The Transcendental Tourist

The Transcendental Tourist Through Time

This is a series of stories (visions?) my friend, Rob, wrote many years ago about how our paths crossed in different lifetimes through the centuries. More episodes are in the pipeline; the series remains a work in progress. Anyway, I would like to thank him for these fascinating and relentlessly creative stories. If I may say so, he managed to capture different facets of my personality in each vignette. I am tremendously blessed to have met him in several lifetimes. – AJ


by Robert San Miguel

Episode 1

The Transcendental Tourist at Angkor Wat

I first met AJ, hundreds of years ago in Angkor Wat. He was a young man, barely 19 and full of youthful energy. He was part of a travelling minstrel troupe, entertaining the weary laborers of the king. I was an 80-year old man sitting on the stairs of the temple after long hours of prayers, pleading for Buddha for the return of my wife who perished in the typhoon. AJ passed me and sang his joyful song. I smiled and for a brief moment I forgot my dead wife. I gave him a token, a coin of some sort but he refused and said I should keep it for now and he’d come back for it later. I said if he didn’t accept it then, he’d never get it again because I was so poor I’d eventually spend it. But he said he’d get it when I became rich. At that moment, a kiss would do. However, I said I was a tired old man too weak to stand and I scolded him for being a foolish boy who did not know the value of things. He laughed at me and called me foolish as well, foolish for sitting under the sun for too long and allowing myself to grow old. He said if he couldn’t get the coin again, he’d steal a kiss from me when I least expected it. After that he went to the streets singing. I never saw him again that century.

Episode 2

The Emperor and the Empress

The next time I saw AJ, we were in old Beijing, at the golden age of some Dynasty. I was the first born son of a corrupt Chinese bureaucrat and he was the favorite “close friend” of the emperor. AJ was known for his beauty, which made some of the concubines jealous. We were in our 20s. The Emperor was celebrating the birth of his latest son from one of his many concubines. AJ was dressed in the finest garment bought by the emperor from traders from Europe. He walked towards me and commented how ugly the emperor’s new son was. He commented that perhaps the emperor was too drunk and mistook the royal mule for his concubine and had his way with the dumb animal. I said that that was very possible since two of the king’s concubines were notoriously famous for having hairy legs. We had a good laugh and quickly left the banquet and talked on the balcony and made fun of the royalty under the pale moon above the great Chinese empire. AJ said that one day he would leave the emperor and cross the border out of China. I said that he deserved that but he would never leave the mainland forever. Somehow he would always come back. I said that I hated my father for insisting I become a bureaucrat like him. As the night went on, we watched the fireworks display and threw dumplings on the eunuchs below the balcony. We became a couple of miscreants terrorizing whoever we despised in the palace. We stole one of the eunuch’s head gear and hid it under the Emperor’s throne. I said that when we are both free, we would go back there and get the head gear and alternately wear it in public. By the end of the celebration, we swore to be friends forever. The emperor called him back to the palace and my father ordered me to follow him home.

A week later, I heard news that AJ had escaped the palace and joined the caravan en route to Asia Minor. I was busy studying for the qualifying government exam. My father insisted that I join the government and serve the Emperor. On the day of the exam, my father died and so there was no reason for me to take the test. I decided to follow the caravan to Asia Minor, perhaps hoping to meet AJ. When I reached the northern part of China, I received news that the caravan was attacked by barbarians and the traders ran in separate groups to avoid the attackers. Luckily, two groups made it to Asia Minor and crossed to Europe. I stayed in northern China and eventually married one of the daughters of a nomadic chief. I taught children how to write, how to calculate and how to track the movements of stars. I never met AJ again in that century.

Episode 3

AJ and Oscar, the Award

The next time I met AJ, it was the 1800s in London. I was a 16-year-old boy working in an antique shop in London. AJ was a famous actor in his 40s. He was collecting a special artifact that supposedly belonged to William Shakespeare. He told me that my master saved it for him and he would buy it for a very exorbitant amount of money. I said that my master would return quickly with the artifact. However, I told AJ that the item was fake and that it never even touched Shakespeare’s dead fingers. AJ was furious and when my master came back carrying the item, AJ grabbed it and threw it at my master and shouted profanities. He shouted “How dare you cheat me! Do you know who I am?” He left the store but quickly turned back and handed me a silver coin. He said that I should hide it from my master and run away somewhere or be an actor. If my master asked me what he gave me, he said I should say “a kiss.” AJ crossed the street. I saw him come in the theater as people outside applauded for his arrival. He waved at me and quickly disappeared in the crowd. Right there and then, I ran away with my silver coin and never returned to the store. I never saw AJ again in that century.

