if you click on the roundabout, you'll find a boatload of photos from new years...
From the morning by nick drake
it is day 13 at the end of the earth.
for the past 13 days, i've documented my story via video. so far, i've kicked out 8 videos and wake up every morning staring south at my last challenge. check out my holiday request and repost it to the rest of the world.
every door that has opened has not opened to antarctica. instead, i find myself in a small town with a few new friends and a long list of admirers. i really haven't had a day to myself, and the constant challenges have tested every level of my being. i am now up against a brick wall fighting through negative thoughts and working hard to keep my spirt up.
i have made it to the end of the earth and very few make it past this point. as of today, it is unlikely that i will find a commercial voyage that i can barter. despite that everyone says the same thing - i will not give up holding up my sign - "will work for antarctica." i know there are still untested door knobs (or if you are on a boat, latches). nonetheless, it's time to explore the last foreseeable option.
voyaging on a cruse is not cheap. if you make it to ushuaia, a last min ticket costs in the vicinity of $7,000 USD. fuel will cost another $200 USD, and then one is forced to purchase emergency medical and evacuation insurance at $200 USD. with taxes and jazz, i'm looking at almost $8,000 USD.
i have traveled around the world on the trust and hospitality of the world! i have traveled to the end of the earth exploring our social networks. i have placed my life into the hands of the internet, and you have carried me to the end of the earth. no longer is this one man's dream; i know the world is watching.
by the end of next year, i promise you an inspiring movie that will rock your socks and bring you to tears. if you contribute, i promise you a children's book. i promise your faith, your trust, your love will be rewarded! just as the world has given me it's love, all content will be given freely for the world to view. i have trusted the world and together we stand strong.
i know to some it might sound absurd to make it to the end of the earth and not try what i've tried all along... so i'm going to do what i've done best: asking you, mr and ms internet to help. so here's kick... link to chipin widget for $8000. if you have the chance to give, please do... if you are a corporation and want to sponsor the rest of the journey, feel free... contact me.
if you have cruse contacts or an ace up your sleeve, help a brother out. :)
ps - if you feel that this is a frivilous cause and one shouldn't spend a single cent on this exploration - consider contributing to Alive in Baghdad (community journalism) or The Frozen Pea Fund (breast cancer awareness).
in many ways i feel that i should retitle this journey as "the luck of seven - the re-education of noneck." in reality, it's more discovery than education. when i departed NYC, there was a blank screen with ideas to note, places to walk and face to see.
with 11 days till my six month anniversary of departure, i know these few weeks in ushuaia are just the start. coddled by my global family of geeks, the end of the world features no wikipedia entry, no bulletin board, no hospitality club of wayward transportation. the step from here to the last continent is going to be rough (and of my own decision).
out of all the antarctic travelers whom i met, there's not a single one who hasn't paid less that $4,000 USD in transportation costs (and that's just the boat and hotels here in Ushuaia). while deep down i know there is another way, i know that it won't be easy. the lonely planet guide to boat hitching is clean and simple - don your largest smile, grab some cash, go to the water front and wait.
with temperatures hovering up and down in the 50°s (teens°C) and the wet weather less than perfect, i've been reluctant to be brass. short of donning a skimpy cocktail dress and hitting up every tourist bar, i've scratched every possible option only to find no easy winning number.
as i've pondered these externalities, i've internalized a few of them and wonder where is my ushuaia? if my future idealist vision of the world is antarctica, what part of civilization is closest to it. granted there's a bunch of hard work between here and there, but where do i find that port city that has the most opportunities?
when this trip is over, i'll be living in and out of houston, tx to be with the 8th wonder of my world. when this trip is over and for the next year, i have a long walk back to humanity - i'll work on the two luck of seven books, a movie and finding funding for the three. while my physical placement might be temporary, dr. miggy and i will spend the next year researching our next port of call.
after everything i've seen, touched, smelled and tasted, i can not give up finding the illustrious seventh continent.
in the days of my youth i was told what it means to be a man...
