i've arrived back in nyc and into the arms of many friends. amazingly for the six hours that we partied, i didn't take a single photo.... ;) well, the trip is officially over, but i'm not stopping for long. for the next two days i'll be gearing up for my trip back to europe to attend LIFT. when i return back to NYC, i'll be couchsurfing while gathering my thoughts. my next reports will be from europe!
it's been over a year since i started fundraising and today we broke $7,000 USD. (thank you Josh Tabin)!
the next 24 hours are my last. tomorrow, by this time not only will i be in the air floating over the south and the mid-atlantic states, but i'll be floating on a cloud of your support, your love and your generosity. you have taken me around the world...
while on the road i've met our neighbors. no longer separated by countries, news outlets or mediaries... without a doubt we are connected to the same lawn with a bit of pond in between us all.
now on the last day of my journey, i am $742 USD away from achieving $7,777 USD. the next 24 hours will be your last chance to pre-purchase a copy of "the luck of seven" children's book i'm writing. the next 24 hours will be your last chance to immortalize a dream and forever stand on the shoulder's of a giant.
LIVE THE DREAM, CONTRIBUTE TODAY.
these people rock! add consider adding your name...
Michael Nutt, Josh Tabin, Michael McColl, kushtrim xhakli, Joe Vieira, Erica Douglass, Chuck Olsen, Megumi Nishikura, Nicholas Schroeder, and My Parents...
microphone photo by hiddedevries
i now have four speaking engagements lined up...
new york city, usa
2 feb 2008 - as detailed in yesterday's post, starting at 5pm (18h00) i'll be talking into a bottomless barrel of booze. (facebook event info) you are all invited to help me conclude seven months around the world! if you can't make it, buy me a virtual beer and contribute!
6 through 8 feb 2008 - i'll be at the LIFT conference pipping out the merits of free culture and the global empowerment. while i will be giving a five minuet speech, i'll also be giving a three hour workshop! (don't think i'm wealthy, i'm working barback at this conference. i still have $700 to fundraise, help a bro out?)
new york city, usa
5 march 2008 - dorkbot nyc, location one, soho, @ 7pm - my buddy douglas found an opportunity for my goods to be shown in-front of nyc's largest geek community! (meetup is for nurds, dorkbot is for geeks! this is all tung and cheek, we'all b family!)
15 - 16 march 2008 - barcamp nyc 3. without a doubt i'll be presenting something...
not an alternative, brooklyn, ny - upon my return in late feb, we're talkin an evening conversation with drinks, DJ's, and a chariot with seven horsemen... ;)
i'd love to crash SXSW interactive or the film segment. then again, so would the rest of the world... if you think i'm worthy. please bless me with your grace.
if you have a class or community group that would be interested in having me connect via the tubes, i'd love to connect the dots.
photo from punkjr on flickr
item #1, advice from my father.
today, i received a few inspirational notes from my father... while i know they are a bit muffled in verse, i was able to hear the sweet tone of loving comfort. let me hum a few bars...
"don't stop thinking about tomorrow. don't stop it'll soon be here. It'll be better than before. why not think about times to come, and about the things that you've done..."
yes, sometimes it's hard to distinguish between my father and fleetwood mac...
the past year has taught me more lessons than i could have possibly dreamed. those dreams found people who not only believed in exploration, but believed that collectively we can accomplish our dreams. though every hello, hug or heaping plate of food, we did it. collectively we've explored the internet world, but we're not done yet.
now i find myself in a precarious position. every night, i dream about the places i've been and the things i've done. painfully, i roll and roll debating endlessly what's the best way to engage the world within this dream, and how to make a living. i checked my bank account and only found $75... but more on that later...
so now, here i am back in america trying to understand everything i've done and make sense of where i'd like to see the world... honestly, it's stressful carving out a grandiose vision of the future based on seven short months. any-who, so work for the children's book presses on...
item #2, my nyc return.
after thinking that i should call my good buddy jonathan, i carelessly blasted out an email routing people to a bar which in perfect pursuit of happiness should be at the end of places to experience in brooklyn. don't get me wrong, it's not a bad place... it's just a better place to end the night. in lew of this miss judgement, jonathan and i are crafting a triumphant return to brooklyn. (btw, you might remember jonathan as the partner of val; the two glorious hosts at the start of the journey...)
