travel

“Greetings Ba Mrs. KB Massingill”

I have days worth of film and audio to go through but among all of the other things that I was doing, this one bit I found more important than the other. Even more important than starting the film.

Ba Mrs. KB Massingill-

{It is just a great gift of fate that I got this ready on the day of your fourth chemo treatment. I hope that as you sit loopy and giggly from the medicine, weary from the trouble of it all that you can really take heart in this little gift. A gift not so much from me, but through me, from people who care so much about you. Too many people sent me greetings with words that I couldn’t bring back from my own mouth with any amount of justice, so I decided to film them. After you watch, you will understand why I didn’t feel capable to bring the messages back with the full extent of their love or meaning.}

-j

 

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Categories: Clarify, travel | Tags: , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Photos from Zambia

Here are a few photos from the weekend.  You can read the full post here.

Jessalyn and Liana

Liana and I doing our best to stay awake at Sports Day (one of us was anyway)

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Afternoon in Lusaka

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View of Kariba Lake and the pool

View of Kariba Lake and the pool from the porch

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Girl in Sandbox

Liana the sand mermaid

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Boat on Lake Kariba

Riding on the speed boat on Kariba lake

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Poured Out

“She broke a jar & poured perfume on his head.”

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“Leave her alone,” said Jesus. “Why are you bothering her? She has done a beautiful thing to me. The poor you will always have with you, and you can help them at any time you want. But you will not always have me. She did what she could.”

{Mark 14:3, 6-8}

Time is dwindling. I’ve entered in the to unfortunate space that exists between two things. I’ve left the place where my film project is in the distant future and haven’t yet arrived at the place where the next step starts. I don’t know what to do to prepare anymore, it’s really just time to jump. I believe that I am as ready as I’m going to be, mentally at least. From my limited experience and from what I’ve  heard from those with more experience, I know that in filming there’s only so much planning you can do before you get to your location see all of your plans fail,  find yourself starting from scratch and wondering why you ever bothered trying to plan in the first place. You can script and plan all you want but when it boils down to it you’re behind the camera & what happens in front of it is out of the realm of your control. (Especially in the non-fiction setting.) Beyond that, I have had extensive experience seeing well thought out plans arrive in Africa and then be immediately obliterated because it is Africa and that’s how she works. It’s as if she is chastising you for trying to control her, and perhaps even mocking you for thinking you could.

This situation has created a dilemma for me because the longer I have to hang out in this ambiguous space the longer I have to become anxious and dream up grandeur scenarios of all of the different ways I can get to Zambia and fall on my face. Sometimes I sit in front of the computer screen hoping that by being ready I give inspiration the opportunity to show up, or I’ll open my silly little granola box journal with all of my thoughts and research and flip through the pages certain that something will give me revelation to know what in the world to do next. I find that to be successful less and less. The real dilemma is the internal battle that happens when I wake up in the morning and lack all knowledge required to feel productive, and we live in a world that demands constant productivity. While my mold is shaped slightly different, having grown up in the culture of constant go, there is an inherent part of me that fits into that mold and in these moments where I have nothing to show for the day I fall prey to that deception of failure.

Success by the standards of the world has a very different definition than success by the standards I follow, yet I live in the world and so do the people around me and those things alone are enough to pull me in two different directions. My quandary is in deciding which I will hold to. A few mornings ago, after a series of frustrating days and sleepless nights that left me feeling mad, I resigned the idea that there was purpose in staying in bed any longer and made my way to my porch. I found myself in Mark at the story where Jesus is anointed at Bethany. That encounter with Jesus has always been a story that marked itself on my heart, and with obvious reasons. As a lady I’ve always found deep satisfaction in placing myself in the story as the woman at Jesus’ feet, pouring perfume over him. This morning however, I heard a new command in it. It said to me, “This is above all.  Your love for me, is above all. Even above the service you do in my name. Jessalyn, time anointing me is more important than working on the film for me.”  

To this I asked myself- “Do you spend enough time pouring perfume over Jesus’ head-even when it’s financially and otherwise illogical?”

