dreams are something i like remembering. flaming endlessly in a sporadic direction, images are scud missiles of the soul.
last night, i dreamt of a world where writing (all forms of writing) faced government control. in this hazy state of existence, mankind's resistance grew from dust bunnies.
long live the revolution! long live societies dustbin.
it's 7.30 am. the sun's rays are blasting through the window, prashant's domestic help is clanging away in the kitchen making tea, and i find my self singing "it's the end of the world" by R.E.M.
wim wenders' until the end of the world and R.E.M.'s it's the end of the world as we know it (and i feel fine) have captivated my soul since my youth.
it's been four days since i replaced my macbook with the paper back "skinny legs and all." if you haven't read the book, you're in for an treat. i haven't set it down and am almost done with the adventures of spoon, can o' beans, dirty sock, stick and conch. as my laptop sat in an air conditioned server room of OpenCraft, i could only wonder the stories it told the servers and computer components.
as for my journey, it seems to be physically manifesting my mental discomfort. my stomach woes while gone one day have returned. while there are many things that i could say, i will not bother you with my torment. well...
well i will say there is there is a torment i have yet to detail... the hustle. from time to time people come up to me and say "hello." as a courteous fellow, i don't like ignoring people. hell it's hard enough ignoring pour beggars with no legs, but fully capable humans who can clearly walk and talk is another thing...
when i don my straw hat, down every street i find someone saying "hello", "where you from?", "hey, come here..." it gets to the point where the stern new yorker appears, my eyes glaze, and the desire for a baseball bat emerges.
as for the knot that is developing in my brain... despite the mini-media-hit i got last week from dries' video, i need to spread the word further. i'd like for more people to know about this project. yet, since my time connected to the internet is very limited, i need your help.
it's funny to think about this trip as a ministry, but as the kind egyptian preacher sat next to me on the train to alexandria reminded me... this is a ministry. i've dedicated my life in this mission. open societies is developing to be my spiritual work. i know to most of you this might sound crazy, but i honestly feel this trip was settled in my bones long ago.
why do i say this? well, i've always held faith in the world. i've always held faith that as the human race we can solve our own problems. and like this trip, it's not an easy journey...
for now i'll keep my head down and keep plugging away. if you haven't found a good reason to tell a friend. today is as good as any other...
today, i picked up my indian visa and will depart on sept 6...
while my stomach curls in cramps, today has featured a second day laying in bed, running to the bathroom and dreaming there is an alien inside my abdomen...
shortly after the drupal presentation on saturday, a large group of us headed out to the northern most island in the nile. after a few heroine turns, we arrived at what appeared to be a chain restaurant. in a rush, i ordered their club sandwich.
thinking it was safe, i inhaled the fries and three of the four sandwich bits. for no particular reason, i found my self a bit disturbed and started pulling the sandwich apart. with the "roast beef" a bit green, i feared something wrong but shrugged off any serious concern.
that was until i woke up yesterday. barely able to move with aches all over, i knew there was something hideously wrong.
yesterday, when i re-checked into the mereemes hotel, i just didn't feel physical depleted. i felt tired of all the hoping around, language barriers, and found my self missing the connivence that comes with living in one location - a kitchen, a home cooked meal, take out, my own bathroom, toilet paper...
all of sudden these things seemed to come crashing though the door...
while i tumbled into another world. loving images of my family, friends, and past lovers floated in the air. with my body shivering with a fever i haven't felt in years, my memories became ghosts, former lovers appeared to comfort me, friends dropped by to say hello, and my mom cooked me a meal.
on the verge of my second full moon away from new york. what i ment by my twitter is that i miss all the creature comforts that i knew intimately. i miss my friends. i miss jon and val's rooftop. i miss the ability to pick up the phone to call my family. i miss walking though the doors of the local pub to see old friends...
most importantly, i miss all the loves that comforted me when i was sick...
with a dirty collar, slight taint of unshoweredness, and a backlog of stories to tell, photos to upload and episodes to publish, i've arrived at opencraft with omar. regardless of the outstanding bills of the day, today will be MAGICAL. here in cairo we will talk about drupal tuning, LAMP stack, linux, apache, MySQL, PHP, and most importantly the Drupal API.