yeah, so i'm returning to NEW YORK CITY on saturday, FEB 2nd at 3pm (15h00). well, that's when my plane lands... i'll then find my way onto the subway, down the long corridors of the MTA and then into the arms of a few friends. while i'm jazzing my way back to billyburg, i need you to grab your camera and some ridiculous looking outfit and make your way to the hipster capital of the world.
starting at 5pm (18h00) you are invited to meet me at 303 bedford ave, brooklyn, ny. the bar is/was called wells, but don't worry about a thing. we're commandeering the sound system and maybe brute forcing a discount (thats'a joke, jon is a bartender and we might get a sweet deal if enough people show up). afterward, we'll saunter over to IONA and then over to the keystone bar of the night, SPUYTEN DUYVIL.
item #3, the future as mentioned in the past.
as my around the world journey ends, a new one begins. i am so poor you won't believe how poor i am. over the past two months i've spent less that $600 USD to get by. for the past month, i've been beggin for handouts and frothing at the mouth for free food. i've max'd out my only credit card (actually i owe them $800 in late charges). i've got $75 bucks in my checking account, and $8 dollars in my wallet.
if you look at my ticker, i still have $700 USD to fundraise (which won't even cover my credit cards, but i've called them and they "kinda understand")... and if the phone call from my roommate is any indication my housing situation, i'm gonna need to kick in close to $900 in rent...
so what does this mean to you, the reader... well, one thing... my life has taught me to follow my heart and build on what i've learned. next week, when i land in a foreign country without a euro in my pocket, i will proudly stand in front of some of the world's smartest and extoll tales of our journey together. (for you geeks out there, LIFT is like TED but for normal people.)
if you haven't pre-purchased a copy of the luck of seven children's book, i hope you consider contributing $11.11 USD. if 70 people purchase a copy, i won't ask for another cent... (that's until i start the mel brooks swag campaign) if you've contributed and can contribute a little more, that would be awesome! thank you for making dreams come true!
a big thanks to the most recent contributors - KUSHTRIM XHAKLI, Megumi Nishikura, and Joe Vieira.
(btw, i'm also need a job, if you know of anyone who's looking for a well skilled student of new media, send them my resume...)
as my path wondered through southeast asia, i found myself on the other-side of the world where the US dollar is the all mighty. for less that $6.00 USD you'd can be served a mountain of food fit for a king. little did i know that for less that $2.00 USD, my friend huixian and i would eat lavishly for two days...
if huixian and i ate at her house every day, we'd spend less than $15 USD a week. that's less than $15.00 USD a week ON FOOD!!!!
i know it's hard to understand how we can make a difference in someone's lives at the other end of the world, but those "help a christian child" TV spots aren't that far fetched. "for dollars a day you, can change someone's life..." except in this "advertisement" we're not talking about a newly "saved" cambodian pip. we're talking about a "no political or religious agenda; we work directly with village chiefs and school principals to target their communities’ most pressing needs. Gradually, we’ve hired and mentored fifty-seven Cambodians who’ve assumed all leadership positions.” - Nancy Woodward Hendrie from the sharing foundation in the mount holyoke alumnae quarterly
THAT'S RIGHT! a grassroots empowerment organization needs your help. if you donate $10.00 USD and believe it or not, WE can turn it into $50,000!!!
just imagine how much $50,000 will go in cambodia?!?!
luck of seven contributor and global non-profit rockstar beth kantor has asked me to ask for your help. over the next 40 hours, we need to win the "giving challenge." we need to get the most unique donations over the next day or so and we can collectively turn our $10 bucks into $50,000!!!
if you're into the social media chain letter thing, there's a participant wiki on how you can help... the first three are the most important...
1. Volunteer to write at least one blog between today and January 31, 2008 about this and ask your readers to contribute the minimum amount.