five and a half months on six continents through 19 countries - spain, ch republic, germany, belgium, UK, france, netherlands, turkey, jordan, israel, egypt, united arab emerats, india, thailand, cambodia, australia, united states, canada, and argentina...
now i've reached that age and i try to do all those things the best i can...
today, i find myself on the eve of the seventh, the last and final continent - antarctica. like most of this trip, i have no set plan of transportation. tomorrow, i will wake up just like every other day and think of a solution.
no matter how i try i find my way into the same old jam...
buried within all of us exist the ability to transcend the normality of life and do something great. to others it might seem grand, and to others extravagant, frivolous and absurd. in the end, it is up to us to make the great decision on how to proceed.
using faith and trust, tomorrow, when i wake up, i will find a solution to my most perplexing problem - how to hitchhike to antarctica.
as i sit and wait for my plane to depart buenos aries, i can't help but rekindle a situation this past week. it amplifies everything i've thought on this trip. apparently to tara hunt i am not trust worthy enough to be an admin on the coworking.info website. yeah, i know this is petty, but bare with me. i do make a good point. apparently, my ownership of the domain and admin status on the wiki doesn't amount to a hill of beans. apparently, the linking of this project on the blogroll on blog.coworking.info was unscrupulous. comically, in our conversation she sights a "community rule" where only "space owners" & "members of the trust network" can have admin access. no were on the wiki nor google group do i find any mention of such conversation... i've asked her for justification and get a different answer each time. i guess i'll just have to trust her that i'm not trust worthy.
for the past five and half months, there has only been one other incident that someone outright questioned my trust. in that situation, the howly roommate of my first hawaian host was suffering on the verge of a complete mental breakdown with issues way beyond her control and need of someone to embody the evil of her white america.
good times, bad times... you know i've had my share...
regardless of tara's or this other woman's mental health, i've placed my own mental health and faith in humanity and surfed unforseen waves of trust. i've placed my lives into countless hands and countless people have trusted me in their homes.
it will forever surprise me that about a thousand people have placed their trust in me and this exploration. i would not be here today if it wasn't for the all the contributors, hosts and guides. thank you!
if you've enjoyed the journey so far, the next three weeks will be a journey unlike any other. sitting at the bottom of the world, i will place my life into the hands of those whom i don't know. fearful i am; in humanity i trust.
lyrics in italics are from led zeppelin's good times bad times...
from dat argentinean couchsurfing party.
"Growing in numbers; Growing in speed; Can't fight the future; Can't fight what I see" - moby
there are a few things that i've been told not to do... first, don't drink too much. second, never cut your own hair. third, don't reflect until your done with the journey.
all in all, i find myself reflecting day in; day out. when you find yourself touching the world, it's kinda hard not to reflect and think about the hot sand of israel or giza, the luscious rain of mumbai and houston, the trees lined avenues of phuket and endioven, the streets of buenos aires and berlin, or the gray days of vancouver and sydney. it is hard for me to travel the world and not see the similarities.
it's super hard not to reflect when every new smiling face asks for a synopsis of what you've seen, whom you've met and what you've loved. at times it's hard to remember and at other times hard to forget everything in between the faces, scents, languages, troubled situations and figments of my imagination that seemed more real than anything you could place in front of this poor boy from the midwest.
when i left new york, i set out to embrace the world and prove or disprove the things i've seen online. i wondered if the global network of geeks were just like the network of geeks i've met in north america and europe. i wondered what sat beyond the keyboard, monitor and mouse. i wondered who would embrace the world and embrace me. on 7 july, i set out to surf the net, build a few bridges and meet my global peers.
