it's been 11 months to the day since i departed nyc, and have been told a friend has departed to another world. last night, shortly before midnight, ellen rafel became an eternal angel. in the photo above, her hand is to the left and erwin's, her husband, is on the right.
this past month's journey has been intense and an emotional roller coaster. up and down and around my heart has swung. while the month of may started in a fog of romance and trudged up to the peak of heartbreak, down into the valleys of birthdays, and onto a few loops de loops of two new jobs. now, i can see the tracks race off into the distance.
while i'll spare you the lovey dovey personal stuff - let me tell you about ellen's & erwin's birthday. since 1999, i've known Gideon Rafel-Frankel, their loving son. as the years passed, gid would always invite me to their family functions... from summers on cape cod, to weekends in NYC (when i wasn't living here), birthdays, passover, holidays, parties and the like... through all of the events, i was a witness to one of the best damn relationships i've ever seen...
now separated only by physical space, the memory of erwin and ellen and the care they demonstrated for their sons, themselves and all their friends and family has left an indelible mark on my soul. the passion she demonstrated was recognized when over 100 people jammed themselves into a tiny two bedroom penthouse apartment on the upper-west side to celebrate her last birthday.
as we sang and embraced her life, i knew ellen's glorious soul wouldn't be around too much longer. as we said our goodbyes, it became apparent to me that this family had impacted me more than most. with lessons from own family, erwin's tenacity as a refuge and ellen's love as a social worker, i set forth to see the beauty of all we can touch.
along this journey i have found something that is indescribable. something i can never articulate in words, photos nor movies. on six continents, i found this thing buried in every person who open their mouths, families, and hearts... never could i have imagined that the world is filled with so many loving people.
while i haven't been diligaent in writing about the lessions i've learned, since my return i have lived every moment knowing that my passion to make this a better planet is unexcable. the love we can share with each other is something that should never be taken for granted. the opportunities we have to change everything around us is real.
sunday, when i stand with her family and countless other souls who have been touched by her love, i know she will be with us as an eternal lesson that peace and hope are the only two things we need. you don't need to be famous, you don't need to be anyone of any material goods - just love everyone - love the unescapable and work to make it better. well all else fails, be at peace.
ellen, thank you for being one of my teachers.
as you might know, i've been twitter'n my inner most thoughts. instead of cluttering up the public space, i'm letting loose on the private space. so far, it seems that some readers have left and others have picked up the trail... as this journey unfolds, twitter is truly beholden to the best (#2) and the worst of this trip.
despite the fact i had no money in my checking account, a few days ago i tweeted a problem with my ATM card. within a few hours, i received a facebook msg from, ruby on rails evangelist / developer and nyc buddy, jeffrey ng.
apparently, the gang at eastmedia (which jeffry is a founder) was wondering "WTF" was going on with the message... i was honest and told him that i had run out money and about to start a sponsorship drive. low and behold, east media has decided to contribute $500 to the journey.
so, to the right you'll now see a little east media logo... if you're in nyc and happen to cross their paths, look them up. they are really good people.
btw, there's an anonymous donor who will be contributing $1000 for production. does anyone else think that that is fucking amazing!!! also, i'm in discussion with a few "community" based sites who are interested in contributing funds...
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as i plan out my last four months, i am not just seeking interviewees, sponsors, drivers and hosts... i am seeking out traveling companions. i have always stated this is not my journey but our journey. as i reflect on the the people whom i've encountered, i want to bring you along with me.
while i can't pay for you (heck i can barely pay for myself) i want to open the door and invite you along. i can tell you this will not be an opulent journey. the trek will be hazardous to our mental health, but i can attest there will be nothing like it in the world.
within the mix of interviewing and traveling, i want to hit the ground and traverse the ground we tread. i'm not looking for midnight buses. i'm looking for a car, van, truck, scooter, camel, elephant, moped, etc... i want the banality of road signs, maps, and gas stations. if we can remove gas stations, that would be sweeter!
