my first question - where do i begin?
my first answer - from the beginning.
one year ago i left my friends, family, and everything i knew for a journey unlike any other. with close to $4000 USD in the bank and another $10,000 in credit card debt, i packed two backpacks and said "so long." now it's one year later, i now have $12,000 in credit card debt (mostly in late fees), and a just enough in my bank account to cover my ever growing list of expenses. (more on cash flow later..)
over the past year i've been a nyc taxi driver and have found myself in the company of good peeps who have invited me to make a few presentations around the world. somehow, someone liked what i did and said "give this boy a job." alas, now i am now the community manager for RemixAmerica.org and trying to understand the impact of mashups and remixes.... and if wasn't for the massive hangover i'm still working off, i'd tell you how happy i am with my level of creativity.... BUT all of that is just the most recent icing on the cake.
what i really want to so say is since my departure, i've seen a small slice of the world, and fallen in love with the endless possibilities that exist between here and there. between here and the one year anniversary of my return, you will get a recap of me and the untold story. (my arrival + 1 year will be the opening day of my documentary film.)
yah, so if this wasn't enough for you to chew on... i have a confession, the journey you saw last year wasn't the compete journey. i held back because i didn't know how to process all of my thoughts, footage and hell, i need the chance to f'ing live a little. so once i get my video camera operational, you'll start to see some new videos... i promise you a new video every week, and hopefully i can do more.
for now, here are a few pictures from the first two days...
in the grand scheme of things i've realized that no longer am i working on just a series of integrated topics, but an eco-system of systems and values. before i start tripping over myself in post-calvinesque arguments (i am in geneva till saturday), i'm struggling to iron out the complete landscape that sits beneath (or behind) the past seven months. for now let's call this an re-introduction to the luck of seven.
not only have i decided that i'll parlay the past seven months into a new media experience (children's book, a vlog reboot and movie), but i now understand the seven topics to be the basis of a strategic framework. when i first wrote down the seven topic, i had this notion that i was setting out to document the best of the best of our new world. if there was ever a cataclysm, we could use this framework to rebuild society. now more than ever, i see that this notion is not too far fetched from those ideals, but need to be crystalized into a yummy chocolate bunny for the masses.
first you'll need to understand that this is an eco-system. as established from the Wealth of Networks, this network has revolutionized all methods of production. we are sitting within the new age of mechanization. the highly organized world of central nodes are struggling to keep up with the ever adaptable biological structure called humanity. last year at this time, my brain imploded when i heard ben cerveny give a presentation on metaphors. at last year's LIFT 07, he linked technological metaphors to biological systems. one year later with several more books in my head and thousands of kilometers beneath my feet, i have a hard time seeing metaphors. i see we create networked systems in attempt to mimic the biological systems we are... granted this is a viewpoint from a high vantage point, this is the beginning of it all.
welcome to my / our new world.
as i've tried to explain countless times this is not just a basic networked system but a system of systems of systems upon systems. i know a few people are trying to ground this system in trust, kharma, love, lust, id, etc... and i have yet to discover the core of why people self subscribe to this society. maybe it is the fact that in this age you can be whom ever you want. not in the simple context that we can change our bodies, but in the fact we can adapt our brain to systems that are expressive to our own identities.
wither it's drupal or joomla, or myspace or facebook, we cling to the notion of brands because they are labels of culture we know. as far as i know brands will always exist... brands extrude reputation. how is this central to my argument? well in this world we can create any brand we want. if we know how to have a conversation, phrase an argument and use the digital / social tools; we can build anything we want... the idealist world we dream is at our finger tips.
how do these networks operate in the real space? are online values and systems transferable to the physical world?
the past seven months have not only been a journey around the world, but a journey into the internet. a journey i thought one could ever take. from one email to another, i came to the realization that my conversations things connected me through the internet. they connected me to the medium of the world.
now there are many more questions than i have answers. i can only proclaim what i've seen. i can only tell you what has happened to me and what i've touched with my own two hands...
what i have seen is a system built on the idea that the world is a free place. the world is not to be abused, robbed, raped, or pillaged... granted these things happen but in the end that is not the central activity of the world. there is giving, there is taking. there is a free and open exchange of knowledge. not everyone is willing to give up the same information that someone else has, but in the general context of things, most individuals will offer assistance when asked. sometimes, they'll give more assistance than nesscary.
