A daughter of the Ocean, Kiza, was raised on the sands of Bali by her father. When a terminal illness takes him away from her, she becomes destiny’s favourite child.
He leaves her several letters – words, to last her a lifetime. This is the first of them.
My Warrior Princess,
There’s going to be very painful moments in your life that will change your entire world in a matter of minutes. I believe this is one of them.
These moments will change you. Let them make you stronger, smarter and kinder. But don’t you go and become someone that you’re not. Cry. Scream if you have to. Then you straighten out that crown and keep it moving.
I’m sorry I couldn’t fight longer. But you will. And you’ll survive. In fact, you’ll thrive.
Do so with tremendous passion, compassion, humour and style.
I’ve done a lot of thinking through this final chapter of my life. And I’ve learnt that life is amazing. And then it’s awful. And then it’s amazing again. And in between the amazing and the awful, it’s ordinary and mundane and routine. Breathe in the amazing, hold on through the awful, and relax and exhale during the ordinary. That’s just living heartbreaking, soul-healing, amazing, awful, ordinary life. And it’s breathtakingly beautiful.
I implore you to travel the world in search of its wilder shores.
Wander across the seven lands and seas in vans, cars, buses, trucks, trains, trams, airplanes and boats. You’ll make a lot of mistakes, and do a lot of things you’ll regret, but you will lead many interesting lives…and you’ll go through a thousand shades of weather every day.
You will learn that everything changes. What matters the most is how well you walk through the fire.
You’ll have massive gains and massive losses, and you’ll learn that bitterness only corrodes the vessel that holds it.
And more than anything, you’ll learn to love unconditionally. It’s the bravest thing you’ll ever do.
Get out of your house. From your cave. From your car. From the place you feel safe. From the place that you are. Get out and go running. Go funning. Go wild. Get out from your head. And get growing, dear child.
Take wrong turns. Talk to strangers. Open unmarked doors. And if you see a group of people in a field, go find out what they’re doing. Do things without always knowing how they’ll turn out. You’re curious and smart and bored, and all you see is the choice between working hard and slacking off. There are so many adventures that you miss because you’re waiting to think of a plan. To find them, look for tiny, interesting choices. And remember that you are always making up the future as you go.
Patience, my dear, is the key to happiness. Trust in the unknown.
Sitting quietly, and knowing all good things are on their way. It appears at times that they aren’t. But it’s just a test of your own inner emergency broadcast system.
Because the time is now, may you LIVE everyday of your life!
Stay humble and do your best, my precious. Have courage and be kind. It’s the only way to lead a meaningful life and inspire everyone around you.
Enjoy your life. And please remember, the wind is never so strong that you cannot sail a little closer to it.
With Love and pride,
This is young Kiza’s journal. In it, lies a journey to everywhere…
We’re told not to grieve. That anything we lose comes around in another form.
But you have to grieve. It’s a passage you have to traverse. To get to the other side.
The last act of love you have to give to those you loved and lost.
For where there is deep grief, there was great love.
Kiza’s odyssey is her last act of love.
A journey she makes to honour the memory of a man who raised her. And her standards.
When she loses her father, she could cry an ocean.
And then, when she’s filled it up, she looks out at it, in quiet contemplation of the words he leaves her in letters.
While it does, there in those moments, she knows her calling – Travel.
And she knows her carrier – The Ocean.
People live in letters. Even after they’re gone. The scribble, the scratch, the awkward, abrupt, marked pauses when you’re stuck or ill-at-ease, the uninterrupted sentences, full stops that prompt delight or anxiety or contentment or confusion or introspection or curiosity or a smile, a tear, a frown, a faraway look, delivering you to a state of completeness or leaving you simply not whole. Commas with continuations and endless possibilities.
Through his handwritten pearls, her father makes Kiza see her own.
And he finds his way back to her in the enormity of experiences that travel brings.
If he hadn’t gone, neither would she.
Loss does that. Once absorbed, if ever, it makes space for more than what was taken away from you.
A well-written life is almost as rare as a well-spent one.
Kiza unwraps a brown-paper parcel to reveal a journal. Saved thus far, possibly for this moment.
She imagines her father urging her to, “write down everything you see, every animal, bird, and insect, every experience, favourable or otherwise, every lesson, every transition, every twist, every turn, the trivial that constitutes the noteworthy…and then one day, we’ll discuss them together”.
Her, on land. Him, a star.
She takes out a new pencil, licks the lead, and writes her name on the fly leaf:
KIZA VICTOR KAZIN.
It is the 15th of January, 2017. She is seventeen years old.
And for the rest of her life, she will not forget her father’s words.
Her journal is a story set against a backdrop of the world, navigating the seven seas in a submarine.
It has depth and length and breadth and breathlessness.
From moments that are memorable and worth chronicling.
Travel takes different people to different places – physically, mentally, spiritually.
A diary contains one person’s eye view of the world, and is restricted to what he or she wishes to commit to the page. This, in turn, is influenced by their motivation for keeping a record of their lives. For some, it is an outflow pipe for their emotions; for others a stab at immortality. For Kiza, it’s a promise, an exchange and a necessary deliverance.
A metaphor for her father even.
Somewhere, her journal becomes a trusted confidante, a friend on whose shoulder she occasionally feels the need to cry or laugh aloud or simply do nothing with. Often not requiring her to spell out things if she doesn’t or can’t for some reason.
It takes guts to leave.
To jump into a submarine that plunges into the Ocean.
A leap like that takes faith.
But sometimes, it’s tougher to stay where you are.
You could move with memories that give and restore strength.
Kiza’s ‘one fine day’ has arrived sooner than she thought. It is her turn. To leave homes, cities and countries to pursue grander ambitions. She leaves friends, lovers and possibilities for the chance to roam the world and make deeper connections. She defies her fear of change, holds her head high and does what she once thought was unthinkable: to wander…far and wide and away. And it will be scary. At first.
But what we hope she’ll find in the end, other than knowing she’s never alone, is that in leaving, we don’t just find love, adventure or freedom.
More than anything, she will find herself.