The answer has been no. I see through this what has been asked of me in this season, this season that has been so trying to me. I’ve taken the steps but with so much resistance and so full of doubt and so on days where I don’t see tangible proof of his hand I begin to fall back on the pressure to live up to standards that I was never meant to follow. I shuffle my feet around looking for something to do that’s going to satisfy that feeling when the time to sit and pour perfume over him at the cost of my finances and security was inherently and skillfully built into the plan. He has been saying- put me first. Spend time pouring over me first. Don’t spend time on monetary gain and trust me. Pour your time into me. You will always have the poor with you. There will always be another film, another cause, another need. I’ve given you a time where you’re only responsibility is to sit and pour over me at the cost of everything else. You will always have the poor- you will not always have me. 

I haven’t drawn much in years. The opportunity to sit down and spend hours and hours on a drawing is hard to find if you’re not commissioned or established. Typically I am neither, and haven’t found that opportunity in a while but there was a day a while ago that I woke up with only 10% brain function and by late morning had worked myself into such a dither that I gave up trying. I found myself in the alcove full of my old art supplies at my parents and as I was waiting for someone and had some time I decided I would sit down and draw. I looked around me and started to doodle the scene but decided that if I was going to draw I should draw something worthwhile. I found an old picture of my grandmother sitting close by so I took it up and started to sketch. I didn’t expect to finish it and I didn’t expect much out of it, but as I began I felt a shift in my being from producing by thinking to producing by feeling. I couldn’t do anything else, but in that moment my brain was turned off and my heart was turned on and for the first time in days I found success. Drawing is not something that I know how to do, it’s just something I do. I couldn’t teach you how to do it because on a cognizant level, I don’t even know how I do it. I realized I’ve been living in a way I was never meant to live. No wonder I find it so hard to accomplish anything. My mother walked by and made some statement close to “If I could draw like that I wouldn’t do anything else.” A statement to which I started to negate with multiple things, one being, “no you wouldn’t because you can’t make any money drawing…” but then before I completed the thought I realized, “Wait a minute… I don’t make any money anyway!” What fortune! In that moment I found a purpose in this time. I’m not the Lord, but I feel that in part this time of my life has been given to me so I can stop working in a mode that is so different than the way I was meant to function and start finding Him in the things that have been purposefully placed in me. Coming to terms with the fact that I was made to produce work by feeling instead of thinking was a huge relief… mostly because I’ve begun to realize that I may have an undiagnosed case of Attention Deficit Disorder.

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Low Effort Tips You May… or May Not Want to Try (for Earth Day)

It’s Earth Day Everybody! My second favorite holiday!… second to Cinco de Mayo, of course.)

Being “green,” as they say, can be expensive. Last time I checked, completely transforming your lifestyle requires at least a little effort and/or a lot of money. Neither of which is very much fun to spend, and is probably why you don’t see everyone driving Hybrid cars or riding their bike to work (expensive AND sweaty.) The good news is that I can relate, so much so that the teller at the bank laughed at me the last time I asked for an account balance. That’s how much I can relate. However, that has not discouraged me. Oh no, in fact it has encouraged me to make some changes… because sometimes being green means being cheap. And that I am. Get ready you future green peace members because I have blazed a path in the eco-friendly world with this list of cheap, easy (& socially unacceptable) changes to make in your everyday life that require way less effort than tilling your front yard into an organic vegetable garden, but (literally) next to nothing financially. This is a non-exhaustive list of things you may or may not want to try that I have implemented into my daily routine in an attempt to live simply, consciously and slightly unorthodox-ly.  (You can at least do these things till you get those solar panels installed, right? Am I Riiight?)

*All of the following statements are true. These are actually things I do… and don’t even expect me to talk about saving water by not washing my hair because I’m SO not going to humor you and tell you how often… or not often that I wash.. or don’t wash my hair. Yeah, nice try.*

Ahhh look at me being all one with the earth and stuff.

Wear your clothes multiple days in a row.