when connected to an information network, the cost of entry to a global conversation diminishes. yet these acts of selflessness, greed or pride amass an unprecedented amount of knowledge and participation... this is the world we are in now. you can easily find the world's knowledge at the click of a button. wether it is right or wrong is a whole nother question, but it's there.
the more that we toyed with these spaces the more we found out that we can bring these ideas "offline" and into the physical space. egalitarian notions of software was just the beginning. from email to blogs the democratizing of information drove us to the point where we no longer needed someone to tell us how we can participate in the conversation.
if you look at the explosive growth of freelancers (some can be considered outsourcers, or out-sorcerers), you will see nothing more than an the democratizing of work. this work has always existed, this has always been the central tenet of industrialization. yet in the 21st century, this has spread forth across the globe and evolved into a multitude of ideas unheard of several years ago, BUT that doesn't mean that these elements of culture didn't exist before hand... they have always existed. some were too expensive (multimedia production); others were too obscure to discover (couchsurfing.com / global freeloaders).
when it comes to information, the merchants who raised great sums to bring us the best of the silk road no longer are needed. as the past ten years have taught us, the networks between us all shrink infinitely when we reach out. albeit it is still a costly investment, the new silk road is assessable to more. from electricity, to hardware, to communications infrastructure, to education... we are slowly whittling down the cost of access. once on the road, or as it was one called "the information super highway" we are privy to the world's infinite connections of enlightenment.
when it comes to the physical, many have realized we are no longer are we willing to deal with the limitations of a world dictated to us. if we can freely converse online, who is to limit our ability to organize physically? if we have the ability to build online, we are freely able to build upon other's words for the betterment of our collective knowledge, goods and services. for the past seven months i've been blessed to freely exchange ideas, content and build physical structures were the net benefit is the sum of all of its parts.
the world online is no more online than it is an offline activity. for the past five years i've been privy to a front seat exploration of politics, policy and products are free to change and grow as we see fit. incredibly we've openly recognized that we can not exist in an online only environment. some of us call it jelly, coworking, foocamp, unconfrences, barcamp, mashpits, meetups, devhouses, saturday houses, workshops, clubs, etc...
more and more we are coming together to physically represent the world we see online. if there isn't a physical representation, we dust off obscure solutions or build replacements for a world once dominated by a heroical structure dominated by others.
we have the power. we are the future. without a doubt, the world today is dominated by freedom. freedom to move from one system or another... from one workshop to another... from one conversation to another... from online to offline... it is now up to us to perpetuate the love of knowledge into an eternity of wisdom.
this is the wealth of networks. this is the luck of seven. we are the starfish generation!
whoa! if there were two cities that i would call a couple, it would be paris and new york. it absolutely astonishes me to look up and see a crystal clear blue sky, with a subway rubbling the ground beneath my feet and amazingly the most polite people on earth... well except for one short little man who must have separated ways with his identical twin brother... and while one terrorizes the politeness of new york, the other fines his vain in paris.
it's my last full day in paris. it's a monday. the sky is blue and the air a bit crisp. my friend lucia and her roommate are somewhere between barcelona and paris and i have two appointments and one unscheduled stop.
first i run to art-and-you.com to interview mary-noelle - beyond the crazy story that she and i share a mutual friend in nyc and discover that we share a mutual friend of a friend in geneva. mary-noelle and i talk (ie she talks and i record) about how art-and-you.com has yet to "officially" launch but is already becoming a well heeled video staple in the Parisian art community. using the fine video skills of friends, art-and-you offers a unpretentious view of art, the galleries, the styles and all the jazz one would normally spend four or five years studying. too boot, they have an online space for artists to upload images of their work to be critiqued from the global community of nobodies like you and me BUT also notable curators, artists, and people who are blessed with societies' knowledge of art.
now here's the best part and why it ties into the whole coworking tiff. art-and-you just doesn't work online, but they have the necessity for their OWN ART gallery. yeah that's right, they need a physical space for work to be displayed, events to be held, and a location to lasso their community... in my mind, it's not too far from the average plight of a normal startup or independent worker.
