Oaxacan Gathering of the Rainbow People

It’s been but a moonth since I left my Atlantic island of Newfoundland, from the full moon of December and the solstitial equinoxing of the days, through the passage of yuletimes, and across the threshold of the new year. For the first time in my twenty-six times around our star, I’ve been able to spend more time under the sun, the winter snows have not climbed ’round my cabin door, and the chill has been cast off in exchange for the tropics.
This snowbird exodus to warmer climates is not new to me, but unique in its setting, this time it took me across to the other point of a continent, back to a familiar home of past traveling grounds in southern Oaxaca for the Rainbow Gathering.

After two full days of traveling by car, boat, and three planes, I left a frigid Canadian land in a -15 degree cloak, to a balmy +33 tropical paradise in Huatulco. I decided to fly via a lesser known Brazilian company this time called Airprojects, who charges in Brazilian Reals, then converts through US dollars, and then the local currency of which of course my final funds were in Canadian for which I secured the flight for extremely cheap. When arriving in Huatulco airport, I was greeted by thatched grass roofs, palm stands, aromatic winds, and a pleasant light. It was far removed from the aesthetic of every industrial airport I’ve flown to. From here I haggled a deal with a taxi to drive me the hour and a half to the Zipolite playa, where I would stay the next three nights. Zipolite and its neighboring beach Mazunte are old tramping grounds of mine, where I had lived and worked for two weeks in 2015 at the Shambhala commune. It was the original accommodation on the Zipolite playa, existing before all the other modern hotels and hostels, originally from the late 60’s. Also an early ceremonial space for the Zapatistas. The owner Gloria was close friends with the famous mushroom curandera Maria Sabina. The air of the place cleaned me of past loss. Here I met with a flitting romance, a lover from Sweden, and together we would head to the Rainbow Gathering in Rincon Bonito.

First we took a collectivo through San Augustinillo, Mazunte, and San Diego, then hitch another truck to Tonameca, and finally a taxi down a long tumultuous dirt road, fording a river, and climbing steep banks. After this we hiked several kilometers in the wrong direction, and tried vainly to ask for the way to where the river met the valley. Finally we seemed to meet the village mother, and plenty of young children, she appointed four kids to lead us back to a banana plantation that we passed on the way in, and then down a trail to the house of a local named Melardo. From here we crossed through his yard, and down a slope through more banana trees, palms, corn stalks, and patches of squash, steeply down into a rift, and found the river, following upstream until the path lead to a shallow crossing. On the way, we came upon three other travelers, a Norwegian from the FuckforForest organization and two Mexicans also looking for the Rainbow Gathering. As the sun was setting we found the camp, on the other side of the river, and crossed the current to the greetings of ‘Welcome Home’ from two naked hippies on the other side. So far, so good I thought, we were just in time for the food circle.

An archaic Hopi prophecy spake of the Rainbow People long before the first gatherings took place. “There will come a day when people of all races, colors, and creeds will put aside their differences. They will come together in love, joining hands in unification, to heal the Earth and all Her children. They will move over the Earth like a great Whirling Rainbow, bringing peace, understanding and healing everywhere they go. Many creatures thought to be extinct or mythical will resurface at this time; the great trees that perished will return almost overnight. All living things will flourish, drawing sustenance from the breast of our Mother, the Earth.”

Now the Rainbow tribe lives the world over, and is re-uniting lost souls, bohemians, beatniks, hippies, nomads, and vagabonds alike. This wasn’t my first, I slept in a grandfather oak tree for one month in Hay-on-Wye, Wales in my hammock a year and a half, and gathered for one week in Gotland for the annual Ting last summer before returning to Mexico for this union. We were small, by far a more intimate gathering, encamped on the side of a hill, next to cattle pasturage, and farm land. Papayas, bananas, and oranges grew on the fringes of the river, and frail flowered orchids dipped their grassy arms in the tumbling waters. We represented several countries together with brothers and sisters coming as far as Israel, Germany, Italy, Norway, Hawai’i, and Canada. We shared two meals a day, usually a raw porridge with a melody of local fruits, eaten around the fire. Song was part of the meal, and a collective OM grounded our intentions on family and community. The magic hat, circled around after we broke our fast, and donations of a few pesos kept food in our bellies and supplied some funds for essential tools like pots, pick-ax, plates, and cooking utensils. When nature called, we dug a pit and used the African method of cleansing ourselves. Of course, sometimes this did not always work, and a few of our family fell ill from hygiene issues. On the fourth day I burned out, and my body completely shut down, not due to hygiene but for the PH of my blood. I knew going from winter to summer in one day would eventually take its toll on me. Fortunately I summoned enough strength through my condition to submerge in the cool river several times a day, maintain enough sun exposure, and eat plenty of juicy fruits.