The Space Test: (no one is looking so just do it.)

  1. Begin by raising your right arm and placing your nose on your armpit. Inhale deeply. -Take your breath away? Maybe so, but don’t throw that shirt in the laundry bin just yet.
  2. Once again raising your arm, place your nose 2-3 inches from your armpit. Inhale deeply.-Still a little musky? Cleanse your palette and continue to step 3.
  3. With your arm still raised, tilt your head only slightly in the direction of your exposed armpit and inhale deeply one more time. With this breath, assess the damage.

From here make your assessment. If at any point before step 3. your deep inhale produced no recognizable stench then you need to air that sucker out and put it back in the closet. It’s your duty as a citizen of the earth to reuse it without washing it.

Here’s the long and short of it- Somewhere along the way in our Western culture someone (probably someone eating crumpets with a monocle) made it socially unacceptable or at least socially awkward to see someone wearing the same thing they wore the day before. Where did that come from? You crazies. I wear the same thing multiple days in a row without washing it and look at me! Baha!

I seek simplicity and this seems like a perfectly sensible solution. What’s better than getting to wear your favorite clothes every single day?!? Chances are unless you went for a run in that shirt, it’s not THAT dirty. I guess you could always put it back in the closet and wear it non-consecutively… but that takes ALL of the fun out of it if you ask me.

Reuse your slightly damp, slightly dirty, mini paper towels.

The ugly truth is, sometimes using a paper towel once is stupid. The efforts made by paper towel companies when they began to perforate the normal sized sheet mid-way to make two smaller sheets is commendable but still… how many times do you wash your hands and grab one of those mini sheets, give it a half-hearted crumple & then toss it? On further investigation you might find that even using those smaller sheets you’re not using it to it’s full potential. They were made for more. More than saving the planet, I’m concerned with self-esteem of those quilted little guys. Imagine how it must feel to be ripped from your home and  paper towel friends, only to be slightly saturated then thrown next to the old bread (that you should have composted.) This is another one of those things that seems to have social connotations attached to it based on our culture’s underlying value system that is really just silly once you consider it further.

So, here’s the options as I see it-

  1. Rinse those hands, grab that mini sheet and dry em off!… annnd then straighten it out, fold it up and set it in a designated spot next to your sink for the next time you need to dry your hands (it’s only water, it will dry. Just like new!) or at least leave it to wipe of your counter top in the event of excess spillage or an occasional spot clean.
  2. Stop using paper towels at times when a dish towel will suffice. To clean spray from the sink, for example. (Seriously, water evaporates.)
  3. Air dry! If you can’t stomach the thought of rinsing and reusing, then suck it up and shake it off. (Seriously, water evaporates.)

No one will even notice the stack of used paper towels sitting next to the sink. Just fold them up nicely like me. Anyway, people are usually too distracted by the unbelievably tall stack of cardboard boxes that you hoard and the fact that you only own one plate. (Yeah, that is probably only relevant to me again.)

NEVER let your trash end up on the ground & never walk past someone else’s trash again.

This one is actually torturous. Somewhere along the way, in all of this “having convictions” and “caring” stuff I picked up this inability to walk by trash on the ground without picking it up. What’s so torturous about that you ask? HAVE YOU SEEN HOW MUCH TRASH THERE IS ON THE GROUND? Obviously not, or you wouldn’t have had to ask that question.

Warning: Following this practice actually does take some effort and mental energy. It’s easy effort, but it is effort. For one thing, it seems so small. It can actually  take more mental energy to do small things than it takes to do big things because sometimes it’s hard to see what difference it makes and therefore takes much more convincing yourself that it’s worth the effort. It might look something like this, you’re walking along, walking along, you spot some trash in your peripherals and you keep walking along and then somewhere deep down inside of you there’s a voice that says, “hey you jerk, go pick that up.” (Ok, maybe that’s just the voice inside of me.) So then you have to turn around, pick it up and carry it till there is a proper place for waste. Sometimes you end up carrying trash around because you’re not near a trash can or sometimes you have to stop conversations you’re having so that you can say, “Excuse me, I have to go chase that snickers wrapper.” But most times it’s not hard. You just see trash, and you pick it up. One small step for the planet, one giant leap for your character.