55 thoughts on “The Transcendental Tourist Through Time

  1. Oh, this is so creative and kind! Will AJ go to another country and another lifetime?

    1. Geez I hope it will not take another lifetime for me to go to another country! LOL! Yeah, my friend promised to write the next installments. But then again, that was what he said a few years back!

  2. Very interesting story to read! I wonder if in the past if AJ got married and had kids. LOL. Will wait for the next episode.

    1. Hahaha whad’ya think, Inno? In all 3 episodes, AJ is consistently a volatile personality. Not someone who’d settle down. Maybe that’s why he keeps coming back in the next century. Maybe settling down will be his nirvana eventually. 🙂

  3. A stellar work worthy of praises from your readers around the globe! 🙂 I couldn’t contain myself from laughing. The writer is indeed as effective as the characters in the story. Truly entertaining! I am looking forward to the continuation……… 🙂

    1. Ed-WHY-nuh! You just laughed at it?! I’m truly hurt. 😦 Hehehe joke. Just curious, which part did you find particularly hilarious? 🙂

  4. Thanks God I am not the only one who kept laughing while reading this…;DDDDD Looking forward to the continuation…

    1. And I thought this was heavy drama like some epic soap opera. 🙂 My friend just emailed me the 4th episode, which I think you will find even more hilarious because I cried all the way through it. LOL! It’s coming soon to a blog near you! 🙂

  5. So, AJ is a jolly good soul that enlightens the lives of the people around and disappears in the dark after giving a life to a drenched soul. So much like a protagonist of an old hindi movie huh! 🙂 He gives them a reason to live, sounds believable. Your friend who wrote these episodes, is very imaginative and I am sure has you in his good books too. So which country is AJ’s next?? 😉 ….waiting for more masala 🙂

  6. Wow, Nehha! A Bollywood hero? Hmmm I’m not sure if I can live up to that! Oh but the requisite song-and-dance number – that I can do. 🙂 You’re so right though: my friend Rob’s imagination is a fertile ground for stories and words to blossom so beautifully. Another episode is in the offing; I’m guessing the setting is Java, Indonesia. 🙂

  7. I love this! So creative and a amazing way to see how we are connected through out our life times. I believe in reincarnation, it’s the only thing that makes sense to me where karma is concerned with our energy and spiritual journey though out our existence. One of my favorite books is about this subject, Many lives, many masters. I am looking forward to see more of his creativity! ❤


    1. My friend didn’t know this before he wrote the piece, but the places he chose as settings are countries that I feel a mysterious affinity with (well, with the exception of London…but perhaps it’s because I haven’t been there yet). I’ve already published the 4th episode in this blog, now awaiting the 5th. 🙂

  8. Hello A.J. Unfortunately the 5th episode might be delayed. I think at least there will be one before the year ends. The spirits have not revealed anything about your past these days. The recent volcanic eruption in Indonesia has buried any trace or proof if ever you lived there in the past. You must have done something in Indonesia in the past that needed to be covered. He he. I did not sense your soul in Japan though. He he. Still searching.

    with Tori and the spirits,

    1. Tantric meditation might help jog your memory of your past lives! If it’s not Indonesia or Japan, could it be India perhaps? *drops hint* 🙂

  9. Just done with the first draft. The story continues, sort of, after you disappeared in the Silk Road, on your way to Asia Minor (now Turkey). This one has a darker twist to it. Keep you posted.

    1. A darker Asia Minor twist via the Silk Road…hmmm I’m liking the direction you’re taking, Rob. At the edge of my seat now….