This happened on the solstice, when the family held a drum and cacao ceremony. I managed to drag myself to the circle for a few rounds of chocolate drinking, the first a sweet brew with honey, and the next three I took a dark blend with chili. I think this healed me, because the next day I felt relieved, and back nearly to full health, after a day of restoration, making time for yoga on the river boulders, swimming, sunbathing, and fire sitting, with a morning coffee circle cleanse shared among brothers, I felt that I had fully adapted to the Central American climate. I spent the days walking barefoot around the land, learning Spanish from a beautiful senorita, trading stories, making love, and helping with the cooking in our primitive kitchen. We ate well, despite the remoteness of our camp.
Local Mayan food, some Spanish and American imports, and little processed foods, naturally vegetarian or vegan, and once even had some late night crepes in the jungle. The presence of youth in our camp kept our spirits light, and it felt comfortable to wander in the nude. Some brothers took LSD, and made music on a marimba, and we held massage sessions and a poetry workshop in mud huts that had been reclaimed by small bats. I connected to each person in a different way, but found I could relate easily on most things, on the ethics of why and how we all got here, and held a strong appreciation for Pacha Mama, who kept us all together. Rumor was passed around of a Guatemalan Rainbow gathering, and as we started to come down from the peak of our tribal unity and look to other prospects, new plans emerged.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

On Christmas eve, most of the family left for the Pacific Coast, so we followed in tow, and spent Navidad back on the playa, at the El Peyote hostel, we were fifteen now, and we feasted on fish, chicken, wine, rice, and pancakes, with sweet breads for desert, as we watched the amber sun hide beneath sea stacks swarmed by marine birds. The following day, we lined up a good deal with a local boatman to take us out to snorkel with dolphins, and so as the Rainbow family, we traveled in caravan to Puerto Angel to find our boat, and sped out towards deeper waters. Dolphins we did find, nearly a hundred of them in a school, and they used every available opportunity to show off their aeronautic skills, as well as keeping pace in front of the hull of the boat while cruising along. From the deeps, we marooned back to a private beach to dive in swells hiding elaborate coral, swordfish, and multi-colored aquafauna. This was for me, my first time wearing a snorkel, and it felt
unnatural for me, so most of the time, I opted for free diving instead. We sailed past two rock formations near the coast, resembling an Apache warrior and a Gorilla. It was probably the best 165 pesos I ever invested. By nightfall we walked the streets, as the whole town turned to a market selling handicrafts, sandals, wood-fired pizza, psychedelic art, and apparel. Some of us danced, while I stayed on the playa and read Ram Dass and swayed in my hammock. It was near impossible to sleep without getting eaten by mosquitoes however, and I was anxious to leave. Soon we would go our separate ways, and together with me Swedish lover, a brother from Israel, and another from Germany, we took an overnight bus to San Cristobal, making our final leavings from the humid coast to the mountains of Chiapas.

Personal Power

“It doesn’t matter what one reveals or what one keeps to oneself. Everything we do, everything we are, rests on our personal power. If we have enough of it, one word uttered to us might be sufficient to change the course of our lives. But if we don’t have enough personal power, the most magnificent piece of wisdom can revealed to us and that revelation won’t make a damn bit of difference.” ~Don Juan in Tales of Power

Incredibly Trippy Portraits of Famous Psychonauts by Nicolás ...

This simple utterance, also reverberated by Tim Leary in his book Exo-Psychology is a testament to the human being, or in Don Juan’s world, the perception of the sorcerer. To recognize, one’s own personal power lies in their transparency to divine energy, through the heartbeat, one’s own soul stuff. This tenet is masqueraded by many writers and spiritual thinking minds, but its gravity, and the responsibility it entails brings in a much larger reality to contemplate.