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The truth is there are a lot of things that we do as a society, not because it really even makes sense, but because at some point in our history or perhaps over the span of our history we have developed certain beliefs about things that are ‘unacceptable.’ Like the idea of having to wash something because we’ve worn it once. Without thinking about it that would seem fine and even logical but on further inspection we realize that most citizens of the Western world own enough clothing to wear a different thing without washing it  everyday for at least a month, yet somehow our washing machines stay busy. More than saving water, changing our mindset about how often we launder something produces an awareness that we may not understand as well as we think we do. There’s no finger pointing happening here though. We’re all the product of our surroundings and let’s face it- we’re blessed. Why would we naturally feel like conserving when we’ve always lived in a land of plenty? Coming to the realization that our truths as a culture may not be the truths of the rest of the world begins to produce the ability to see the huge gap between many of us and the millions of people who wear the same clothes every day because it’s the only set they have. And slowly, as we change our perspective we begin to change our thought processes and then habits and eventually what seemed so logical is a distant memory of a life we used to live and we’re hanging our clothes back up without thinking about it and we’re high-fiving all the time because we’re all so happy that we get to wear our favorite pants again! That’s how we will reduce our waste and save our planet… the earth part & the people on it.

HOORAH! Now, to celebrate- here’s some of my favorite images that I’ve taken of our beautiful Earth and Earthlings in some of my travels. GO EARTH.

[Images from top: Kara Standing on Huayna picchu Mountain at Machu Picchu in Peru; Zambian Village; My travel buddies and I, taken with timer on the beach in Essouria, Morocco; Reflection of building on the water in Florence, Italy; Crab on the beach of Cabo Palonio, Uruguay; Iguazu Falls, Brazil; My camel at the ruins of a hotel frequented by Jimi Hendrix outside of Essouria, Morocco; Reflection of boats in Rocha, Uruguay; Oh, you know… just being cool, Andes Mountains, Peru]

Categories: Clarify, Simplify, travel | Tags: , , | 3 Comments

Guess that Project!

Let’s play a game. It will be a guessing game. I’m thinking of my next big project. I’ll give you some clues about how I’m getting prepared and you see if you can catch my drift…

1. I have started to look like a walking library again. My bag weighs three hundred pounds and I look like a magician when I start pulling an endless stream of books from my bag. When it’s time to get prepared and get inspired it’s time to keep all of the relevant literature at my fingertips. I packed my bag for church yesterday with my Spanish-English bible, Chitonga bible (Ibbiabbele), two cereal box journals, my regular journal, and a book called “A Practical Introduction to CHITONGA.” It’s time to start re-introducing myself to my subject.

2. This morning I went to my parents house to get my boom-box from middle school. It’s the really big kind with a six CD changer, two tape players and two speakers that for some reason aren’t attached to the body (which makes it extremely difficult to move from one place to another.) It was the only thing I could find with a functioning tape player. I tediously balanced the speakers halfway on top of the body and secured them with my chin as I made my way out the door (successfully, though not gracefully, opening and closing all doors behind me) and then made the slow (and likely comical) way to my apartment a couple of houses down, made it up the stairs and into my house only having almost dropped it eight times. Yeah, only eight. Currently I’m listening to “Tonga drills 1a-8a”

3. I have started writing a fundraising letter. I’m going to need a plane ticket and a few extra camera batteries if I plan to do much filming in the bush…

Ok, my friends. So– What is big, way over my head, and set in Zambia (all over)?

That’s right- my next film project.


Categories: Clarify, travel | 4 Comments

Excerpt from a paragraph written in Peru.

{It seems to me that the problem with diaries, and the reason that most of them are so boring, is that every day we vacillate between examining our hangnails and speculating on cosmic order.  ~Ann Beattie, Picturing Will, 1989}

I don’t have the next set of journals finished so instead of writing about journals, I’m writing about a writing from one of mine. It was not written to be read.

