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.
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!
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...)
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.)
ekk, i know i should have had my notes from Harvard sooner, but after an hour long delay at Logan and then I mistakenly ended up on an E train with a sever personality disorder. finally, i ended up in brooklyn at three am. ugh, after an 8 hour nap, i woke to find laurent, the badass organizer of lift, had uploaded Ben Cerveny's presentation. instead of pruning and grooming my notes, i sat down and penned my conscious thoughts of Ben's metaphors...
WOOT, tomorrow, you'll get another video!
alexandra sonsino, friend, fellow lift 06 attendant and canadian citizen, has found her way to delhi for doors of perception 9. over at tasty thinking, food for thought and thoughts about food, alex and Dave Chiu are live blogging and have captured some interesting notes...
Hannu Niemien, Nokia - "The one planet economy will one day look like the internet. We will be able to have personal windmills and be able to sell the excess back to the network, its an internet-like energy architecture. Music delivery allows a direct link between the consumer and the producer of music and micro-networks get organized and bypass structures that exist now."
However nothing can replace face 2 face comms and even if we have the greatest communications, we still travel more and more instead of less. The perception hasn't been changing and we don’t see any good reason why we should not travel. Are the environment challenges enough to change this? "
Debra Solomon, artist, who's talking about "editable" architecture projects.
Sanjeez Shankar & John Vijay Abraham - Udipi, family run restaurants, where for 15 rupess you get all the rice and locally grown vegetables you can eat. Not to mention, the wait staff are all "freelancers" who get housing and food as part of their agreement to work.
André Viljoen, architect, researching urban farms in Cuba.
Naresh Narasimhan, the future of sewage?
Jimmy Wales, "Participatory: we should bring together W with other partnerships with trust networks to the problem of serach. Any propritary system limits the debate and we need to find new ways to find ways to search on the internet."
Alex Shaffen, "Everything needs to change. We inherited a broken future. We are living in the middle of an ecological nightmare. It’s affecting our everyday life. We’re stetching nature to the limit. We are now on global overshoot."
Technorati Tags: coworking, digital ecology, economy 2.0, foodie, freedom, future of cities, global change, global warming, peer to peer banking, doors of perception, social entrepreneurship, sustainable development, sustaninability
sorry for not posting sooner, but my last few days in geneva were mired with crazy weefee (how the french pronounce wifi) and dns issues that precluded me from posting. right now, i'm back in greenpoint, bklyn, laying in my bed two seconds from passing out.
i'll keep this brief and tomorrow give you a lovely little story. though i can not over state that the conversations in Switzerland are leading me down a new road of discovery. in the meantime, check out my comments from the first day at lift.
thanks to our most recent donor! Heath Row
a funny thing happened to me last night...
first, for all mac users don't even think about purchasing a samsung SC-X210L digital camcorder. those suckers use a special AVI codec that is damn near impossible to find decoders. too boot, they are piss poor in low light situations. instead of me finding a good camcorder, i'm going to just use my little pocket point and shoot and a voice recorder. i'm not adverse to using something new, i just find my self able to produce better shots. while sound isn't top notch, noise and sound tend to time shift around me.... more to come later...
while on yesterday's voyage, i met up with my old friend, lucia rollow. we traded our most recent stories while i reviewed head shots she took of me. sitting together, i tweaked. no, it wasn't some drug nor was it a hang over. instead, i was tweaking out on a cup of joe, from a cup of joe. oh lord how i was tweaking. shaking, shivering, and some what unconversational, i found some tea that suited my biochemistry a bit better.
after burning through the itch, i headed to paragon sports to find the cheapest/cold-rated sleeping bag i could find. after a 5 min reorientation with in the store, apparently the owner loves flamboyant colors and the place is always changing, i found my self in the exact same tiny-ass room, where i picked up my camel pack and the same room where my brother picked up his Timbuktu laptop/currier bag.