tomorrow, i head to egypt and cross into my third continent.
it's weird to think that tomorrow might bring some new delightful ray of enlightenment, but sadly it will bring 13 hours cramped into a bus. as i write these words, i have no clue where i will be staying, nor if my egypian contacts have gotten my messages about my arrival.
nonetheless, in true form, i've gone out and done something really crazy. i've shave my head, but kept my beard. it's not your normal thing to do before heading to a country that has a love/hate relationship with the country you are in... but as i set forth on this journey, no longer am i too concerned. i know my path is vague and the journey is just part of the process.
...and haircuts are just part of the process...
now, with adylin luckle, my host in isreal...
ps - it's been 15+ years since i've let a barber touch my head...
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.
today, i venture into the unexpected.
from istanbul, i fly to amman jordan and hop on a bus to one of a handful border crossings into israel. while i could have taken a plane, my wit and fortune did not find a suitable route. after reading several other travelers entries, i do not fear the crossing nor the 6 hours or more to travel 50 miles across disputed territory.
after traveling through the west bank, i'll find my way through jerusalem to a train bound for tel aviv. by the days end, i will have traversed more security checkpoints in 24 hours than i've traversed in the past 34 days.
with my whole life wrapped around me in two bags, will i feel safe?
not one bit, i will always fear losing sight of my thoughts, dreams and tools. no dog, metal detector, security checkpoint, will make me feel safe in a world where the pursuit of liberty is masked in the search for next new phone, social tool, president, ipod, car, stove or relic.
freedom is not a tag. freedom is not a twittering digg or new application for you ponce over. freedom exists beyond the loose keys that sit beneath your fingers. freedom is what you find beyond the thunderdome most call the work place.
for the next few days, please take A photo and add it to the flickr group luck of seven and tag it "luck of seven."
the rule, you can only upload one image that best illustrates your perception of freedom. if you do not have a flickr account, point me to the URL or email me a copy of the photo...
see you in israel...
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!
i have landed prematurely in asia. originally, i thought my flight would take me into the airport on the european side, it seems my feet have wondered and have walked on asian soil.
fear not, my head lies comfortably on European soil. while the differences are minor in such a grand city as istanbul, i am now the furthest from my family, friends and what i once called home.
to be honest, what i just did was unbelievable... jumping from city to city/country to country every four days has destroyed me. it's hard to think about all the great conversations, stories, and situations by moving from one to the next.
i now hope that i can splice together a story line that is truly representative of all that i've seen.
as i sit in the cafe of my istanbul youth hostel, i know this trip wouldn't have been possible without all the great hosts and more importantly the last two great hosts, andy smith from jaiku & Nadya Peek in amsterdam and Joshua Kauffman & Gwen in eindoven. andy and nadya gave me spare keys and a huge bed to dream of a better world. joshua and gwen gave me a spectacular dinner that charged my mind and body.
one of the most unexpected benefits from this trip is seeing so many great couples. from will and sue, alex and matt, dries and karlijin, andy and nadya, joshua and gwen... i am in total awe of their love and affection, and their generosity in giving me a humble home for me lay my head.
what do you warn you about in amsterdam? the damn trolly tracks... it also didn't help that we had been bar hopping and my vision was impaired by many of the city's wonderful creatures.
after 30 mins of decompression, andy and i walked back to his humble abode. in the morning, i found a wonderful assortment of nicks, scrapes, and nearly severed thumb.
day 21's pain
day 22's pain
words can not describe the thanks i have for the hosts who have blessed me with their homes...
as i discovered on day 18, pushing hard moving from country to country at an early morning hour, not sleeping and eating sporadically doesn't bode well for mental acuteness. actually, it's a recipe for disaster. no really, it was a total disaster.
speaking of disasters, my ipod nano stopped behaving and i was forced to do a factory restore. in many ways, i was looking forward to this moment. now, i am now left with a handful of albums stored on my hard drive and ambient train contemplation.
first, let me say thank you to all of my hosts. if the rest of the trip allows me to cross paths with exceptional characters like these, then i think the world isn't too far off kilter.