btw, they also have a partnership where parisian bars and pubs select from art-and-you's catalogue to add ambiance. if you like what you see online, well just run down the street and see if it suits your fancy. it's amazing that this is this a whole network to educated people in art, where to find art, and also how to collect art! currently, if you go to art-and-you's gallery, you'll find a young collector's pieces and a workshop on how to become an art collector. RAD? yah, i think so. btw, next year they're bringing this program to brooklyn!!
around 12h45, i met with mary-noelle's husband, ludoovic dardenay. sidenote, ludo's business partner in World Zhulu Corporation is in china and with my drupal buddies jacob redding and robert scales, the three will talk about drupal in china at drupalcon 08 in boston... but back to ludo's problem, first here's an excellent example of a modern technogenious. the man is bucking the french trend and working hard to start businesses. yes, that plural. apparently (i only use this word because i no longer have access to the economist report on france's markets and how they prevent startups) france has a major problem in startups. most of this has to do with labor law and taxes and the fact that people are guaranteed employment, healthcare, pensions, etc... you know, all the good things that americans so despearatly want but corperations and governments use the french example to thwart.
so ludo's got three business in the oven - the geek consultancy (aka a drupal development shop), a film production company and a restaurant - oh and he's working on a vineyard (yeah, did i mention he's french?) so ludo's problem is multifold (and i'm not talking about the two cell phones that he carries). ludo needs an insprational center where he can be connected with a community of communities and find other young startups or independents that need complementary services... the reason why he needs this "concierge" service is convoluted and maybe as an american i can just say that it is a french way of doing things. needless to say, the nature of an individual who's as a awesome as ludo no longer needs to toy with some henchmen nor a social networking shite. ludo now has a location in central paris where he can go and suss out problems or clients. the solution - la cantine - it is parisian for coworking.
after our conversation, i ran back to the subway and ran into mary-noelle (she was on her way to a meeting at ludo's office; i'm telling you this couple is mad busy. i was happy to have the few hours i had with them :* ). as my last day in paris, i had to track down the latest development of paris ideal of coworking. two weeks ago, i got a little email reminder that la cantine is open for business.
heading back to the same general direction i came from, i found myself at the same metro stop i exited to meet mary-noelle. nussled down the street from the grand boulevards metro stop, i discovered one of the thousand little side alleys of commerce. wrapped in the dusklating sunlight, i entered under a scaffolding to the ideal of many independent / freelance workers.
behind the store front glass stood none other than christophe. he appeared to be an introductory meeting of some sorts. now christophe is another one of those crazy french guys. it had been seven months since christophe and i last met. then it was a hot summer day and i was running into town and he was running to mediate some labor dispute. over multiple shots of coffee we discussed the future of coworking and his ideals of a location in paris. (see the video)
as i stood in front of the door, i hesitated to enter. i knew once i entered this threshold, i would spend a minimum of a few hours talking to people, asking questions and figuring out what does coworking mean to them. for a second, i thought i could just come back in a few mins... but my heart was racing, beads of sweat were growing. if i didn't know better, i would think this was love at first sight.
it could have been a small mirror that bounced off an upper floor window and onto a plate glass which illuminated the inside... but to me it seemed as if god sneezed light. as i walked through the front door, the cafe erupted in color. orange, green, white and black... (btw, in france black is a god given color.) while my photos provide no justice... the place is a palace
wrapped in projectors, outlets, wifi, and ample desk-space. the 11 day old facility has become a hive of parisian geek culture. according to marie noeline (i kid you not, it's another NOEL!) the space is used every night by geeks wanting to come by, hang out and hive. from drupal to wordpress, from php to ruby, from barcamp mashup to impromptu troubleshooting sessions. la cantine is the place to see and be seen.
as the training wheels are adjusted, cost of the space is variable. since the palace is managed by silicon sentier, a concierge for parisian startups, and there are partnerships with the likes of upgrade, dorkbot, orange labs, fing, city of paris, cap digital - so they are looking to cast their net far and wide. if you have a chance, drop by.
and casting the net far and wide is just what two users of the space are working on... karen and vincent are working on a traveling book series. this is not just about travelers and their stories, but the travels their stories take. if you hop on over to http://traverses-lelivre.com you'll be able to track down copies of a book that feature their own serial number and feature a series of french stories from around the world... sometime this summer, karen and vincent are going to purchase two mules and walk from portugal to the netherlands. too boot, over the summer karen is going to release a series of books she's written and a DVD of her trip where she walked from paris to istanbul and then rode a bike to Jerusalem. awesome, i think so!