AUSTRALIA - on Oct 5 i'll land in darwin. i'd like to hop into humpy doo, katherine, newcastle waters, tenant creek, alice springs, coober pedy, woomera, and into adelaide; then through victoria and melbourne, finally trekking into new south wales for sydney. this should place me right through the heart of the outback. where i can interview people, asking them how the internet has changed their life. with only 13% of the australia on broadband (and a majority of that is in the south) i want to travel through the center - walking, talking and driving around, asking people about their connectivity.
UNITED STATES - i'll land in hawaii on Oct 20 and then fly to the northwest. i'm looking to drive down along the coast through northern california, san francisco, lodi, and into los angeles. from the city of angels, we will hunt out route 66 and travel through my birthplace, loma linda, and venture east to meet friends in las vegas, new mexico, oklahoma, kansas and the plainstates. somewhere along the way, we will divert to my parents home town of dayton, ohio.
in addition to the standard work that i'm doing, i want to add a live Ustream feed. i want to bring you into the heart of luck of seven. i want you to follow every drink, contact and step... you'll get to watch me meet old friends, find new ones and see my family for thanksgiving.
SOUTH AMERICA & ANTARCTICA - i have plans. yes, i have plans to make a grand conclusion to the luck of seven. as i have always stated, i plan on making antarctica before the summer season ends.
right after thanksgiving, i'm turning south. from the southern united states, i want to hit mexico, central america and then work my way along the west coast of south america. somewhere along the way, i will find a route to antarctica and then work my way up the east coast.
out of all the journeys, i know this will be one hell of a trek. i look forward to kick earth and seeing what few get to see. i know internet will be next to non-existent, but this does not dismay my grand journey of enlightenment. with every step and fumble, i want you with me.
WANT TO GET INVOLVED?
are you an NGO working in the area? are you an startup and have grand ideas of kichy press? are you a backpacker with a pinion for excitement?
here is your opportunity! contact me and we'll turn the world on it's head.
(this is an email you will soon receive if you had subscribed to my email list... if you haven't, you need to do so ASAP...) click < http://groups.google.com/group/luckofseven >
hi, do you remember me?
i have wonderful news! today marks 60 days on the road...
AND with less than 30 days of cash left in my pocket, google has acquired me! YES, THAT'S RIGHT I AM PART OF THE GOOGLEZONE! after a long series of negotiations, prodding and more importantly, chasing google's tail... (ha, and you thought i was moving around to interview people... WRONG!). google decided that i'm worthy every penny to have an all expensed trip on them.
when i land in new delhi, i will be awash in google paraphalina (Hawaiian shirt, "high" performance underwear, fishing pants, camelpak and cheese cloth. the cheese cloth was a special request.) also, they have decided to out fit me with the most state of the art satalite/webcam system. i will soon be wired up like justin.tv streaking my naked ass from continent to continent reporting on open culture.
oh wait, was that another one of my fanciful dreams? the webcam, google clothing and cheese cloth are not true. almost being out of cash and hitting the two month mark are on spot.
in all honesty, i was sick and tired of having $30 USD enslaved from my bank account. so this message is the first message from the new luck of seven google group. you can invite friends and reply directly to me... this new and improved email list promises to be a digested version of noel's insanity, sanity, and twits...
speaking of twitts, if you are not on twitter, you are missing out on half of the story. while the blog, photos and interviews are a curated view of my life on the road... twitter is turing out to be the background on the background. sometimes you will get a dream, quote, hallucination, fear or blundering mistake... nonetheless, i have a very witty way twitter will be employed in my thunderous Dianetics styled essay, book, movie, and broadway musical.
if you aren't "following" me, then you're not following the whole story. < http://twitter.com/noneck >
finally, let's get into the meat and potatoes of my work...