2. Put the widget on your blog on the side bar (it is easy to cut and paste)
3. Consider donating $10 to campaign!
i stand and look out at the wonder that is the world. beneath my feet, embedded in my flip flops are the peeples of discomfort, the ignorance of sand and the wet and wild world we call earth. in four short days, my journey will officially end. in four short days, i will return to new york city.
it's been seven months from my bed, my friends, my "stuff," and any notion of disposable income. i know little has changed; i know i am not the same. as the days wind down i face another moment of reflection. each passing mirrored moment, i see a million lessons wrapped into one epic journey.
but for this this morning, my brain feels a bit scattered. maybe it's the strong texas coffee. maybe it's my body still recovering from Barcamp TX and three nights of restless sleep. maybe it's the fact that i now see my footsteps as a thin film of butter on a global piece of rye toast...
maybe it's the understanding that for everyday after next, the job gets tougher and tougher. no longer can i skate bye and say, i'm skimming the global ice. now it's time to tighten up the laces, grab the hockey stick and summarize my understanding into the back of a net.
for the past two weeks, dr miggy has given me the gift of love and a small little space to carve out my ice sculpture. a week from now, i will be penniless in geneva while having the honor to help host the open stage conversations at LIFT. subsequently, i will get five minutes to present my sculpture. :)
...but before the moderate temperatures of time start to melt my understanding of the world, the following are the seven lessons of this journey...
"when facing goliath, bring your own sling shot." - egyptian linux users group; open source software users in egypt.
"the end of the world is a great place to put ideas on their head." - cowork central; providence in ushuaia
(btw, i originally started to break out each lesson via continent, but quickly discovered that the lessons were mirrored everywhere. these seven lessons are will grow to be the basis of the children's book and the documentary film.)
honest dealings with yourself and others. (it's harder than you think)
tipping / gifts are valued in every situation.
wait a min, others are slow to react.
take one step beyond.
beauty is everywhere.
drink lots of water.
make funny faces at kids.
forget hand shakes, hug.
you only need two pairs of underwear.
repeat bad jokes.
learn bad words in other languages.
nap when you can.
always cary earplugs.
in every language, learn to say thank you.
always cary pen and paper.
embrace flip flops (aka thongs or slippers).
always have a camera.
pack lightly. no, lighter.
get your vitamins
pick your friend's nose or learn to trust your friend's nose.
watch one sunrise & sunset a month.
there is an awesome pair of pink safety glasses in Vancouver.
sell your friends, but never for money. don't worry, they come back.
call your parents.
trolly tracks + bicycle + amsterdam = danger will robinson!
enjoy sleep deprivation.
find a rainbow and follow it. if you don't see a rainbow, make one up.
“show your soul” - from souldier
“be still peace will come to you” - old guy in boston
make your own stuff.
fake it, until you make it.
eat and drink local.
when in doubt, try it.
deodorant is cheep and readily accessible.
embrace the weather.
afternoon tea is good for you.
most cabbies will stiff you.
art unlocks more doors than butter knifes.
a smile is priceless.
“smart” people are ignorant, and “nice” people can be rude.
wealth is a mental condition.
turkish ice cream doesn't melt; pheonm phen features happy pizza, and Vancouver is known for their pot. (three things i did not try.)
you'll eat with your hands more than you think. wash your hands and face frequently. don't forget to keep your fingernails clean.
forgo the bus, there is a train that connects melbourne to sydney.
a good book gives you room to write. a better book will write on you.
give people a reason to give.
remember to look in the mirror.
embrace hair or lack of hair.
note your experiments and seek multiple results.
never trust an egyptian customs agent.
befriend the rastafarian at the end of the world.
balls and honor.
look at your footsteps, but don't measure them.
be the first to volunteer.
homeless people want youtube.
digg a fox hole.
join a kickball league.
make dinner and invite random people.
learn new games and teach them to others.
auto white balance is always wrong.
a meal will unlock more hearts than a rainbow.
there are more similarities than differences.
bring toilet paper.
learn to take cold showers.
befriend a quebecer named alex.
don't eat at an american fast food chain in cairo.
religion, practice don't preach.
open your home to strangers.
the holy trinity - happenstance, providence and shit.
outsource your news to people who don't get paid to write it.
politics, policy and pornography will take you nowhere.
religion and commerce are interchangeable
everyone needs something to build.
read, write, build. - jullian bleaker
ride a rocket-ship and tour the stars.
don't take yourself so seriously.
behind the next rock is a new friend.
love is a blind, blubbering hobo who will pass you countless times uttering not a word until one day he knocks you on your ass and gives you a key.
have a back up plan, but don't write it down.
in Argentina they love salt.
never pass up a free meal.
chastity is a virtue.
art is laborious.
embrace manual mode.
the journey starts and ends with sunrises in airports.
when it comes to religion, everyone is right and wrong.
while ignorance was found everywhere, more was found amongst my fellow north americans than anywhere else.