with the day waning on, marie noeline found a few more mins for me and we started making lists of what she needs and what resources i knew. we talked about the coworking email list - "work at jelly" - collaborative art conferences - conflux - unconferences and the like... in the end, she kept on saying "what do you want this place to be?" if you're in paris don't pass up this opportunity, you have a free space filled with all the resources the city has to offer.
by the time the sun was below the horizon, my friend lucia came to pick me up. seriously, i felt like a kid at playschool not wanting to leave my new friends... and as lu and i were walking the front door out a group of artists were setting up an interactive floor display. this floor is installed every night for development while the artists hammer on the software... seriously, i almost did turn to my friend and said, "can we stay longer?" but alas, i just made another resolve to find a mechanic to fix my motorboat so i can come back and forth as i please.
ok, now that i look back on the past seven months and i see a about a ba-gillion and one things that i could have done different... but in the end, i'm am more happy now than i ever could have thought. i am at peace with my self and more importantly, i am at peace knowing we have much work ahead.
for those who are planning a similar exploration, i'll warn you... the hardest part of traveling the world is finding balance. it is one thing to absorb, and then there is another to complete work. yes, i do mean work. don't get me wrong, shlepping has it's payoffs but sometimes you'll find it hard to leave the safe confines of an apartment for yet another drive, walk, or exploration of the environment...
now combine that with a active campaign seeking out an angle for good content. if you're like me, after seven months you'll find it quite hard to fit the world inside of a camera, and after having a forest gump running moment, you realize that you're tired of running and you just stop... it gets even harder when you've run out of money, the weather is shitty and you are stuck in houston, tx.
two weeks have passed since the official end of my journey and i find myself at the tail end of my illness, not the subtle illness of a chest cold and/or parisian flu... but at the end of some monumental aliment that took me to the end of the darkened tunnel of love and was rescued through the hospitality of normality.
so for the last two weeks i've been a smooth rock, skipping first from houston, then into NYC - i had to reconnect with my bestest peeps/sleep in my bed, but like a good skip, they sent me sailing across the pond for yet another home coming...
many years ago when i concocted this crazy idea, i drunkly called up my airline miles and planned a little adventure to a small little city in switzerland. with the little money i had, i purchased a conference ticket and then scouted out ways to stay for free... at the advice of a friend, i found couchsurfing.com and a little technology convergence titled LIFT.
three years later, i'm on LIFT's main stage spewing my crazy idea of my global journey, hugging the world, meeting new friends and still couchsurfing.
now, for the past week and a half i've been in paris bouncing from a friend's couch (the ex-girlfriend who sent me on this journey), picking up the parisian bug, aka the illness (and when i mean illness i mean the desire to live here and i also mean a serious cold), then bouncing into the lovely arms of Dr Miggy whom i met in houston (and was making her first international voyage), and back on to my friend's couch.
during this time (that being the seven months on the road) i've languished in writing, detailing photos, and videos......and i'm just now realizing that only a third of the story is public. luckily, now that the trip is over i don't have to worry about new content, i just have to find a job and series of NYC couches to hold me off for a month... (more to come later)
so now that this journey is physically ending, i'm not gonna worry too much about NEW content. NOW the focus starts on the stories yet to be told... the 50 some odd hours of video a massed. the hundreds of pages scribbled here and there. the thousands of over exposed / underexposed photos that tell more about the people than the places... frankly, the more i think about it, the more it excites me. i now get to relive the journey from the lenses of my self, i now can be the spectator of the adventure i took, and you get to join me!
so seeing how i still haven't found an employer, i can take the liberty to say that i'm going to follow my heart and relaunch this project and look for funding on using following framework... on 07/07/08, i'll reboot the vlog and start all over again giving you weekly episodic content that combines what happened "a year ago" and what's happening now with the movie / book / luck of seven strategic framework (btw, i'm going to crystallize the seven topics into a new cagey / guru need not apply / corporate physiotherapy / "hey look, the geeks at the front of the classroom have social skilz and we're going to harvest an evolution" / < insert your witty t-shirt catch phrase here>)... so in a year's time frame (marchish 2008) all of this should parlay itself into the release of a documentary film...
just so you don't think that this is your uncle's wacky disneyland adventure where you're force fed sugar and told to sit still, this documentary will feature many "call outs" for content... for example, i want a really cool hand drawing video (a-la, make mag's weekend projects / four eyed monster) that sketches the world and colors the continents as i bounced or special effects, etc, etc, etc... in other words, a number of tasks that allow you to help fill-in the kernels of content that i can't pay to produce, nor know how....
long story short, the story is just beginning... below i've selected a few photos that since i last uploaded photos on my last day in ushuaia.