"Efforts of lovers; Left in my mind; I sing in the reaches; We'll see what we find" - moby
as each roosts and the sun crows, i want to share with you seven things i've seen. these seven things are not the end-all, be-all, but just a start of my digestion... this list is also the start of what i'm going to call the starfish generation or generation starfish (i can't decide which sounds better)...
in the back of my mind, i want to turn this idea into a non-profit that helps build capacity for under represented communities to create their own media outlets - from workshops, unconferences, collaborative work centers, citizen journalism spaces to art, photography, stories, video, etc. - i want to focus on my attention further engaging people who share my passion of story telling while creating solutions to the world's complexities.
as i've explored before, i now see a global ecology based off the seven topics. the seven topics are open examples of a pliable solutions that can be molded to engage community and solve problems. this project (luck of seven) has shown me a unique world filled with international tribes that cut right through planet.
heath row once asked me if i see these topics as the seven new wonders of the world... and while i didn't quite understand the complexity of my own argument, i now do. when this journey started, it was an exploration of my peers and the passions we all enjoy. after five months - sleeping in homes, floors, and couches; after five months of sitting around the global dinner table; after five months of shaking hands with the internet - i now see an opportunity to organize the organizers.
every bone in my body feels the radiating wi-fi signal. located in every home, village, town, and country sits a router. together, we send and receive. together, i know we can build a feedback loop to experiment with the best and the brightest programs to revolutionize our communities to offer programs and content that know no ideological boundaries.
i have discovered that many of us are timeless, nationless, genderless, ageless, classless, homeless, and tireless. this these are the seven tenants of the starfish generation.
we consume to refute the world around us. we internalize everything we read and internationalize our thoughts.
we are globe of tribes.
slowly we are growing in numbers, we are slowly growing in pieces. frankly, no one can stop us now. we are all made of stars. (sorry, i was listing to moby...)
to be honest, i'm scared crapless to think about this passion and know that i have to do something about it... as i set out from NYC, i knew my life would change. i knew the only thing that could and would stop me would be my fears. without a doubt, every morning i wake up and fear thoughts of failure. every morning, i know if i devout the honesty of my heart i will achieve the goals set forth. your unflinching support, your trust, your kind and harsh words of critique have taken me around the world to visit our peers. without a doubt this is more than a feeling... (yeah, that's right... go find your boston vinyl and turn it up to 11! otherwise, watch this video and drool at their pimp-stashes - speaking of pimp-stash, did you know about mustaches for kids? houston's currently has a competition. why don't you?)
i <3 coworking. i've been in buenos aires for 36 hours and it seems like a life time. between victor, fernando and BA's unrelenting couchsurfers, i am nursing an bad shugar, coffee, cheep wine hangover. after a brilliant night with candles burning at both ends, i woke up to lovely sounds of construction and a flurry of voices crammed into a small garden apartment.
today, marks my second day escaping the urban sounds of construction. nestled on buenos aries' equivilant of nyc's broadway you will find a long hallway. up four flights of stairs, you'll find the most romantic coworking location in the world, cowork central. with light flowing in from every angle with my knees melt at every desk.
i bow down to victor for this lovely photo, his maté and hard work at coordinating this week's meetup! while we are drupalistas, we also want to invite all geeks for wine, beer, meat, etc... if you're in buenos aires at 18h00 (6pm) on the 13 Dec, i'd love to meet ya at "The Meeting Place" (corner Lavalle and Montevideo in Buenos Aires).
i don't know how to title this entry, let alone what to say.
my departure from houston is a mixed blessing. 55 days from now, i will arrive in nyc. 55 days from now, i will complete my journey. 55 days from now, my heart and mind will see the world like i've never seen the world before...
unlike other departures, i found something unescapable. wrapped in beauty, dipped in southern comfort, educated in the complexities of humanity's humor, i found something that will bring me to houston time and time again. 50 some odd days from now, i will embrace someone who's reaffirmed my belief in humanity's never ending quest to solve our deepest problems. like the other side of a coin, the two of us are tied to this place named earth seeking to solve the cancer that grows in all of us.
for the next 55 days, i will have a cancer that only one person can cure.
i'm sending you this message in hopes that you can help me complete this journey in a fan-tabulious manor. from the 13 - 28 i am planning on cruising the streets of Sao Paulo with options to visit Rio and the Federal District.