in paris and out of the blue, Aurélien Tabard came to my rescue. he gave me keys to his uncle's vacant apartment, and aurélien's hospitality didn't stop there. as he cooked dinner on the first night, we discussed our displeasure of the current political march to the right and the inability for the left to act coheranetly.
though our personal history, we compared notes on activism and our frustration working within the confines of political systems. both of us agreed that the bickering has to stop and activists must diversify their work.
we both recognized the opportunities that lie within technology. if we are unable to capitalize on building a digital world as free as our physical world, we are doomed to confinement. as aurélien introduced me to his phd thesis, we analyzed the opportunities that exist in integrating technology with our day to day actions. we both agreed that our future should not compete with our day to day, but should enhance our day to day.
in the same fashion as i entered london, i depart for paris.
tired, hungry, sleep deprived and eager to find out what's next. comically, this time i have a pair of very wet underwear that has yet to dry from my last night laundry at 2 am.
though unlike london, i have now transitioned into the unknown. today, marks the longest i've traveled independently from any friends or family.
tonight, i leave berlin. in it's simple beauty, this city is just amazing. while i can't point to a single moment in time, i really like berlin.
the past three days have blessed me with an unique opportunity. not only was i able to interview three really unique individuals, but i also had the opportunity to share the house of two good friends and break bread with their new york friends.
when i departed, i was sad that my dear friends could not join me. after spending four days and three nights, i saw parts of myself i had not seen. the reflexive quality of this journey has yet to be fully understood, but knowing that a quarter an earth away reside a group of people who understand you is comforting. finding those same type of people on a random to berlin is even more comforting.
while i didn't see half of the things i should have seen as a tourist, that doesn't bother me. the time spent interviewing regine from we make money not art, dave from twittervision and travis, a budding entrapenure, couldn't have been better spent.
buried deep within the conversation with regine, dave and travis we spoke briefly about technology symbiosis, the future human cyborg, and dental care.
ok, they may seem a bit abstract, but here's the gist. long ago someone told me i was a cyborg. when you take the new oxford american dictionary "a fictional or hypothetical person whose physical abilities are extended beyond normal human limitations by mechanical elements built into the body."
then you remove "fictional or hypothetical" you can use the definition to describe someone wearing glasses, uses dialysis, takes medicine or has implants of some sort... the person we are now defining uses technology to augment their limitations.
if i asked a majority of you how you use your cell phones, 99% would say for communication. the other 1% use it for pleasure... in my mind, a cell phone, a computer, a network connection are all extensions of the human network. (editors note - yes, i know that's a cisco advertising phrase.)
that human network is alive and the connections on the digital network are also alive. too frequently to we mistake digital communications as impersonal. the advent of sony placing a camera within the confines of a laptop might have been to sell more laptops, but it eventually spurred many clones.
some may say with digital networks growing faster and ubiquitous, we have reached the dawn of a new era. i disagree, we are just moving along.
BUT at times we don't think of the consequences of this digital acceptance. my friend's at greenpeace have always made a good argument when it comes to technology. we need to be greener. we need to think about the over all consequences of the hyper connected world we participate within.
we have the power to enlighten our bad habits and explore our obscured connections. we have the power to use mechanical elements to explore the beauty of humanity and make this place better.
ok, did i really see all of that in berlin? well not really.
the long history of germany and the division between capitalists and communist was clear and present. the duality of a pacifist west and a militant east, and the subsequent rise of an east/west art war blew my mind. the fully adorned children's parks with young kids running naked and topless adults spoke of their true liberation. the formal direct language, and the cheap delicious food... all spoke to a world under construction.
what berlin presented was not another dirty megatroplis like new york, but a vision of something far better than what most americans see on a daily basis. i'm not sure who takes what for granted. in my eyes, i am ashamed to know of a pedestal where "liberty" is valued but you can't have more than 49 people assemble in one location.
oh how i could go on about the liberty of americans, but that would be self defeating right now. many more questions are festering and i'm about to be heading to a country that has more networked cameras per square mile than broadband... or something like that....