In response to some recent messages: no, I am not dead. I have been recovering and sleeping after this past week of festivities. For those who were not able to follow along on Instagram, the Mazu Pilgrimage is a festival that is celebrated over the course of nine days. Mazu, the goddess of the sea, is carried over the distance of 400 kilometers visiting different temples throughout the western region of Taiwan to give her blessings. Although participating in this event was one of the most rewarding experiences of my life, to say it was physically and mentally exhausting is an understatement.
Had I fully known what to expect, I would have prepared differently. I did not anticipate sleeping in 7-11’s, parking lots, temples, warehouses, and schools. Four hours of sleep combined with walking 20-30 miles per day was draining. Not to mention, carrying 50 pounds of gear and camera equipment on my back made it that much more difficult.
Although I could touch on a million individual experiences from the event, my absolute favorite part was the people. The love, the kindness, the happiness, the excitement, everything. In my humble opinion, this is what festivals should be about. They should be about bringing people together, supporting one another, testing your body's limits with cheers every step of the way. Young, old, boy, girl, Taiwanese, foreign, everyone is welcome. The smiles made the fatigue worth it.
I want to say thank you again. I was surprised by how many people have been following along with my stories. All I want to do is show what good exists within the world as I wander this planet— and believe me, it’s everywhere.