Like aged whiskey, the stories of my travels over the ages of my mid adulthood have grown in novelty, pleasure, rarity, and sometimes even believability. One of my most important and valuable possessions is a pencil, and a journal. Without these two seemingly mundane things, and a healthy mind, I would rarely be able to recall all the intimate details, the stages of growth, the works of my life, and the places I have been, in as much closely held accord, to my imagination and my memory. This blog alone has been going for over four and a half years now, and started out in my treeplanting days, when I lead a gypsy life on the roads of northern Ontario, but unlike many infamous travelers who might have been seeking something specific, I was just on a mission. I wanted to back myself with money, so I could kindle an entire lifestyle rooted in travel. And this is essentially what I am still doing, just a few months shy of four years living a nomadic world traveling life, well, when I can afford such flights of fancy.
Whenever I earn $1000, I feel rich again, the world has opened its arms to me, and I am free to wander. This kind of money would get me nowhere with a city life, after paying rent, various kinds of bills, internet, laundry, groceries, and all the unpleasantness that come with domestic living, I would be lucky to have $100 left. Sure one can find some work to do in your locality, but the fundamental questions seep in through the mind ‘full employment, or full enjoyment’? Are you happy, and what is your quality of life? Or have you traded every truth for hollow victories, every adventure for ephemeral comfort and a false sense of security? This is why I have taken my own personal oath to learn how to hack into these secrets of a traveling, engaging, cultured, intelligent, arousing, and educating lifestyle on the road (or sea, rail, air), while also earning a little coin on the side. And this is what has brought me more over the past three years especially to travel writing, and then into more public outputs in the last two months. I read with a voracious appetite, all about places I want to go, old travel accounts by the timeless personalities like; Muir, Allen Ginsberg, Thoreau, Castaneda, Ernesto Guevara, but just as much from the traveling tribe of today.
Terence McKenna, after he asked the mushroom about nature said “Nature Loves Courage”, and then asked how does Nature responded to courage “By removing obstacles”. It takes a tremendous amount of trust and bravery to do this, because you become intimately aware that the future is so uncertain. You have to sacrifice immensely, and keep sacrificing if all you have is your story, a change of clothes, some kind of documenting tool, and a few sentimental things to entertain your sanity. Tim Leary also said repeatedly” Neuro-geography, the concept that where you are, determines who you are. And the two most important things about you is the year you were born, and your zip code. Because the generation you were born into, imprints your reality mode”. The younger generation today I see is traveling a lot more, they are getting fed up with unemployment, and the dreaded university routine struggle, and taking full years away from their home soil to go explore other cultures, countries, participate in festivals, or live abroad. I have met countless individuals, roughly around my age, who are freewheeling or tramping around the world, and they all have their story, most of them write, or photograph, or use video to make footage and document their experiences. Rarely is the older generation this perspicacious in this mode of travel. Rarely do those I meet make solid plans, and if they do, they are usually only finalized the night before, or the morning of, with loose ideas of where they want to go, but the point being, they remain open and susceptible to raw experience of the felt moment of the here and now, and immediacy of authentic being in relationship to place.
For me, as I slowly kindle the flames which ideally in 1-2 years will let me travel with relative comfort, and continuity to any country, and write about my unique experiences there, have them published, and then take time to intake it all while getting paid is a dream I think is worth chasing, and one that most people only fetishize and fantasize about. This has truly been my seed mission since the beginning. I realized that I am most efficient, and most intelligent when traveling, my mood states are higher, my love is flowing, my sense of self is firmly grounded yet leaving space for cultural sensitivity to influence my growth, the personal tremors of anxiety, depression, loneliness are almost non existent, alright maybe that last one, but at least I know that if I don’t like my situation, I can change it. Of course again this all comes at cost. So how does one master this and maintain the equilibrium needed. This existential question seems to provoke a lot of overwhelming feelings, and forces you to look at your current paradigms for living now. What is your everyday occupation and how does that sit with your innermost desires? Are you doing what you love for a living, or are you serving someone else with no reward? Are your habits in line with the relevant skills and gifts you can use to interact with the world? I started taking pictures only six years ago, not a long time at all, but I think what is special about this is that I have never felt I had lost the art of doing it. The act of taking a picture the way only I could see it, or bringing a timeless view on a mundane scene, and capturing unique shots of over-photographed subjects. It’s in the doing that excites me. I have noticed this, just from not having a camera for several months, though there have been countries I have deliberately went without one, for instance in Mexico. Yet having that tool available and ready to me all the time has often sent me miles beyond my living space to find or search for something that is new and novel to me; a plant, a natural park, an animal I have not yet met, a friend. Currently I just use one of these ‘indestructible’ cameras that are freeze-proof, shock proof, sand and dust proof, and works under water or in the rain. It is compact and has served me well through, Vancouver Island, Iceland, the Scandinavian countries, and part of Europe. Co-incidentally my past incarnations of camera have broke down due to these exact reasons.
Over the past weeks I have also started writing for a new start up company called Myadzo a travel blog, that is something like a mix between tripadvisor, instagram and lonely planet, as the entrepreneur who started it described to me. You can find some of my recent posts and journal entries there, where I use the same moniker ‘aferalspirit’. To have these outlets, though I have not taken them yet to the point where I get paid. In what has taken me over three years to even build up enough consistency, reputation, and portfolio of work both in photography (journey of the seer) and written volume, namely from this blog and a personal work blog (forebears fires), I encourage others with travel writings, and photography of your journeys to take on these same prospects, in much less time. I also welcome collaboration, if we happen to be traveling together, invites to other countries to do assignments, and photography missions, or documenting some unique cultural practices. I am not into the touristy scheme that has you go around to every coffeehouse in Paris to find the best espresso, and has you rate the National art Gallery of Prague, so on and so forth. I believe these scheduled and regimented experiences of a country are cheapened, and hinder a true expressionistic and sometimes risky trip into lands unknown, which always end in such brilliant stories that no one else can replicate.
I am working on a potential travel in the Central American lands, which I am keeping pretty hushed about, because I am still unsure if I can put it together, and when I can go, but I will surely be writing as often I can about future trips in the world, as my military rucksack takes on more weathered flag patches, and my hands tire from the constant typing and penciling of my escapades, I just continue to nourish the will to keep moving, and build up a lifetime that will be remembered, and something to tell the youth of later generations, to understand what is impossible in my own being, and always seek to remember that tomorrow is truly unknown to me.
Nothing is true, everything is permitted ~ William S. Borroughs – Yage letters