March 17, 2009- Cusco, Peru “…I cramped all day today & spent way too much money, but I’d like to think I’m the kind that can be fine when things aren’t perfect. I did take a nap in the Andes mountains. Why would I complain? We wound up the mountain to a nothing town where we met our instructor, or guide I guess. The air was fresh, the view was stunning & I ran off of a mountain. I had many thoughts today. We laid our faces close to the ground looking over the Sacred Valley. I touched the earth, she healed me.
We laid drowsily. High from the ancient power of the place, drunk from the sun. Without opening her eyes Stefanie asked me, “These are all the Andes, right? Did we already talk about this?… mmm yeah, they are. They are.” She was talking to  herself.
“Yeah,” I said, without bothering to look away from the valley below me, “we did.”
“… I never thought I would be here like this.”
I didn’t either. But there was I- finding sleep on the earth of the Andes and I got to be the wind.”

The decision was made. My hair wouldn’t fit in a helmet for rafting, we would have to go paragliding. Sitting between my two companions, with our cameras in hand and our fanny-packs firm on our waists, we anxiously joked with one another as we wound up what seemed like an endless dirt road that sat very close to the edge of the mountain it cut into & we gawked as we passed nothing but postcard-worthy landscapes and climbed higher and higher into the mountains. The higher we climb the farther we fall (and every day since… the higher we climb, the further we fall.) We conversed with the driver who showed up early that morning while it was still dark at the front door of our hostel in a beat up white van that could have taken us anywhere. We piled in without hesitation, squeezing all three on the same seat. His Spanish, and the clear Spanish we had encountered with all of the Peruvians we had met, came as a relief after months of struggling to decipher Uruguay’s lax pronunciations of the same words. We felt like conquering linguists & we kept winding higher and higher.

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“So, I will count uno, dos, TRES. Yew just run off the mountain.”
“Just… run off the mountain.”
“Jes, I say TRES and yew run off.”
“Just run right off of there huh?”
“jes.”
“…Okay.”
“Now we wait for good wind.”

There were many things from that day that could fill endless pages of profound revelations and rhetoric. We spent from dawn to dusk waiting on good wind to carry us into the air & taking our turn to run, on the count of a man we had known for only a moment, from the security of the mountains to the arms of the valley that cut through them. We were waiting on good wind, but we weren’t waiting on anything. Surrounded by handcrafted beauty we existed in a rare moment where we were not waiting on anything, not the future or the past but we just sat, intoxicated by the seconds and we just were. I am not romanticizing it because it is, in it’s very nature, already so. It wasn’t the beauty that was so remarkable but the “being.” Many places are beautiful.

Finally after hours, the good wind came for the last turn and we watched our beautiful friend’s feet leave the ground, and then we turned to the dirty van to wind our way down as she flew hundreds of feet in the air into the sunset. Later, as we continued farther and farther back down to the place we had come from I turned around one last time before the sun went completely behind the mountains and caught sight of the whole grand picture of the place we had spent our day & what was beautiful before was breathtaking now. It wasn’t until that moment as we left it, that I realized that sometimes you have to come down from the mountain to really be able to fully grasp how beautiful they are.


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Cardboard Journal- eat the cereal, then write about it.

He has made everything beautiful in it’s time. Ecclesiastes 3:11

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“It’s not plagiarism – I’m recycling words, as any good environmentally conscious writer would do.”  ~Uniek Swain

I lived in Oxford the first time I encountered a Moleskine journal. I found myself in Blackwell’s books staring indecisively and equally as lustfully at the set of three thin, clean Moleskine Cahier journals that boasted to inspire great writing simply by looking at their soft tan cover & basking in their rich history. I was too enticed not to buy them (even though the pound was two-to-one when I lived in England.) I filled one with my studies of French & the Arabic I learned before & during our trip to Morocco, spotted one with half-hearted sketches & writings from my travels, and the most successful one found it’s way into the hands of my favorite three year old & had sporadic beautiful scribbles on every other page (and the cover.) Needless to say I left England with three unfinished Moleskine journals.