pop music around the world sucks.
bart simpson rules the world.
wolfs are everywhere and so are sheep.
reality is a perception lost to the eyes.
the dude abides.
there are a few things that get me miffed about society - one of them is the concept of sustainable consumption. and for the past seven months, i've constantly thought about my foot print. oh sure i've taken planes, trains and automobiles and find myself considering the purchase of carbon credits... time and time again, i know i've taken my fare share of dead dinosaurs. too boot, i've used plastic bags, purchased things made of Styrofoam and consumed inorganically substances that will duly destroy the planet in a smattering of centuries. nonetheless, i've been mentally wrestling with the issue of consumption. for the past seven months, i've consumed less than i have ever consumed. honestly, it feels a bit weird.... all of this is beside the point of me writing this longwinded trite, hippopotamus prose.
over the past week, i've had a bit of time to rifle through some old issues of adbusters. if you're a neo-liberal hippy hipster like me, without a doubt you've picked up this Vancouver based mag, torpedoed though the articles in ecstasy exclaiming "i will never consume again" while your chuck taylor's wrap your feet and ben davis wipe your behind.
after taking note of the questionable eco-friendly paper quality, i stumbled upon adbusters #73 (september/october 2007) issue. smack dab in the center of their social commentary, i found a letter from paul cooper on the subject of branding blackspot shoes. it's a short and notable letter. paul's oration foretells the expansion of "blackspot" as a brand.
according to Robert Louis Stevenson's Treasure Island a "blackspot" is given to a pirate as a verdict of guilt. in this case, "blackspot" is the name of the three year old shoe brand (youtube video). (does anyone else see the self deprecating irony of putting on a pair of blackspots? by wearing the shoes one extolls the virtue of hiprococy - "as an activist, i am also a slave to fashion and a slave to brands.")
so back to the shoes... after building the concept, signing deals to outsource construction and selling 25,000 pairs of shoes, adbusters wants to diversify the brand by building alternative centers of mass market consumption. from starbucks to mcdonalds, mr. cooper sees blackspot as the "go-to" brand of alternative conception. (somewhere deep inside of my peon brain, i'm having a hard time rectifying the fact that adbusters is comparing itself to the "evil" demons of mcd and starbucks while seeking to compete with them on the global market.)
there are four reasons why i am writing this article. each one is based around the essential attributes of blackspot's brand that according to paul, "this time the rule of the game have changed."
1. customer = participant, the passive consumer becomes an active participant in shaping the social enterprises of the future.
2. grassroots capitalism, people support the efforts of small-scale entrepreneurs to capture market share from faceless megacorporations.
3. open-source, anyone can brand or co-brand their products or service with the blackspot, joining a loose alliance of thousands of other indie blackspotters.
4. jiu-jitsu marketing, blackspotters will go head-to-head with the dominate companies in the industry, using the power of the world's biggest brands to drive their success.
while i genuinely think that blackspot is onto a good thing, i don't see these rules as earth shattering. they represent nothing more than the long standing fight between small business and big business.
#1 speaks about a passive consumer becoming active. yet, if you are like the millions of americans who care about the bottom line, we just want the cheapest product we can afford. i'm not an idiot (despite by bad grammar and poor spelling) i know economic theory states we must consume to exist. yet, since the dawn of towns and cities, convenience and passivity are the #1 and #2 creature comforts of humanity. nothing in this theory states why i should give a damn.
#2 is nothing more than telling people to buy local. as we move into cities, most items are produced globally. we sit with a painful realization that the world we live within is unsustainable. my ipod, my notebook, my pen, my shoes, my clothing... everything i own was not made in the city of it's acquisition. ok, most of the food i try to buy is local... but in the long run, telling people to purchase localy is not going to change the fact that north americans consume %80 of the world's resources.
#3 is novel in the sense that i can place a "blackspot" product into an advertisement and then do a bit of cross promotion. then again, the more i think about it, the more i come to understand that this is called marketing and branding. maybe #3 speaks concept that in the near future, service providers must join forces and marginalize our individual brands to compete against faceless megacorperations.