What is the most infectious and vital thing working on a human being? A parasite? a tape worm? A cancer? No. It is an idea. A single idea can be like a rapture, a thought planted in the core of the soul, deep in the neuronic pathways of the brain. This is why consciousness, somehow matters, because even with all the academic literature and books, and information, and teachings, the mind is the source, and the memory is the agent that travels back to meet the mind in the past present. Since we can not actually remember the past exactly as it was, or predict the future precisely how it will unfold into novelty, but we can travel to these places, just as we do in the physical world. Except when we go back to these familiar destinations, they are slightly different, and our memory just forms a limited map of what what, is, will, be there. Well, what is mind? In my own opinion, I think mind acts more like an antennae, tuning into, and sending these secrets truths and messages that are known, like one’s personal power realizations.ESOTERICA: CARLOS CASTANEDA VERDAD o FRAUDE

That’s why I’ve been taking some extremely perspicacious steps into the cosmic quantum fields of consciousness, and attempting to move my spirit onto a level that has for years, discouraged and kept me at bay. It is one that worries about the body second, because it transcends the basic larval bio-survival circuits; the ego territorial bondage, the adolescent imprinted culture shackles, and the domesticated human adult circuit, it is a maturation from all of these, which was seen to really erupt in the sixties with these fifth circuit beings, the yogi/hippie, and the tantric sublime. You can look at it as a scale, where the newborn recapitulates all the stages of animality, then goes through the fraktal evolutionary cycles of unfurling into the human potential, where it starts in a kind of nadir, and builds up to a zenith of full realization that you are actually greater than your own form, because you carry something called mind, and DNA. Using these tools, your ‘personal power’, you realize you are never stuck, even as a species.

Alejandro Jodorowsky said some very wise things about the cosmic repetition of individual lives, they are essentially fragile, and impartial, that your own ego is an illusion, but once you embrace the illusion you really start to live! Essentially, you break free from the illusion because you no longer have to negate it. Dreams may be seen as surreal, or ‘unreal’, but once they become lucid, they seem indistinguishable from normal waking Alejandro Jodorowsky tarot cards |life, hallucinations under entheogenic influence can be written off as delusion and psychotic behavior but when they lead to ‘real’ life revelation and impersonation of the spirit that moves through you, you’re left wondering if reality really is in as much the sacred as the profane. After all, anything ‘surreal’, is just ‘so real’, you can barely take a handle on it.

When you have personal power, you start to move, and behave in a different way altogether. It is like a state of super-conductivity, like enlightenment, because you realize that mind is also in a symbiotic relationship with physics. There must be a man, or woman for the mind to take place, and this kind of power engenders a unique opportunity to play with the world. You move into a state of this fifth dimensional noosphere, where mind has influence over power in very interesting ways. Like instant manifestation of need, and desire, and hyper-sensual stimulus that reveal knowledge and information that you would never be able to access otherwise. I know these things because I’ve traveled to those places several times, but they are not like tourist resorts where you get to put your feet up and relax that everything is taken care of for you, they are highly charged and ephemeral spaces to exist in, and it is easy to fuck it up. It’s like taking a drug, without the right set and setting and not being prepared for it, or these places on the earth that are like these global chakras, or power spots as Don Juan told Castaneda throughout his training. They are volatile, and risky, but beautiful if you do the work and know what to do when you get there. Human nature takes courage.


I think we are in a new age, one that can’t be measured or recorded, but felt. We are literally in the process of speciation, and people are changing their lives, one thought at a time. As Don Juan put it, it’s the single idea, or thoughtform that can completely bend one’s world into shape, (in the beginning was the word), can really bring one’s perception into focus. I am grounding my own realizations of personal trust, and how much I let that emanate out into the civilizations I tend to evolve in from time to time. I feel that there is too much… giveaway, too much… marketing of instant gratification, and spiritual contentment, without the work being put into it, and people are trying to jump on the fast train to hyperspace without really working on themselves and training for the leap. Now it seems we are undergoing such a rapid sense of novelty, as Mckenna predicted with his timewave theory, that the succession of change is just like a straight line, because we are making headlines everyday. We are moving so fast into a brave new world. This is what really happened in 2012, nothing dramatic and eschatological, just a build up beyond the point of return, where the record player is going 300 rpm and you can’t even enjoy the music of the cosmos anymore, or at least it seems that way. You know, where there was once a beautiful rainforest or a chaparral is the next day a plantation or a quarry.

