PETALING JAYA: Malaysian Jeshurun Vincent woke up one morning and realised he could not hear anything in his left ear. It was diagnosed soon after as “semi-disabled hearing”. As an aspiring musician, the news crushed him and it wasn’t long before he sunk into a deep depression.
Fast forward 16 years and Jeshurun, 33, is not only a skilled musician, he’s also a guitar-toting globetrotter, taking his music around the world to spread the message of hope.
Speaking to FMT after just returning from a trip to Somalia, Jeshurun spoke about his life as a young man dealing with the devastating news of his hearing disability.
“Depression was like a glue, it stuck itself so tightly and was suffocating. I felt like it would never go away.
“I did my best to look normal on the outside but I was battling with this demon on the inside. I tried running away from it but it kept resurfacing, kept haunting me.”
He says it didn’t help that those around him blamed him for his partial hearing loss, saying it was karma for something bad he had done.
When he was at his lowest point, he suddenly remembered the words of a dear friend who told him to be the change he wanted to see in the world.
“I was thinking, what could I do with my story? I realised there were many others just like me, suffering from a similar condition.
“What if I shared my story with the world,” he said, explaining that if he could make a difference in even one person’s life, then the effort would have been worth it.
And that’s how his inspiring musical journey around the world began.
In 2014, in a spur-of-the-moment decision, Jeshurun bought a flight ticket to Myanmar. He didn’t know anyone there at the time nor did he have a travel itinerary planned.
But the universe does work in mysterious ways.
Just 12 hours before his flight he had a chance meeting with someone who said he’d arrange for a friend to meet Jeshurun at the airport in Myanmar, and later meet with a group of people he could tell his story to.
“I soon found myself in a village in a remote part of Myanmar and I told them my story in the hope that it would inspire them,” he says, describing the session as “heartwarming”.
Buoyed by the success of this visit, he continued his travels to other countries while juggling the demands of a full-time job.
Despite the hectic schedule, Jeshurun kept to his plan and today has visited a total of 102 countries, always with his guitar in hand, nestled in its eye-catching case, sewed with the flags of all the countries he’s been to.
He recalls one particularly memorable encounter.
“I had the privilege of sharing my journey in Istanbul. At the end of the session, a lady came up to me speaking Turkish. Luckily there was a translator.
“She said she’d been having suicidal thoughts but after listening to my story, she was inspired to overcome it.”
In June 2019, Jeshurun decided to become a full-time traveller, living off his savings.
He says he has met many kind souls along the way, many of whom, once they discover what he’s doing, help with the cost of his travels by purchasing either his flight or bus tickets. Many have also graciously hosted him in their homes, which helped save on food and accommodation costs.
Jeshurun says he has particularly fond memories of the people in Afghanistan, Iran and Syria.
“I was truly touched by the kindness and hospitality of the people there. Despite having so many problems, they never fail to smile. They shared their rich culture, food and opened up their home to me.”
In his recent trip to Somalia, Jeshurun found himself in a tight spot after failing to secure a visa.
He says he went to the Somalia Consulate in Jeddah and after explaining the purpose of his journey, the officer in charge was so taken up by him, that he not only helped with the visa but also arranged for Jeshurun to be interviewed by Somalia’s national television.
What’s next for this travelling musician?
He is currently on the lookout for NGO-related work but the Covid-19 pandemic has thrown a spanner in the works.
Since his travel plans have been put on hold indefinitely, Jeshurun is working on his second book about his travels to South America.
His first book “Into the Potter’s Hands” dealt with the trials he faced in life.
His parting words to his readers are, “Keep your goals in your hand, do not let anyone steal it from you or discourage you by saying it is impossible. Remember that everything is possible, just have that goal in your hand and keep running towards it. You will never know that the difficulties and the challenges you face today might be a great encouragement for someone tomorrow. Your life is the most worthy thing so make good decisions and choices and beyond that, focus on your goal.”