new york city stores are funny. sometimes you walk into a place and find a sales assistant quickly, other times you have to spar with an attendant to find the right attendant. sex, affluence, prejudge all are factors. don't be insulted, it's part of the game. after a quick discussion on who would help me, and a quicker discussion on what's on sale, adam (the third recommended assistant) cranked out a woman's sleeping bag for US$71 and he tossed in a $5 stuff sack. so apparently, this sales attendant got into a tussle with a baseball bat and his best friend.... he really didn't mind that i was purchasing a woman's light blue sleeping bag, so i didn't inquire about his propensity to get his ass kicked.
some how, instead of heading to drop off my gear, i ended up at Spuyten Duyvil. as the weather turned from humidly cold to pissing rain, i sat in at the Duyvil shooting the shit with my friends. floored in rickety wood, yellow walls, and a red tin roof, i've called the Duyvil my second home. i love the place so much, when it came time to open up a coworking space, i petition beka, from not an alternative, really hard. with a non-stop assortment of unique beers from around the world and one of the best set of taps in America, beka, who lives and works across the street, loved the idea.
low and behold, at 6pm i found my self sharing a cheese plate with beka and eric, my coworkers. in tow, drayton heirs. ironically, drayton (rimes with layton or if you're from my past, dayton) is a nick name. apparently a bad nickname that stuck like glue. sound familiar funny? what's more funny?
drayton, beka, eric and i had a long chat about the history of environmental capitalism and our mutual connections. beka and drayton first met in 2004 in the mits of the north brooklyn redevelopment debate (greenpoint / willamsburg). over the years, beka and drayton have reconnected in brooklyn and amsterdam. on his way back from Switzerland, and on his way to LA, he decided to drop by brooklyn for a bit of R and R.
while most would think this is just some boring ass story of two damn world traveling hipsters, this is where it gets weird. when we were first introduced, we couldn't pronounce each other's names. on the way, out i had to cow out of their invite to manhattan. my excuse, i'm leaving for geneva... inevitably there is the question of why... and i lay into my lift spiel...
"i'm going back to geneva to help host the best damn european technology conference; lift!"
to be honest, i've never really seen a light bulb pop up over someone's head. standing in front of me, drayton's head nearly exploded with the question, "do you know a guy name noel?"
i chuckle, and then ponder, is there another noel in nyc going from new york. cause if so, OMG! now that's weird! as my head quickly swells to deal with the complex question of two noels from new york heading to lift, drayton brings up couchsurfing.com and a post to one of the more elusive CS groups. apparently, before meeting up with beka, drayton sent me a message inquiring about a currency exchange. with 20-30 franks in his wallet, and a desire not to see a changing agent. we quickly negotiated an exchange and eliminated any notion of a second noel from nyc heading to lift.
now that i'm in geneva... it's only going to get better...
btw, flickr photos are coming soon... the wifi here at the hotel is too slow for me to upload them.
last night, during my dinner/laundry preparations i sliced open my thumb. i figured my spinach needed more dicing. carefully, i laid out the spinach on to my blue cutting board and moved the knife across the tip of my left thumb. this pain, was the warm up to news my roommate would later break.
about two hours later, my roommate comes into our apartment in her normal fashion, where she immediately falls into her bedroom. a few mins later, sabrina starts asking me about what do i plan on doing with the apartment. the verbiage while particular, was not shocking, it's how she refers to the apartment.
standing in the kitchen, separated by a skillet, she tells me that she's going to move out. when? she doesn't know. can we discuss this matter? no. she doesn't want to live with a stranger for half a year, nor does she want to go through the hassle of finding someone to live with. which i can understand, but now i'm faced with a series of questions...
- do we both move out on july 1st? (ps - i love my apartment. i really don't want that to happen.)
- should i ask her to move out early so i can find a roommate while turing around and subleasing my space a month or two later?
- do i move out and have her find a replacement roommate?
- do i sublease the entire apartment and broker a deal with the landlord?
without a doubt these are some fun questions to debate over the next few months. in the meantime, today i'm running out and purchasing a camera and a sleeping bag. tomorrow, i leave for geneva to kick around the old city before the lift conference. equipment report when i get back.