What I want to make straight-lined here is the point that a simple thought can change one’s world, and it can be a beautiful apostasy of personal transformation, and through the gradual allowance of set ideas and memes to take hold on one’s fabric of the self, the personal power grows in relation to it, and you begin to realize that not only is reality stranger than you suppose, it’s stranger than you can suppose. Awe-fully filled with energy, momentum, and the ability to change your life on the natch. What you’ve just become is a new identity, a new person, and in a single moment of an immediate present experience, your destiny forms a new constellation in your mind’s sky, a freshly blazed trail that leads out before you into the infinity of the horizon.

(this is my 300th post on aferalspirit, perhaps a testament to the endeavor of the thinking ape. As I tentatively look back from time to time, I see where my own mind has been traveling, what ideas I formed 5 years ago, and how I have refined, but at the same time expanded almost to no limit of potential for understanding in this world, on this long strange trip I’m on, that we are all on)

Yagé Letters review

This tome is a collection of the letters between Allen Ginsberg and William S. Burroughs, who both took individual journeys down into the Amazon searching for the Vine of Spirits, although it was not called as such at the time, and known locally as Yagé. In this redux version it is split first into Burrough’s letters, followed by Ginberg’s. It is noteworthy to mention because they are some of the first published literature concerning the ayahuasca medicine, only precluded by the Ayahuasca Analogues of Jonathon Ott, and is worth a read for those psychonauts and people interested in pharmacology, anthropology, or psychedelics. In Burroughs’ letters, a rather vulgar language pervades, and aesthetes of his earlier characters come through, such as his past addiction to drugs, being a junkie, and his homosexual tendencies. A few passages, I found that must have been quite controversial to publish at the times of the first pressings, but it is about the hunt for this plant, so I will get back to that. Burroughs’ finds some of the shamans who administer the ayahuasca brew to him on several occasions, and his letters are heavily focused on the sickness he feels at the time, and the struggles of his travels, he writes fervently sometimes in a dis-coherent manner to Ginsberg for support, and seems to approach the ayahuasca in a kind of naive way at times. Ginsbergs letters on the other hand are very humble, and he writes to Burroughs like seeking help from his guru. He perhaps has the more intense and authentic experiences in my opinion with the plant.

There are some insightful takeaways from this book, for instance, the name Yagé as the plant moniker, is not the only name for Ayahuasca, in fact it can be a different plant mixture altogether, of different herbs, and is named locally according to which tribe lands it grows in. You will have to read it yourself to find out the other names, but I was able to sit through this one in 1 day, it’s not a long or exhaustive read at all and because of its nature of dealing with this still conspicuous plant, the chewy biological information is lacking. This became a cult book, and still stands as an interesting window into the early days of how Ayahuasca made its way into the western world. A must for any connoisseur of drug literature.

Nature Loves Courage, on Travel Writing, and Journalism.

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

Nature Loves courage.

any independent travel magazines, documentaries, or agents who might want to sponsor me, please contact me about assignments or travel writing and journalism opportunities at: seektherunes24@gmx.com

The Traveler’s Lull

Anyone who has put some serious mileage on their body knows already what this dread feeling is. The traveler’s lull, down time, dead days, quiet period. I’m in one of these feared and usually carefully avoided lulls in travel. Something that can’t be ratified for its reason, a traveler feels a sense of duty, a restless wanderlust for rambling. Then you run out of money, time or love, and you just come back to your old grounds, usually because it is the easiest and safest base to launch out of again. Speaking from experience, the prospects of just hanging around in another foreign county while you are trying to just get your feet, is a constant mind game, and struggle. You don’t have the luxury of more travel, because you have nothing left, and if you go searching then you will inevitably get caught tighter in the trap. At the time of writing this I find myself in old town St. Johns’, so called Canada’s forgotten coast. The cheaper living expenses are attractive if you don’t need much to get by, and it’s a way into a society of some very weathered past and people. But there is a fine balance between temperate weather, and a bad day, if you dig what I mean.

Headless Ghost of Queen's Road in St. John's. This spooky legend dates ...
Currently I have been ‘down’ for almost two months, a truth that is like vines growing over my inert body, and walls going up around my soul. My sense of space, place and time is skewed, and it is hard to put anything into perspective. Eventually, old vices and downfalls, and problems seek a way in to your countenance. Sometimes they steep in slow, so at least you can get a hand on the strangling tendrils before they get you completely. Or sometimes they are like a drip feed coffee, until the mugs overflows and burns you. The blues just gets you into such a mess some nights when all you have is your own mind and company, with no particular direction to them, just a revolving cycle of old thoughts. Its a gypsy sadness that you never really get used to and a crystallization of stasis then tends to narrow your possibilities and the sun on your horizon always seems to get a little dimmer.