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.
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.)
Recoded: 1 - 9 aug 2007
Locations: istanbul, turkey
Tags: luck of seven, istanbul, turkey, big apple hostel
Music: (What's So Funny 'Bout) Peace, Love & Understanding - elvis costello
About: after a month of bouncing around europe, i decided to cool my jets and regroup for a week in istanbul. many thanks go out to the following - the big apple hostel crew, öznur özkurt, memhmet irdel, canan irdel, hayal pozanti, matan kaminer, gokce gunel, kenan kilictepe, andrea barker, tomas saledo, eduard trinidad, stephen warren, larz (stephen's buddy), michael the brit, and keith the american
Recoded: 28 july 2007
Locations: amsterdam, netherlands
Tags: documentary, barcamp, devhouse, roomware, amsterdam, andy smith, james burke, geekout, rober gaal, luck of seven
Music: i want you back - the jackson 5
About: imagine you're an artist and you're trying to integrate technology into spacial art. now imagine having to assimilate drivers and code for a million and one system variants. like spiderman, a group a geeks have heard your distress calls and are working on an open-source platform for you to geek out and not freak out. check out the roomwareproject.org for more information!
gwendolyn & joshua kauffman
and roomware devhouse crew
Recoded: 26 July 2007
Locations: Antwerp, Belgium
Tags: drupal, open source, linus torvalds, angela byron, history of drupal, kernel trap, inspiration, empowerment
Music: ana (captain planet remix), vieux farka touré and captainplanet
About: after much wrangling and rescheduling, dries and i finally caught up to talk about the history of drupal, his inspiration, and most importantly the empowerment of community.
on a side note, thank you OpenCraft for giving me a home to edit this video!
also, i'd like to thank dries and karlijn on their new boy and omar for his hospitality in cairo.
Recoded: 24 July 2007
Locations: Paris, France
Tags: documentary, coworking, barcamp, activist, paris, france, technology, luck of seven
Music: On the Carousel - The Hollies
About: Christophe Aguiton, Orange / France Telecom labs, lays out the plans for future coworking software. he also articulates why coworking and barcamps are so important to the nature of production and the protection of society.
Recoded: 20 July 2007
Locations: Angel, London; Brighton, England
Tags: erider, tactical technology collective, luck of seven, documentary, citizen journalism, hacktivism, non-profits, open source
Music: random band at moo.com party
About: on the worst possible day to travel, i decided it would be a smart idea to travel from london to brighton. with the tube flooded, freeway and surface trains submerged, i arrived in brighton a few hours later than expected. despite nature's attempt to thwart my meeting, dirk slater and i spent the afternoon talking about technology, hacktivism and non-profits.
Tactical Technology Collective
GRO Case Study
Circuit Rider - the global eRider community
Tech Rider Email list - http://npogroups.org/lists/info/riders-tech
Recoded: 13 July 2007
Locations: Prague, Czech Republic
Tags: tol, activism, hacktivism, new media, central asia, freedom, citizen journalism
Music: Everything's Got 'Em by Harry Nilsson
About: For the first extended stay was in Prague, where I taught a corse on new media journalism for Transitions Online. On the last day, I interviewed Jeremy Druker, Executive Director, and Evgeny Morozov, Director of New Media.
i've finally got all of my photos from istanbul and the rest of my european journey on flickr.
as i'm out skipping around planning my journey to Cairo and india, check out the montage of images.
it's been 768 hours since i departed and it's time for a bit of reflection.
first and foremost, it's been grueling.
there are many ways to think of the situation. first, one can view this as work and prepare everyday with a schedule of productivity and think that you can accomplish what needs to be done. then once you start traveling, you start to realize that all those things are hog wash....
on the other hand, now that i've started this journey. i can quickly see how this trip can quickly turn into a whole nother realm. honestly, backpackers and fellow global travelers have some really funny stories to tell. but it's better creating those stories, than actually retelling someone else's. ;) AND that's a whole nother story all together!
