Sunday, April 26, 2009

Still Searching For Roger

In this age of email, Google, MySpace and Facebook it seems that you can find anyone you ever knew at any point in your life. This usually means that people can find you as well, and that may or may not be a bad thing, depending on if you want to be found and who might be looking for you.

But like I said, it only "seems" like you can find anyone you want. Sometimes it just doesn't happen.

Not everyone is on a social network site. Not everyone you know has done anything that got them mentioned on the Internet or has their own blog. Some people you used to know have really common names or match the name of somebody famous that makes a Google search impossible (my old friend from high school in Illinois is named Lee Baca, the same name as the sheriff of Los Angeles, so I will never have any luck Googling him).

I've been thinking about this mostly because there is someone I've been trying to get in touch with for over the past year. My wife and I went to SE Asia in November of 2007 for about three weeks, a trip that I blogged extensively about after we got back. (Here, scroll to the bottom and hit "older post" if you are interested in reading all 29 long-winded posts. Lots of pictures.) While there we met several great people, a really sweet gay dentist from San Francisco, a German guy traveling alone and a fun fifty-ish couple from Australia. But there was one person that we really, really loved meeting during our trip.

We were in Phnom Penh, Cambodia and we ate dinner at this great Indian restaurant. We ended up striking up a conversation with this really cool guy from Western Australia named Roger. The extensive post about that night is here, so I'll just do a quick rehash.

Roger was this large guy with a buzz cut on his head and a long gray beard that went down to his belly. Seriously. At the time we met him he was 56 years old, just divorced after 34 years of marriage, recently sold his organic farm that he had owned for years, a fairly recent convert to Buddhism and he was on his very first trip outside of Australia. And he's a vegan, which has a lot to do with why we met him in an Indian restaurant. We had a grand night talking to Roger for about four or five hours, a fascinating and charming man. We had such a great time talking to him that we never thought about pulling out the camera for a picture. He was on a two-and-a-half-month trip through a huge section of SE Asia, including Tibet and Nepal. A huge spiritual journey for him. And he was planning on returning in early 2008 for another six months or so, staying with a friend in Chang Mai, trekking through India and spending time in a monastery in Kathmandu.

We had given him my email address that night when we left and I heard from him shortly before Christmas. I responded to his email a couple of weeks later, waiting until I had time for a proper response. But it bounced back as not a valid email address. I'm not sure what happened, if he changed email addresses, decided to go off grid, lost his account or if something happened to him.
I have tried the email address ( many times since then with the same result. I've googled him and searched for his blog, which also seems to have disappeared. I've checked to see if he is on Facebook. Nothing.

I'm dying to reconnect with Roger, and it seems that I never will. I'd love to hear about his travels and experiences in Asia.

All this technology and you can still lose touch that easily. Sigh.

So if anyone reading this ever comes across a bearded, sixty-ish, former organic farmer, vegan Buddhist from Western Australia named Roger Williams (also why the name is hard to Google) who has lots of stories about adventures in Asia; please let him know that Deni and Lisa would love to hear from him again.