You try to stave off loneliness and wonder what to do, if you’re a man, you pine for the woman of your desires, you think about the women of your past, even come to forgive the ones that hurt you most, you grow in attraction to your closest female friends because they offer a semblance of affectionate relationship, sometimes you even get desperate. Then what happens? When the animalistic tendencies dawn on your mind, you start going over the options on how to either quiet them or fulfill them or in some way move that energy into some other output. Ignoring them completely only brings them back with more fervor. For me, I’ve never found attractive the idea of casually hopping pubs, spending my last reserves on overpriced beer or whiskey to get to a state where I feel willing and probably foolish enough to seduce another intoxicated lonely companion, then with any luck, take her home, potentially end the night with temporary pleasure seeking, close your eyes to a stranger and then find out in the morning you paid more than you want to, found yourself unfulfilled by cheap lust, and find the mirror reflecting back a new and enhanced feeling of longing and craving. If you’re a woman, well, you can figure out that it’s nearly the same, add potential shame and humiliation. For this reason, I have never done this. I could never bring myself to this crossing point, but it still leaves you then holding onto the original loneliness. Well, when Shots of Nothing: Årets musikyou are off from your traveling rounds, then dating is usually the last thing you want to do, it means domesticated and stable relationships, and any real traveler knows that doesn’t work unless your partner is also a vagabond world explorer like yourself, and you just don’t find those fine folks on the internet. The need for company becomes a bitter mode of everyday reality, when a night of revelry on the town, just doesn’t cut it for you. For me, these kind of night usually end with a deep lovesickness with some candles, ephemeral company in books, and some sad old Townes van Zandt or Emmylou Harris tunes.

You start to meet the charlatans, who like to talk about their ‘travels’ to resorts and exotic countries that they paid several thousand dollars for, and experienced nothing of true authentic cultural value or interest. I don’t like running into these people, usually privileged upper middle class who have money and believe that travel is for thrill. They tend to cheapen your whole life story and experience by just supplanting your own real life adventure into their all inclusive paid laziness in another hotel in some tourist destination. They really come out of the woodwork, when you least expect it, and it is remarkably hard to find other travelers when you are not currently traveling. It is a bit disconcerting to feel like even your most valued possession, your story that is, becomes something you can no longer keep peoples attention with. These are good times for reflection of how far you have come though, even if you just tell your story to yourself, replay it through your mind in visual and sensory detail, you were there, transport your memories back to those places and feelings, and you’ll notice something peculiar sneak up in your mood. It is really good to have a partner by your side, it’s easier to travel alone then live in one place on your own, in my opinion, so this has been hard for me.

What about the trappings of money, most travelers I know dislike the system, but love having a comfortable amount of cash in their wallet, including myself. You know it will be gone eventually and it’s meant to be used, so when you earn it, you really appreciate it, you let it stream out slowly and carefully, but when you don’t have anything left, and you need a break from volunteering, then your back in the pathological world of the working class slave system. If you have good connections, you might find work in a trade that you have previous skills in, or some friends that can get you in at a local cafe, and then there is always the bondage and nefarious distractions of selling your soul for minimum wage to make it work. When there are no cows to milk, no plants to harvest, it’s too cold for cabin building, and too wet for hay making, the ground isn’t ready for trees, the farmers are all sitting back for the cold season, and you have your name in at every coffee house in town. You ask yourself, how low you might be willing to submit, and how much you can tolerate conformity. I haven’t worked a ‘normal’ job in almost 4 years myself, I’ve pretty much managed to stake out treeplanting, farming and picking work in between gigs of volunteer community or hostel work, but nonetheless, it has always been extremely hard to keep this flowing when you move location about 12-24 times a year. A stable career is just not attractive to me at the moment, and to quote McCandless ‘its a 21st century invention and I don’t want one’. When I do get pinched in these situations, I usually seek out odd jobs, but those sometimes don’t go anywhere, so I seek a happy medium, something social that will get me by, especially out of my season. Work is still the last thing you want on your mind, and sometimes even being penniless can be its own adventure.