There is something strangely enticing about the Moleskine though. The Italian Moleskine collection is donned with features similar to the standard used in the late 19th century into the early 20th century when artists latched onto the notebooks (as stated by Wikipedia) “as a prominent creative tool for avant-garde artists who enjoyed drawing and writing outdoors, putting down impressions on paper, painting from life in the streets and cafés, and capturing extemporary scenes, ideas, and emotions.”  Very well, I say. Why wouldn’t I also want to utilize this creative tool used by Oscar Wilde, Vincent van Gogh, Pablo Picasso, Hemingway, Matisse and the nameless others who’s ideas needed to find themselves materialized just as much as the next guy’s? The journals I’ve fashioned out of my cereal boxes are closely related to the Moleskine Cahier journals.

I found out by carrying my Cahiers in my bag during travels (specifically one very rainy, very cold day in the Irish mountainside) that these journals are not necessarily built for durability either. (I mean they’re cardboard, come on.) They’re durable enough though & if you’re not abusing them they will survive. Besides, spots and tears give a man character & the same with the notebook that houses his soul. With that, they will very successfully lend themselves to the revelations that find you at any given moment & they are most definitely more durable than the journal I made out of bubble wrapbut they’re not nearly as shiny.

 

These turned out much better than the last journal, at least in the sense that they are more functional. I’m really in love with the look of them too. I like the cardboard cover because it really just seems to say “doodle on me.” I think that I may put these up in my Etsy shop. (Right now all I have in my shop is guitar pick guards that I have hand painted) I may even make some more and decorate the covers. Bold, I know.

Categories: Simplify, travel | 3 Comments

Rainy day in LA & finger painting

Sunny California did not live up to it’s lovable nickname the first few days I was here. I walked out of the doors of LAX on Wednesday to a chilly, wet Los Angeles. The sun was nowhere in sight. For a moment I thought I was back in London leaving Heathrow, strangely nostalgic. Some might be disappointed but I can get some sun when I get back to Texas & who doesn’t love a good rain? It has cleared up for today but the forecast tells of more rain.

Tomorrow morning, bright and early we will head to Agoura hills for our half marathon. Sadly, it has been raining so much that Allie’s trail half was canceled & they will be joining me for the regular half on paved road. We’ve all come to the conclusion that we would rather have a rainy/cooler day than a sunny/hotter day if we had to go to one extreme or the other.

Yesterday the brother had to go to work for a good part of the day so, having no car, I was left to occupy myself in the meantime. Don’t be mislead though, I was perfectly content. It takes little for me to find ways to occupy myself. Give me a guitar, a book and my mate and I can go on for hours.

My dad recently pointed out that I don’t use my drawing or painting skills anymore. He’s right. You could say I spread myself thin between the arts. Yesterday though my brother left me his ipad to play with while he went off to play lawyer. Now, the truth is that I have a phone & I have a computer so I don’t really know what use I would have for an ipad but Josh showed me a glorified doodle app that he downloaded and I now know of one thing that the laptop and iphone’s love child is worth. Anytime I doodle there’s a good chance that  I will end up drawing a nondescript face, it’s my ‘go-to’ and so it was when I picked up the ipad and started doodling. Sadly, the first drawing I did disappeared after a glitch in the app but I decided I needed to use a reference photo anyway so I took a photo of my sister in law Allie from my brother’s desk and started over. I was surprised at how much I enjoyed using it and how legitimately it mocked real brush strokes. I would never make it my primary medium, as working with technology for long periods of time already tends send me over the edge but I’ve never had a great grasp on painting & especially the use of color in realism and the no-risk factor, the freedom that comes from feeling like you’re finger painting and the ability to undo anything you do if you change your mind, is serious good practice. It’s not the most amazing thing anyone has ever done but its a start.

I started another portrait today with even more control and purpose than the last two. Who knows, maybe I’ll do an iPad Portrait Series before I leave California. I will post the next one when I’m done.