...before coming to istanbul, i pushed my self hard to be the man of many feats. between interviews and late night conversations, i found my self blowing quite a few mental flat tires. needless to say, that's why i haven't uploaded an interview in a week... i needed a break from both...
since the meal to end all meals, i have tried diligently to reflect on the past month, and honestly there are thousands of stories that flow once . actually, there are thousands of words to describe every second that passes. i've been torn on how to lump it all in....
it also helps that i'm at a hostel and have been wetting my chops to impress the english speaking women... but that's not the point of this self reflection... speaking of self reflection, i've lost a few inches around the waist and my shoulders and back are taught as steel. (are you listing ladies?)
as i gear up for my next round of travels, i recognize productivity comes from being able to sit someplace quite and a working electrical outlet. then again, i've been thinking of ways to tell this story via video, but without having to go through so many interviews. maybe this is where i scream and ask for a producer, editor, and camera person...
during this contemplation period, i've been thinking about how to tell my story. just two nights ago, i realized that i have a wealth of on the road stories. shortly before the teeth get longer, or the faces get uglier, the mountains taller and the rivers wider...
...before all of that, i want to think of a ways to preserve the morsel of truth and honesty. i want to tell my story before it gets lost in the mundane of the world's bitching and moaning. more importantly, i want to tell you my story before i forget. i want to tell you a story that will not lead me to edit a 30 min interview into seven minuets.
so, how do i accomplish this?
for the next few weeks, i have four goals...
1. make, my stop overs longer. i'm estimating a week in each location.
2. more on the ground research into the areas and communities i visit.
3. relax and get 8 hours of proper sleep.
4. write more.
it's been two days since i've eaten a real meal. two nights ago, i headed out with hayal pozanti and her two friends, gokce and matan. after bouncing around from a street cafe, to an open air cafe, we climbed into an elevator to a roof top cafe for a taste of traditional turkish delights and anisette. covered in yogurt and rich sauces, we dinned in blissful content.
around 1am, we strung up our sails and departed to our abodes.
after a few hours of delightful dreams, i found my self in a place like none other. surround by unspeakable horror, i struggled to pull my self from the nightmare on elm street horror into the real world.
my eyes opened, my head swelled and my mouth filled. lucky, i was able to jimmy the door open, and rock my head toward what this hostel called a toilet. needless to say, you can put the rest together.
(warning, graphic content ahead... but like that night, if i don't get it out now... you might never make it to the plot...)
every thirty minutes or so, i found myself in another unpleasant world; desiring i was not shackled to a six room dorm room with five other unhappy, i managed to make it to the bathroom.
after the first hour, i howled every imaginable curse world and drank two liters of water.
after the second hour, i debated calling an ambulance and in between the dry heaves, munched four tablets of pepto and drank another liter of water.
during the third hour, i prayed, shat my pants and with all my might extruded the three or so liters that sat unpleasantly within my system.
somewhere among all those things. something worked. something unexplainable worked. for lack of a better term a miracle...
back in 1996, a similar incident happened, sans the alcohol part. for 48 hours, i convulsed in an american university dorm room. depleted of everything, i was rushed to the emergency room and placed under 24 hour supervision.
back in 1996, my father rushed from ohio to take care me...
alone. cold. rotting in hostel more apropo to a squat. i wondered what would take care of me this time...
one of the more interesting parts of this journey has been the discussion of faith. from the jewish quarter in prague, to a brief mash-up discussion on the streets of paris, to dries and an intimate conversation about baptism, to a punk rock bar in amsterdam drinking with three dutch jews and debating Mormonism, to openly debating religion in istanbul...
faith has become a current, but my faith does not have a title, name or singular belief. when i departed, i set out not knowing what i will find, but knowing what i will change me and embolden my faith....
... but if i was to discuss religion, what faith do i espouse?
... do i say i was a catholic, because my parents baptized me when i was born?
... am i mormon because i was raised in the mormon church and know it best?
... do i say i'm i a Buddhist, since i once studied it?
... i'm not just agnostic ...
BUT what i will say... faith comes in all different shapes and colors. don't be afraid of your passions, desires and most importantly your beliefs. refuse to take the world at it's face value... prove to yourself that mind is stronger than matter. if you want to change your world... take it by the horns and run!