Michael-John Phillip: Letter From Chris McCandless to Ron Franz
I am continually pursuing travel writing as a means of supplementary cashflow to my journeys, but even this field is extremely competitive, often highly commercial, shallow, and difficult if you have no talent. I am currently working with some Canadian bloggers in BC on a new travel website, a lonely planet, instagram, trip advisor fusion they called it, where I am not censored for my thoughts, edit my own pieces, and can write about just about any experience related to trips, travel, or tourism. I see a lot of dishonesty and this fast consumption type of travel as well, sadly. Though I don’t identify much with being a tourist. For fellow travelers, I advise and feel important for myself, to keep the mind sharp and the body well treated while in your down-time. I have not escaped these conditions and humble reminders, and it is easy to fall when you feel like you just need to. Let your brain be active, even if you are just reading about where you want to head next, I find authentic adventure narratives the best, some I could recommend are Shantaram, Jupiter’s Travels, and Tracks. Your mind will influence your health, and you can’t let your diet slip either. This becomes simple to lose sight of if you gather with a couple friends for a party or gathering every weekend where the food is usually of the highly processed or non-nutritious type. This will make a huge difference when you are ready to get back out in the world, trust me.

When all is said and done, it’s not an easy time, you spend your days waiting for a desperate win, and patiently biding your time, looking for a job to tumble another obstacle out of your way, constantly daydreaming about what you will do next, taking long walks in the streets or in the forest, hard to believe in yourself, and the shape your in won’t let you go. Distraction is a constant factor, and loneliness an unwanted companion, you can find a million ways to remind you how good freedom feels, but are unable to convey it to those who haven’t really felt it, and can’t seem to remember yourself sometimes. You see other people who have stayed in one place their whole lives as a bit insane, and mind-blown how they even manage to find happiness. It may take a month or two of decent luck before you have $1000 and feel rich again and escape, or you may put in some more serious time, a season or two, before setting loose, and it makes you crazy either way, trying to tap into the elusive flow of travels, adventure and experience, while experiencing your place as a literal ghost town of empty excitement, it is the wanderers lapis philosophorum indeed.

Days full of rain
Skys comin’ down again
I get so tired
Of these same old blues
Same old song
Baby, it won’t be long
‘fore I be tyin’ on
My flyin’ shoes
Flyin’ shoes
Till I be tyin’ on
My flyin’ shoes
~Townes van Zandt

Here And Now and Then

On exactly this night one year ago, I found myself in Oaxaca Juarez, central Mexico, wandering the streets like a tramp, in awe and revelry of the spectacles I saw there during the ‘Dias de Los Muertos’ rituals. Numerous illuminated altars in infrared light of multi-hqdefaultcolored candles, each symbolic of a different energy. The images of the saints being offered food, libations, and prayer. A hurry of indigenous energy down dim streets, the cacophony of Mariachi and mountain folk music beat out on marimbas, strings, and bells. Being there, drunk on dark sublime,  a bit confused, poor, excited, also wondering where I might sleep that night. Now one year later, I sit here, writing this journal, carefully stoking my fire, passively listening to some romantic music, and reflecting on the space in between. The countries I have opened my eyes to, the languages sung to my receiving ears in cultures unlike my own, the women’s hearts I have kept and loss, the love I have felt, and the depths I have sunk to seeking a way back above the sinking tide. It’s not important that we try to force experience or event into these anniversarial times, but more-so that we can recognize past life happenings as moments in time to find out where we are, where we are going, and where we have been.
Soon I will leave this cabin, and it will be yet another home that was once… then was. All somatic memory of place being transferred into a slightly altered reality of the new and novel, of the here and now. I am yet a lonely child, ignorant of the future, as we all are, scrambling to prepare for the unknown and planning for what we see on the  horizon. There are especial features of prolonged solitude brought on by living in a semi-cut off cabin. The swallowing long hours of contemplation, and mental pools that try every idle hour to yoke the unconscious to the conscious. The way the weather affects the working of the mind, and the chromo-therapy of the forest with its ruddish colors, fading hues of fall, and floating feeling of sleep in complete dark without little light pollution. The smell of  wood smoke and ash always lingers and my solar lights mark the boundaries of my porch. My skin starts to make its own oils and there is no need for constant bathing, it takes on the scent of pine sap, earth, smoke, and my own natural pheromones. You have time for simple things, and it is simple things that make me happy. The squaw and fleeting presence of a blue jay, the sunspots that cuts through the clouds, good music in my ears, an hour with a book, the warmth of the fire, and the view over the pond.