#4 is flat out about "marketing." but when i think about going "head-to-head" with megacorperations, i only see the concept of the "anti" brand. in other words, the "blackspot" brand says, "you are a smart, educated consumer. you like brands and love fashion. you know that i am not like them. instead of doing more with less, BUY ME!"
the only thing me thinks is a "revolution," is the fact that adbusters is changing.
if a company really wants to change the way the world works, let's not "sell out" or "buy in." let us find a new way to do business. yet, the more i think about how we can move swiftly into the future, i see that adbusters' alternatives are the only way to "safely consume" in hedonist material world.
as my mental tumblers roll, my mind is still locked into the concept that nothing has changed. if blackspot seeks to radically change the face of consumption, shouldn't they listen to Rev. Billy and the church of stop shopping or better yet, take a page of their own campaigns and educate the consumer and reduce the world's consumption?
ps - the more i touch an iphone, the more i want one. :P
for the past two years, i've had the unique honor to help participate in one of the awesomest conferences on this planet - LIFT. if you've followed my writings, you'll see that in 2006, not only did i couchsurf for the first time, but i really had no clue what i was doing in geneva. during the first LIFT, i had formulated the idea for this trip, but took it as a toung and cheek project.
fast forward a year later to feb 2007, i had come full circle - not only was i going to go around the world, but i also found myself helping the LIFT gang conduct an unconference of sorts, aka the open stage. as we muddled though workshops, long winded prose and off the cuff presentations, we survived no worse for wear.
now it's 2008 and the day LIFT starts, i will celebrate my seven month anniversary traveling around the world. (thank you for the free ticket! laurent and team LIFT, this is such an awesome gift! btw, i should also thank my father for this airline miles!)
too boot, bread and butter (the awesomist organizers) are continuing on their social participation experimentation by hosting workshops, an open stage and are now adding organized discussions and a venture night! so instead of getting all pomp, and writing out some wild-eye "this is the way world should work" paper, i'm proposing the following workshop.
title: "how to harvest the seven chakras of the karma economy" or "how to travel the world for less than $10,000 USD" or "revolution 3.14, how we've built a karma economy"
background: on 07 july 2007, i departed new york city for a journey around the world to learn from the world. affably named "on the luck of seven" or "luck of seven." this was an open-source journey documenting free culture, social innovators and global change. for seven months, i attempted to stand on the seven contents, dive into the seven oceans, and contemplate seven topics of freedom on $7,777 USD. of which those $7,777 was raised by small dollar donors contribution $11.11 USD to pre-purchase a children's book detailing seven lessons learned while traveling the world. while on the way, i documented the journey through stories, photos and videos.
though hospitably, donations, mutual projects, connections and friends, our stories merged into one. as i wandered the earth, my broad shoulders bore seven topics of freedom: free culture; free and open-source software communities; couchsurfers, bloggers, fellow travelers and vloggers; agents of progressive social change; unconfrences, coworking and meetups; happenstance, and climate change. all-in-all, this is was a 21st century anthropological view of the personalities in physical / digital world we cohabit.
for the first thirty mins, we will play an amazing game meeting fellow workshop attendees.
for the next hour, we will ride the roller coster. first, we will start the journey describing the background and then tear into the gear, research and findings. afterward, we will turn inward go through the highs and lows details successes and failures. without a doubt, you will have a hands-on opportunity to see the nuts and bolts of a global anthropological exploration.
(10 min coffee, tea, cigarette break)
for the second half, we will discuss the karma economy and then break out into teams to brainstorm the creation of new organizations or plan luck of seven season #2. <- it's totally up to the audience ;)
(ps, i'm still working the "this is the way world should work" paper.)
"necessity is the mother of taking chances." - mark twain
(my shorter poetic version of this post was destroyed by a horrible binary accident were a few ones collied with a few zeros. normally this wouldn't be an issue, except when you're using beta software. this is now published in two parts. this is part one. video and photos will be forthcoming.)
sometimes there is a necessity to climb a mountain. sometimes that same necessity bears the most unusual fruit.
on day 190, i woke up at 6 am and edited videos. as 18h30 (6.30 pm) chimed in my mental koo-koo clock. i knew i was late. all day long, i had monitored reports of areolinas argentina's from fellow travelers. being at the end of the world, and only coming across one other traveler who would departing 30 mins before myself, there was nothing to note. as the phantom pendulum swayed, rumor wafted of crippling strike.
despite the fact i spent the previous day on the side of mountain, sprinting down two flights of stairs with 60kg of luggage was the most dangerous act of my entire ushuaian adventure. second to this sprint, was the fact i should have been at the airport one hour before my departure. racing through the crowed streets of ushuaia, emilo, my driver (the owner of the freestyle hostel) nearly picked off two undulate penguins. these penguins shared a resemblance to stunned european toursts.