  10. Hello
    I am Ramon de la Cruz…..I am 1,527 years of age…a middle aged man from far far away.
    I am an explorer, sent away a long time ago by my Master’s on a mission to answer the questions of mankind….Who are we? Where do we really come from? Why are we here (on this planet we call Earth)? and last…..Where are we going from here?
    Now…..I have returned….and I have the answer’s now. Some will be afraid, some will cry, some will laugh from confusions and other’s will stare in disbelief…..but all will listen and all will see the realitis of the spirit and the mind. Most will parish. The enlightened few will travel with me over the rim of the world into the tomorrow’s of forever and ever.

    ramon de la cruz

    1. It’s whatever the reader makes it. My friend has a fertile imagination and I just feel honored he turned me into a central figure (a much more interesting version of my real self, actually) in this particular creative outburst. 🙂

      Thanks for taking time to read it, Roy.

    1. Hi Kerry-Ann! Parts 2 and 3 are already published somewhere in this blog. Now that you mentioned it, space travel would truly be transcendental! Haha! When asked where I’m at, I could say, “I’m in Uranus!” Haha NOT! 😀

      I’m awaiting the next installment from my friend. Hmmm I should start bugging him again. 🙂

  11. Absolutely a joy to read AJ! They have said them all by the way. The mystery keeps bugging me. How on earth you disappear every century?! 🙂 Each episode is truly entertaining and captivating… and I can’t wait for the next episode to come! 🙂 I love it! Why not print this out and make this into a book? Certainly will make you a fortune.:) I’ll be your avid fan… Hahahaha!

    1. It’s a joy to have you as a regular reader too, J. Ok I’ll tell my friend who wrote this to expand it into a novel and publish it. A little change of the main character’s name is needed though. 🙂

  12. Yes publish the novel. AJ may have to have name changes through the centuries though. And to make it really interesting would be gender changes too.

    1. You said it, and I’ll say it again. Rob San Miguel is a literary genius. He doesn’t seem to know it though. He really should be published. Thanks for reading, sir!

  13. Amazing, AJ! I hope to see you also frolicking the land of rich cultural diversity, the sambas, the bossa novas, and the beauty…BRAZILIA! Would you be a dancer this time? Can’t wait to read the next pages and chapters of the TT (Transcendental Tourist), LOL!

    1. Papa Nol!!!!! You still crack me up after all these years! Haha! Since this Brazilian episode is your big idea, you should turn up as TT’s supporter…err supporting character. 😀

  14. Simply beautiful, I’ve watched a documentary about Angkor, a place rich in culture, as far as I know it’s locate in Cambodia, right? Well, thumbed up a link on StumbleUpon and bookmarked on Google +1, thanks for share such useful entry like that.

    1. Wow, thanks for the +1! Yes, Angkor Wat is in Cambodia. Truly a magical place. It stays with you long after you’ve left.

  15. Wow! This is definitely very creative.. 🙂 Love how Rob gave us a very vivid story of your possible past lives. Anyway, can’t wait to read more!!! Great job Rob and AJ the muse.. ^^

  16. I like how it was written using place and different timelines to document the trips. It’s very creative and adds interest to the posts and the destinations.

    1. Ooops sorry about that. This post is for friends who already know me, I suppose. I should’ve explained the context.

      I’m AJ, the owner of this blog. Rob is a friend of mine who wrote these vignettes. He’s Buddhist so he believes in reincarnation. This is how he imagined how we’ve met through the centuries as different people. 🙂

  17. hahaha! muntik na ko maniwala na tunay! tapos, nakita ko ano daw? ministrel troupe? parang di ko maimagine. char. 1800s? naloka lang ako. i love the creativity though! nainspire ako. :p

  18. How did I miss this one . . . the date is sometime in 2012, a time when internet was a luxury to me. Thank goodness the tables have turned.

    How is that that AJ is always seen floating in and out of the frame – without any connections, fee, volatile and immensely mystical! AJ, how much did you give Rob for writing like this about you?

    I am reminded of Kubla Khan and the opium induced writing 😉

    Enjoyed the narration.

    Joy always,

    1. Opium-induced indeed! Rob would be tickled pink by the Kubla Khan comparison.

      Oh, and I didn’t have to give him anything, although in the story I wanted to give him a kiss. Freudian much? 😉

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