Currently I am reading Albert Hoffman’s LSD: My Problem Child, and Timothy Leary’s Exo-psychology, and an e-book on Lucid Dreaming by Dr. Laberge, and just finished reading the famed Yage Letters by Allen Ginsberg and William S. Boroughs. My private time seems to be very heady oriented, I am a bookish person, though I consciously remember to keep a balance by taking walks through the forest, observing forms, patterns, sensually experiencing the ambient sounds of nature, or the music in my cabin, and taking pleasure in enjoying good food. Routine is highly important in a domestic lifestyle, of which I have been choosing to live deliberately to accomplish the steps for my ulterior missions in life. Living intently, OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAand modifying this lifestyle to serve me, in routine, I find an efficiency, and a grounding serenity that takes pressure off the mind.

Sometimes I wonder who reads this and where? What is going through their minds, maybe having empathy from shared life experiences, or indifference, or want to know how to reach out somehow. I encourage those who feel that way to do so. I have always loved exchanging letters, patiently waiting for the next dose of communication to come in from a potential new friend. Has anyone else tried to find these points of reflections? I suppose the most obvious would be coming of age, each year recognizing personal growth, but what about personal days of some particular imprinting. For me, traveling through Mexico, with barely a peso to my name, with no destination, no particular plan, and open to try new things was a humbling and deepening of  my own subjective reality and evolving spirit. Now I find relative comfort in a shelter of my own, albeit temporarily, a familiar culture, a mission and a sense of responsibility, and I ponder, if it is worth it. Trading adventure and experience, for a sense of security and comfort. Full employment for full enjoyment. Sometimes, this is needed to re-root, and ground ourselves to our own identity, and place, but there must always be a balance. I like the idea of taking micro-adventures, whether for pleasure or for skill acquisition, thus having a stable shelter makes sense to come back to, at least for now. I continue to add wood to the flames, and think it all over again.

Reforesting Eastern Australia

There are some folks who are able to live without money, (rare) and even travel through the world without existing on the monetary system. This has always been a dream for me, but not really realistic or at least too far ahead still yet for my capabilities and wisdom of how to make it happen. Fortunately, I do alright with very little, and just try to spend what I have responsibly and with good intentions. As I see how money can corrupt and is it at the roots of most world issues, and it is tempting to leave it, but it can be daunting. I usually rely an the old codes of gift economy, exchanging my gifts for monetary support, volunteering my service, trading systems, and funding. It is a humble lifestyle without excess and luxury that doesn’t always work, and I am still figuring out the mechanics of it all. This brings me to something I have been putting into the works since February…
I’m trying to move from this island (Newfoundland) before the winter hits to go plant trees in Eastern Australia. This is my next big project and I can’t do it alone. I’ve created a fund for anyone who would love to help me. It is hard enough finding work in my own country, as the farming and fishing season is over, and the building year is coming to end. All visas are in place to move to Australia to work with the folks at Timberwolf. Help me in this mission, and support something larger than myself, an effort to bring back native animal habitat and large forest in the surroundings of Brisbane, Melbourne, Sydney and New South Wales.

The Mission: Travel to Eastern Australia to restore natural forest and create native habitat in both rural and urban areas through large scale reforestation, private land and landscaping.

What for: Any money raised from this will go toward the project. The flight from Canada to Australia, basic hostel accomodations, forestry gear, field specific training, and transportation costs. I am looking to make this happen with a start date during the Australia summer (December-February)

Where: Queensland territory:  New South Wales, Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne.

Why: Finding public and community support to back me on this objective for planting thousands of trees to restore the balance of a healthy ecological function to Eastern Australia. To help me on my way to complete this job to return beauty to the country, and green spaces to the city, and in the process building a new sustainable example for commercial forestry.

I plan on spending up to 6 months in Australia on this project, in order to plant enough trees to make a noticeable difference. Using modern Canadian tree planting techniques, it is possible to plant 2000-4000 seedlings per day. It is non-invasive to the environment and does  not require heavy machinery, or destructive techniques that disturb animal habitation. Instead it is a smart, efficient, and non-confrontational method of planting, using only a shovel, bags, and fertilizer. I can not do this alone, and seek the donations of those who recognize the importance of healing damaged and exploited areas of this earth. For those who read my blog at aferalspirit.wordpress.com you are already familiar with my field of work in permaculture, rewilding and bringing forests back, as well as my documentation of indiginous peoples from my travels.