from the outside, brazil seems to have adopted / promoted open-source at every level of government and culture. i would love to prove this or disprove it if it is incorrect. from what i've read, it seems that everything points to the fact that brazil is the foremost adopter of open source and creative commons. with that in mind, i would love to interview people who are influential and users / benefactors of open conversations. for example, i am looking for internet cafe owners who couldn't exist without work government funding of open-source programs or teachers, educators, schools that couldn't use computers without open source.
it is important for me to gather footage that completes the full circle of open source - from a geek's passion, to government funding, to non-profit training, to an educator's use or a business owner making profit / serving the community, to a user participating in the local/global community. since i don't know Portuguese nor do i know all of the players, i hope you can help me connected the dots and help me place brazil as the keystone on this global documentary.
in the meantime, i'm also looking for couches to surf, random art events to attend and peers to meet. consider me just a one man camera crew with a framework. please use me to help you document your community and compile your story with the global story of open source and free culture.
can you help me translate this in portuguese and help me communicate with all the nodes?
as an avid drupalista, mac user and ecto fan, you'll need to make one small addition before tying all three together. it's a small modification to the .htacess file in drupal. you can find all this and more within the ecto3 forums!
(click on your favorite unfocused smile to see more photos from my time in houston. the back story to this photo is fairly remarkable. i walked into the Brazilian consulate and discovered that i had forgotten my headshots. with a point to the closest CVS over a mile and a half away, i knew that i'd never make it there and back before the visa window would close. as a buckeye, i knew microcenter as one of the first computer super stores to have fully functional products on display. located two blocks from the consulate, it was serendipity. with a quick "hello, i'm a geek traveling around the world..." mike from the printer section "demonstrated" the printer's ability to print out photos. in less than 15 mins, i was back at the console. THANK YOU MY GEEK BUDDY! YOUR RANDOM ACT OF KINDNESS SAVED MY ASS!)
today marks my fourth day in houston, tx and i already feel at home. i must thank erica o'grady, matthew wettergreen, michelle calabretta, patrick and christina kwiatkowski and the mike from microcenter. like a long distance runner, i can feel the weight of every step. i know that this run, no matter how long i'd like to extend it, must end; ever step brings me closer to the finish line. yet, somewhere over the oceans of humanity, i know what i've set out to accomplish will never end. the final jaunt between houston and new york lies the sprint of a lifetime.
while my houston adventure is shaping to involve debauchery, religious, intellectual, artistic, spiritual, social and technological adventures... my psychosis is carefully balanced between the fine line of editing 15 hours of footage and planning out the last two exploratory months.
it's important to note that the next few steps are extremely important. while my travel funds are running on fumes, i still need to balance the acquisition of tickets with the need of cash to pay for these tickets. after much research and soul searching, there are two goals i must achieve
- visit antarctica
- interview the largest open source community in south america (aka brazil)
i'm tossing in argentina for a bunch of historical, logistical, political, and coworking reasons. if you're in buenos aries, you now have a coworking facility to visit - check out Cowork Central. i know i'll be looking forward to my time.
the following is a sampling of events and/or interviews i'm looking to achieve.
Dec 15th - Jan 11, Ushwaia, Argentina
- start my hitch hike to antarctica
- christmas and new years at the bottom of the world
- interview couchsurfers
Jan 12, Buenos Aries, Argentina
- back for a night / layover
Jan 13 - 27, Sao Paulo, Brazil
- Andre Avorio, barcamp & open source evangelist.
- citizen journalists
- potentially mozy on over to brazilla or Rio to interview a bunch of government officials / business owners who use open source. (i still need contacts!!!)
Jan 28, Buenos Aries, Argentina
- one last night in Buenos Aries / layover
Jan 29, New York City, USA
- arrive in my home city and couch surf for a week before traveling to an undisclosed location to present my findings.
if you know of someone who has a couch to spare, shoot me a line...
if you're in any one of these areas and would like to meet up. please, contact me...
if you know of any cool organizations that would augment this global documentary, shoot me a line...
if you have access to a government official or educators who promote open source, hook me up...