciate that you’re present
For our announcement for our announcement.

Hindsight – The Best Posts of 2020

It is that time of the year again where we all look back at where we have been, and reflect on the lessons learned there. By far, 2020 will be remembered where there was a lot to be learned. I hope that we can take a lot from the experiences of this year and use it to grow not only as people but also as a world wide society.

When looking back at the posts that got the most views this year, I noticed that they had a sense of positivity to them, and I know that not all that I posted this year could say that they had that spin on them. It is nice to know that even though I might have found some dark places in this dark time, it did not bring people down and they still searched for that positivity in their lives.

I hope you enjoy the look back as much as I enjoy presenting it to you, and I hope, like me, that you look forward to 2021 with a new sense of revitalization as to what great prospects it may bring.

#10 To Choose a Side of the Valley – Wangen versus Murren

Most of my posts come from the first few days of 2020 when there was only a hint of disease taking over a small town in China. At this time, the hope of the year was still in front of me and I was wrapping up one of the best trips I have been on in a long time. It was great seeing snow again, and being forced to wear winter weather. This picture was taken on one of the last days on this trip as I sat on the balcony of our hotel room in Murren, Switzerland. My mind often wandered back to the beauty of this part of the world.

https://johncollings.com/2020/01/10/to-choose-a-side-of-the-valley-wangen-versus-murren/

#9 In a Valley in the Swiss Alps – Lauterbrunnen, Switzerland

Like I said, many of the most popular posts come from my trip to Europe and the beginning of the year, and this is no exception. Lauterbrunnen is a small town in a valley in the Swiss Alps and is the perfect home base for exploring these mountains. It is not nearly as cold in the valley as it is when you find your way to the towns closer to the top, and the views from down below are still as dramatic as they are up top.

https://johncollings.com/2020/01/06/in-a-valley-in-the-swiss-alps-lauterbrunnen-switzerland/

#8 A Phuket Sunset – Siam Summer

After a tough semester of teaching on-line and being quarantined, Thailand had done well enough with the world-wide pandemic to allow travel to open up again, but only for those who were living in the country. It was never my plan to get to know Thailand as well as I did this summer, and it was interesting to drive down to Phuket and see how much this island had been affected by Covid-19. It has picked up since then, but it is still wrangling with the devastating effects it had on its economy. I got to experience it with mainly only its residents, and I still wonder what it would be like to see it when it is full with its regular amount of tourists.

https://johncollings.com/2020/07/20/a-phuket-sunset-siam-summer/

#7 Never Forget Dachau – Germany

I am actually really glad that this post had the reception that it had. Dachau was one of the more earnest moments of an unforgettable year. I did not know it at the time that I walked around the site of the Nazi’s first concentration camp, but a lot of the images and lessons learned there would haunt me all year long as I saw similar things play out on the political stages all around the world. It is one of the places that I believe everybody should see at least once in their lifetimes, right up there with Auschwitz and Hiroshima.

https://johncollings.com/2020/01/04/never-forget-dachau-germany/

#6 Koh Yao Yai – Siam Summer

Koa Yao Yai was one of the most pleasant surprises of the year. I was able to travel to this exclusive island in mid-July just as it was starting to open its doors again, and they were trying to entice tourists to come and stay. The prices were too good to pass up on this amazing island, and I am so happy that I was able to stay in this little paradise. I am pretty sure I will never be able to afford it again, but it is one of those things that make me look back at this year and realize that I was pretty lucky to be stuck in Thailand for this worldwide crisis.

https://johncollings.com/2020/07/17/koh-yao-yai-siam-summer/

#5 Fortress Hohensalzburg – Salzburg, Austria

This was one of the more touristy posts I gave on this trip. It is a must do if ever traveling to Salzburg, and it is really hard to forget about because no matter where you are in town, this imposing fortress is staring down at you from its hill. It is a fun way to spend a day in Salzburg and really lets you feel that medieval experience that you want to get when you travel to Europe.

https://johncollings.com/2020/01/01/fortress-hohensalzburg-salzburg-austria/

#4 James Bond’s Peak – Schilthorn, Switzerland

When I was in this part of the world back in 2007, I was on a very limited budget and could not afford the brunch at the top of this Swiss peak. I almost did not believe it was worth the price earlier this year, but I am glad that I decided against being frugal and went up to this restaurant and had breakfast. It was fun going up and coming down this mountain, and I will never forget this experience. The post really picked up after the death of Sean Connery which is weird because this peak is most famous for the first Bond movie after he stopped playing the iconic character.

https://johncollings.com/2020/01/08/james-bonds-peak-schilthorn-switzerland/

#3 Their Insanity

I have only had one of my other poems make the top ten list, but there was something that struck a nerve with a lot of people when I first posted this poem. It was early in the lockdown stage that everybody in the world was feeling, and they might have understood the sentiment I was trying to get at with this poem even though that was not what it was written about.