as rastamax and i belted american hip hop songs, the 2006 renault, spent most of it's time on the left hand side of the road. flashing it's high beams and dodging trucks, jalopies and donkeys, the landmarks of the last month flashed before my eyes. i crossed my fingers.
arriving at the second smallest airport in the world, the three of us discovered lines winding their way from one side of the terminal to the other. i did not know that this convention of bewilderment, would be the first of 70 hours of waiting.
after an hour and a half of three lines and an extra hour sorting out why the plane's manifest featured one less person than sat on board, we departed for buenos aires' domestic airport. at 1 am, two fellow couchsurfers and i disembarked from the tail of the airplane and said our goodbyes.
with more uncertainty than republicans in texas, i found another renault and race car driver. for 30 minuets, we caressed the freeways of buenos aires.
arriving at the international airport, my driver sprinted back and forth looking for a luggage trolly. at 2 am, the shinny new facade of terminal A seemed calm. walking through the double sliding glass doors that bless 90% of the world's modern airports, i entered into a womb of sleeping passengers.
with several hundred people scattered about, i found no fracas. so, i found a small metal bench, i pulled out my trench coat, linked my luggage together, swung my legs ontop of my luggage and passed out. almost two hours later, i awoke to see my flight on the departure board and my checkin desk assignment. little did i know that the gates of hell were just around the corner.
starting at one end of the terminal, i walked past every check in kiosk. at the end of the hall, i found a sign that pointed me around a corner to the left. glancing to my right, stood wolves frothing at the mouth. (they really were unlicensed taxi cab drivers.) as i turned my cart to the left, i stood outside the gates of hell.
at this point there were two lines. the left was longer. it also entered a small arch and then made a sharp 90° turn. the line on the right poured endlessly into an abyss of mindless luggage carts. feeling a bit adventurous, i started my starboard navigation. like a 1980's atari game, zombiefyed passengers angling to get around the person next to them attacked me. unlike mario, dodging them was useless. i must have hit three or four carts until my nyc motorcycle skills awakened. then, i was dodging on coming / sideswiping zombie driven carts...
well that was until i hit my first foot. absconded by trash, the impact did not even phase this fallen soul. stopping in my tracks, i found myself in a sea of desperation, dashed dreams and an army of federal police. to my left, a thousand or so zombies standing in shapeless lines. to my right, families and friends camping in their own filth. this was a scene unlike any movie.
in front of the sea of people stood 20 federal police with 20 more milling in and out. behind them, 30 airport kiosks. at every other kiosk stood the remains of an Aerolineas Argentinas staff member. while my fellow glass-eyed wanna be passengers expended their last bits of sanity, i enquired "why is this happening?" no one knew.
as i approached staff members they just ushered me aside. according to the global distortion filter (USA Today, BBC News, The Canadian Press) - "it's a labor dispute." according to a comment on global voices, this was a dispute long in the making.
i bumped into some local tour guides and they said that since the 1990 privatization, aerolineas argentina has been one screwed up organization. not only is every other flight delayed by an hour or so, but every other year you'll find some portion of the airline on strike (airwise).
as i waited, a bull-horned police officer shrouded in a bullet proof vest would stand on a kiosk and announce a city and a kiosk number. within a smattering of seconds, the sound of smashing trollies were all around me. babies who were quietly annoyed, would wail as their parents and fellow passengers violently thrashed through a sea of limp limbs.
when the first plane was called out, i attempted to defend any sense of personal space. after three mins, i tucked my trolly into an artery of movement and found a quite place next to a poll. for a few hours, i stood, sat, stretched, skipped, sang, skanked, and spoke to my self. after rome, came new york. then they called out mexico city, then santiago de chile, then madrid, and then ushuaia.
one staff member reassured me that all flights for sao paulo would depart. around 6h00 (6am) a call came for sao paulo. they called for all passengers from the flights that would have departed on 10, 11, 12 to line up. three days of flights all attempting to be extricated on two planes. at that very moment, i saw the line stretch out past the gates of hell. i questioned my sanity.