Here is the progression of the portrait-

Categories: Clarify, travel | 1 Comment

Travel writer seeking travel

Tomorrow I am headed to California. Good thing for me, because I decided I wanted to be a travel writer. Bad thing for me is that I’m in a season of life that, comparatively, has not provided much opportunity for travel on any grand scale. That means I better take advantage of the travel that I am doing but more importantly, I better figure out how I’m going to write about travel… while I’m not doing much traveling.

I may not know much but I do know one thing, I could wreck shop as a travel writer. I’m compulsively pensive, I mask my lack of knowledge with verbosity & occasional satire, I’m cheap, and I don’t really feel like showers are that important. I feel like there’s a good market for a cheap, compulsive and low maintenance writer. The only problem that I can see at present would be that uh… well, I’m not going anywhere.

I was seven the last time I spent an entire year in one country. In fact I recently spent two years in the “college” season of life on a ‘travel binge.’ There was a period in there where I could’ve written about a different country bi-weekly. I don’t say this to boast, I say it as a slap on the wrist. Better planning would’ve afforded me a foot in the door to a career in travel writing. (Not that I’m looking for a career.)

Good news is that I like to keep an open mind and I tend to be relatively creative. I may not have the ability or the plans in this season of life to travel the way I was blessed to do in the past, but I do have an expansive place of experience to tap into & the challenge to think bigger than planes, trains and automobiles… and that is where I will start-memoirs & a new perspective.

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I think there is a tendency to limit the idea of travel to a grand scale, a scale that is based on location. When, in reality, many times it isn’t the distance spanned but the familiarity that’s left behind that really measures the journey. To me that means, disassociate your idea of travel from physical distance or location and reorient your perspective to frame experience as the measure of travel & when you do we suddenly all begin to take on the appearance of seasoned wanderers.

The world is too immense to grasp it all in one lifetime. It is purely a matter of which parts of the world you choose to explore. The likelihood is slim-to-none that you will ever even fully know your own neighborhood, your own town. You might, in all of your days, come to completely know the most intimate setting of your life inside and out, but chances are there will be areas even of your own home that you fail to know. That is because we are finite and we are frail and more often than not we spend our time looking without seeing, we see yet we don’t experience, we experience but we still fail to know. Looking even deeper, that applies to yourself. You could search and explore yourself from now till the day you die and still have uncharted areas of your inmost. The most exotic and remote locations on the earth can’t even be compared to those within ourselves. On the one hand this is sad news, because it means that you will live and die and never see it all. However, to those of us who constantly starve for more, we’re faced with a limitless feast for our insatiable hunger.  We are free to fly… even in the periods where we might feel somewhat grounded.

So what then, does ‘travel’ mean? This is the question that we face. This is the question that I face… head on. So, I want to write about travel & that seems hard considering that for the first time I’m somewhat committed to staying in place.

Have you ever been somewhere you know well and tried to pretend that this place you see everyday is somewhere you’ve never seen before? Or have you ever been somewhere absolutely foreign and tried to imagine it as if you’d been there all of your life? What’s baffling is how easy it is to do. What it demonstrates is the role that perspective plays in our travels. It seems, in that case, that the destination isn’t in fact the most important factor in fulfilling the purpose of travel, but rather where you’re coming from.

In light of that, I see no road block to my aspirations. I have limitless sources for writings about traveling to things around you with a different perspective. Because isn’t that the idea behind travel anyway? Either to see something you’ve never seen, or see it in a new way? I don’t have to go far to find either one of those things.

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[The images are from my last trip to California to visit my brother. Cali here I come! From top: Tourist at Hollywood walk of fame, Mickey Mouse outside of restaurant in Hollywood, One man, 17 instrument band street performer at Santa Monica Pier (a super funny dude) performing House of the Rising Sun, Riding down the Pacific Coast Highway with my brother, Street performer on Santa Monica Pier performing an original song titled, “I Lost My Girl to the Cell Phone”]

Categories: Clarify, travel | 2 Comments

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