i first have to thank so many here in cairo... mardini, nora younis, khalid & his family, omar, amr, alaa & mannal, all the kids at opencraft, meramees & EGLUG... oh and how can i forget happy birthday mohamed?!?
tomorrow (wed), i depart from cairo on a two hour train to alexandria. on the overnight flight to dubai, i'll sleep. on arrival (thurs), i'm going to work on editing video. thursday evening, i'll fly to mumbai and sleep in the airport. friday morning, like linus van pelt, i'll shlep to the proper terminal and fly to new delhi. somewhere around 8 am i'll finally land back in asia...
a lot of people have asked blankly what am i doing... normally, i give them a long winded answer how i'm trying to save the world with a straw hat, beard, camera and cell phone. though, in reality, i'm meeting the world's coolest people. i'm not talking about esquire, high society, nor woman's day... i'm talking honest to god/s, hard working people who don't take smoldering piles of poop from anyone.
despite the fact it's taking me longer to edit video than originally expected, and my ADD ravaged soul has problems being a one man band, i've cranked out 13 videos (6 while on the road, 1 every 10 days... not to shabby). once i land in india, get ready to shoot whiskey and watch one or two more episodes...
in the meantime, you should check out...
13 - dries, founder of the drupal project, on the history of drupal and it's community...
< http://luckofseven.com/vlog/episode13 >
12 - christophe aguiton on future coworking software and barcamp/coworking community
< http://luckofseven.com/vlog/episode_12 >
11 - dirk slater and the tactical technology collective
< http://luckofseven.com/vlog/episode_11_brighton >
10 - two american freelancers in berlin looking at coworking
09 - the history of transitions online and their work in former soviet republics
< http://luckofseven.com/episode_9_tol >
08 - my running with the bulls
< http://luckofseven.com/episode_8_running_bulls >
07/07/07 - my goodbye speech (filmed by charles hope)
< http://luckofseven.com/good_bye_toast_blog_blip_tv >
until we meet in india!
join me on a trip around the world!
quick question, does your ISP/hosting provider have a blog? while you might wonder why it's important, check out network redux's rationale for starting up a blog...
This weblog serves several purposes for our community; an inside perspective into the operations underlying common dicussions and issues on our NOC List, behind the scenes discussion on the fundamentals of managing a web hosting company, and most importantly an open door of communication to our user base.
Founded in November, 2004 — we have noted substantial improvements in our service levels as a result of multi-channeled communication with our customer base. This has taken fold via our Network Operations List, our Community driven forums, and our Wiki style FAQ.
...and here's my advice...
i'm really glad to see that you guys are starting a blog. i hope that you take the time not just to discuss the technical operation, but i also hope that you talk about the grander issues that face small businesses, the environmental impact of running a server farm, and the government regulation impacting small business/ISP/hosting companies.
i look forward to hearing more from you guys and look forward to hearing the brain dribble.
network redux should also set up a twitter account to send out updates about server status, notes to this blog, and events/things you guys like!
many thanks for being so awesome!
ps - network redux is contributing their services and host luckofseven.com
on monday, after i uploaded the iPhoneDevCamp video, my shared at dreamhost went craptastic. in complete frustration, i started sending out feelers looking for a hosting provider that loves Drupal. after emailing eric gunderson from development seed, he passed along the name of one Thomas Brenneke from networkredux.
if you have downloaded adium, imagemagick, or a fading red, you have used networkredux and did not know it! as supporters of an open source community, thomas jumped at the opportunity and has donated some rack space. over the next few days, we're going to flip the switch and move to networkredux.
THANK YOU THOMAS and NETWORKREDUX
it's funny what hunger and strong coffee can do to the mind. it's more disturbing to have a case of wine sitting behind you, lusting after your free time. low and behold, shortly after the noonish hour, FedEx appeared with my second delivery of the day. right from the michael david vineyards, i now have six bottles of seven deadly zins and six of seven heavenly chards, a t-shirt and a lovely hat! oh what zinful pleasures will come!!!