if my flight was on the 13th and they were just starting to process three days of flights... i knew my chances were slim to none. with less than $150 USD in my checking account and less than $30 USD in my wallet, flying out on another airline would be impossible. with little sleep and less food in my stomach, my mind entered into survival mode. i need to find three things, food, transport and sleep.
as i calculated my options, my heart found only one. with no money to stick around for another week in BA, i rounded the corner and found the continental airlines office.
snaking my way from hell, i found a nameless door with a handwritten sign. with a swift knock, the electronic intercom buzzed "quen es?"
tired, i responded in english. within a few mins a grandmotherly looking woman opened the door. i explained my situation and she gave me a number to call. she also told me that the evening flight is full, but i could call houston and see what they could do...
with in 30 min, good news; i had a flight out of BA. the bad news, i would have to wait 40 hours for the next flight to houston.
i thought to myself, "40 hours! i can get a lot of sleep in 40 hours!" as i checked my watch it was only 10h30 on the 13 jan.
winding my way back through the gates of hell, i found my fellow zombies and told them of my departure. we wished each other "luck" and i wheeled my way out of hell.
beyond the point of exhaustion, i found an over priced sandwich, a cup of coffee for warmth (the whole departure hall was well over 25°C - 77°F) , and a beer (to knock my ass out). for the next 30 hours, i wrote down 98 lessons learned on this trip; i also finished "fearce invalids home from hot climates" by tom robins; slept; then i found another overpriced meal.
sometime around midnight, i found an air conditioning duct spewing fresh air and a cool slab of marble.
Agua from gallo1 on Vimeo. "A group of tourists requires water to the airport police, after remaining nearly one day, trapped in a Union dispute."
global voices article + video + reality distortion filter (BBC News, USA Today) + me = in houston recovering.
for now i'm licking a few wounds and trying to remember the past 3 days. more to come later... many apologies to brazil... by tomorrow afternoon, you'll have a lovely video, story and videos to boot.
"The whole world around us lay spread out like a giant relief map," he told one interviewer. "I am a lucky man. I have had a dream and it has come true, and that is not a thing that happens often to men." the last line in sir hillary's obituary by robert d. mcfadden in the IHT.
without a doubt, i too feel the same accomplishment. today, i venture back up to the glacier.
the past two days contain three ingredients - 1 tablespoon of all day encoding and editing - 1 750 cml of Argentinean wine - 2/3 victory in backgammon. as i sit, edit, and play, i am working hard to catch up on video editing. even after my scratch drive reformat, it seems that i'm filling 200 gig drives faster than i can "zadi snap" my fingers. through it all, i'm catching up on emails and poking around online for brazilian contacts.
painfully, the next few videos are more emotional than i've expected. i never would have thought that at the end of the world i would tear my soul and pour on to tape the uncertainty of life.
as my last month spins, i am at a very important crossroad. this is more important than when i started. (which you will see in two videos from now...) not only am i looking to complete the goals that i set out 12 months ago, but i am now in need of employment and shelter from the storm of poverty. my credit card bills have piled up. my roommate emailed me that my sub-let is moving out and nether she nor i can afford the apartment on our own.
while the head hits the tape, i see a few options. as an election year, i can turn to the old guard and seek my thirst on the campaign trail, OR i can do something REALLY crazy. this craziness involves turning the sum of the past 12 months, the tools and hard lessons learned into something that empowers others to do the same.
i have one simple crux. i see an intertwined world of overwhelming complexity. i see issues, arguments, problems, and overlapping thoughts. at the same time, i do not see myself cutting out one issue to fill my fix of empowering others. i do not see a single singularity, nor do i have the funds to continue. i must not give up on helping others to make our world a better place, but i must also find employment.
i've been looking at executive level positions with witness and league of young voters, but i need more options than just these two. if you know of any jobs that could use a suave boy like me, please send out a contact... my ears are open.
registration for barcamp bangkok is now open! that's right, after a long and winding road, thailand will have their first barcamp this month. apparently, the social lubricants provided by sugree, patipat and sira lubricated enough info out of my head for them to go full tilt. too bad, i will only be there in spirt! goodluck gang!
feeling a bit down on my antarctic prospects, sebastian and rasta max hooked me up with a small barter. for 8 hours i would be forced to sit in the front seat of a land rover to video one of ushuaia's best 4 x 4 tours. running around in the back woods, nunatak adventure took us to the hinterlands of lake escondido for fun, sun, an amazing kickin BBQ and a whole lot of splish splashing.