https://johncollings.com/2020/05/03/their-insanity/

#2 A Toast to the End of the Semester

The image of a half full bottle of champagne sitting in front of this statue on the university campus in Salzburg is what inspired this poem. I did not post the poem with this picture until the end of the last school year, but it was around the holiday season this year that the poem started to gain in popularity. It took a year to get back to that feeling of the end of the semester, but I hope it helped everybody rejoice when the difficulty of both school semesters ended.

https://johncollings.com/2020/05/18/a-toast-to-the-end-of-the-semester/

#1 It’s No Rayong – Siam Summer

The title of this post started as a joke between a few people that I travelled to Rayong with earlier this summer. It was one of the first places that opened up after lockdown, and we went there for a couple of days before traveling to Koh Samet when that finally opened up. Rayong was not the best place to stay, but it was nice to be out of Bangkok. This post was about a comparison between Rayong and the amazing island of Koh Yao Yai, and people must have really loved it because the still visit it today. I do not know if it is because they want to know more about Koh Yao Yai, or if the title makes them laugh, but either way thank you for visiting it.

https://johncollings.com/2020/07/16/its-no-rayong-siam-summer/

Honorable Mentions

As always, these are posts that received a lot of traffic this year even though they were not posted this year. Some of them have taken a couple of years to gain in popularity, but the last one is the one I can guarantee somebody visits on a daily basis. The funny thing about “Bend Sucks! Move Somewhere Else” is that it was a throw away post that has now become one of the ones that gets the most traffic. It just goes to show that I do not know what will speak to the public, and what will not. It is always surprises me which posts do well, and which just disappear into obscurity.

You Can’t Go Back to the Green – The Holidays Day 20

https://johncollings.com/2019/01/09/you-cant-go-back-to-the-green-the-holidays-day-20/

Being Indiana Jone – Hua Hin, Thailand

https://johncollings.com/2019/10/13/being-indiana-jones-hua-hin-thailand/

Lessons from Ankor Wat

https://johncollings.com/2017/10/11/lessons-from-angkor-wat/

Bend Sucks! Move Somewhere Else – Around the World Day 39

https://johncollings.com/2018/07/25/bend-sucks-move-somewhere-else-around-the-world-day-39/

Thank you for joining me in my travels this year. I am sorry that it was not as diverse as it has been in previous years, but it has been an interesting year for everybody. I hope that when things loosen up again next year that you find these posts and the other ones that I will continue to post inspiring and that you get out there and see the world. It is a great way to experience life and I would love to hear about some your adventures some day.

Thanks again for the interesting year.

Omelas

Forget about the boy in the basement,

In a utopia, an easy task.
We have for you every fulfillment
To hide moral concerns behind a mask.
You can sit in a paper mache throne
as you review over your bank balance.
We’ll give you underlings who’ll lay down prone
In a hope that your praise will come by chance.
If you are willing to swallow your pride,
You’ll live a life executively styled.
The only rule you will need to abide

Is to ignore what happens to the child.

Every life is about compromise,
A place where we find morality dies.

The Bookstore Experience

If I wish to know about the culture,
I just need to find the local bookstore.
The imagination, here, they nurture,
And discover what these large tomes are for.
All the mythology and history
Gather together in neat little rows.
Here I can unpack a new mystery
As my knowledge of the old country grows.
Opened books come with an enchanting smell
Of adventure and anticipation.
Within its musty pages I will dwell,
Exploring all the corners of this nation.
On my trips, it’s a box I like to tick
‘Cause reading is a hard habit to kick.

Never a Real Winner

Can you still be considered a winner
If they have to change the rules just for you?
Your management makes you a bumbler,
Looking for a free handout and a clue.
All players can follow regulations
Agreed to everyone involved.
You think you deserve a stipulation
Because you are old and haven’t evolved.
Whether you look to your network of spies,
Or you make your plans with deflated balls,
Your success relies on a pack of lies.
Even false giants will receive their falls.
Though you keep track with your expensive rings,
Their tarnish will never give them their blings.

Buddha’s Man Cave

Pay attention to the sign at the gate,
And only allow the right clientele
Entrance to my silvery estate.
Certain genders are unable to tell
Deeper understandings of my design.
I wish to tell the stories of heroes
Who are admired by those of like mind,
And have been treated in life as zeroes.
They’re the ones who truly knowing suffering
As they travel the path to nirvana.
It is the pilgrimage they are taking
That brings them to this temple of mana.
It is here where they know how to behave
In the place where we built Buddha’s man cave.

What It’s All About

When the death of thousands does not matter
‘Cause it does not directly affect you,
It makes your agenda even sadder
Because you did not act on what you knew.
Now that you use your elite position
To make risky investments on a cure,
It shows that your financial intention
About saving this country is not pure.
Your goal is to stuff your pocketbook
And dance on the grave of America.
I weep for the integrity you took
Behind the obvious lie of MAGA.
It will take many years to recover
From the way you left my home in tatters.