I don’t want to just ask for money without giving anything back, and I want to give people the possibility of supporting me if they feel they want to. I will be making a textually narrated photo album with selections from my latest travels, and stories in the coming months to provide to those who would like to own one. I have always wanted to put one of these together, and possibly in the future I can self publish it.

If you like what I’m doing with my life, what I write about, or if I inspire your dreams to come alive, to travel, to take an adventure or you just enjoy reading about my adventures, your energies, thoughts and donations are extremely valued to me.

$10 I will have your name on a personal honor page on my blog of contributors
$50 I will write a personal email to you and mention on blog of contributors
$100 personal email, mention on blog, letters of progress from the work, and digital version of ‘photostory’ album
$200 personal email, mention on blog, letters of progress from the work, photos of the land, & digital version of ‘photostory’ album from travels
$500 personal email, mention on blog, letters of progress, photos from the land, & digital version of ‘photostory’ album from travels, and a handmade gift

I am interested to get involved with travel and culture magazines out there who may want to support this journey too! And I am always happy to hear from you with feedback, insights, or recommendations of places I see myself traveling to next, namely Australia.

Here is a story from a fellow world traveler who wrote and made a video about his tree planting experience in Tumut, Australia, and the link below to my ‘gofundme’page.

Re:wild Eastern Australia

Australia: The hardest job in the world

The Reservation

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIt’s been about two weeks now at the cabin, and it is growing on me, even though I know I will probably only have it for a month. After I leave, someone elses energies will mingle in this space, a different fire will be burned in the hearth, maybe more efficient than my own, new foods will stock the fridge, and the aromas will linger into the wood grain. I think about all the sentimental aspects of cabin living, usually, silence and solitude, sometimes the company of a few friends. Within these walls are more than furniture, there are memories that go beyond this solitary hut, to all other dwelling places I have chosen to inhabit, visited, or spent a night in along the way. As another traveling writer friend of mine wrote about mileage, they are times-stamps of memories, and the most permanent aspects that have importance.

I feel that I could view the history of places I’ve slept and lived on like a timeline going back in a line, one that would number over 100 strong in the past 4 years. Often these places take on behaviors and energies of their own, or aptly titled names. My Icelandic cabin ‘Hvammur’ had a name meaning something like ‘by the Bay’. The abandoned pick up truck with no axles I slept in while picking apples in Nova Scotia was dubbed the ‘whiskey bandit’ because I used to drink fireball before sleep to keep my blood warm,
as the frost would cover the windows in the morning and create quite the chill. In Vermont, a Faroese style cabin held the moniker of the ‘Hyggelig Hytte’ or cozy cabin, in Norse. When thinking I wanted to christen this cabin with a name, instantly ‘The Reservation’ came to mind. There was already some signage on the gate with ‘The Living End’ which I thought too dystopian, but The Reservation rather exemplifies the metaphysics of this cabin. Semi-off grid, no running water, no indoor anything, just an outhouse and a chemical toilet, not fully adequate for winter quarters because of insulation, located in a rather wealthy area, but situated down a dirt road from said urban affluence, in a large wooded land in various states of disregard, cut down, neglect and development. Yes, it has its downfalls, and I think Trump would probably knock it to the ground to build some hotel maybe, because it doesn’t match the rest of the houses. The Reservation stands for the free land, where animals can still roam, and the human being can focus on the being part of human. But even on the Reservation, there are limitations.

Image result for native reservation
The reservations are plots of land given to the First Nations where they are allowed to carry out restrictive cultural practices, and community lifestyles. But they are not adequate for living off the land, there is little to no big game, no wild orchards or clean water sources, and they live in a semi-primitive state. These were given  to them by the government because they didn’t want them on ‘crown’ land because it had resources like coal, uranium, gold, diamonds and copper. Thus, you either lived on the reservation with little, or were forced back into the cities with a decreased quality of LIFE.

But this is my chosen Reservation for now. I know I can not live here forever, it would not sustain me, but it is a place where I can feel the Indian spirit, through the warping colors of the trees, and the foraged earth, the shallow minnow pond, and the fresh air. If I want to make a brew, then I have to work for it, collect the twigs, and appropriate kindling for the job, throw in some birch-paper, and some moss then patiently blow on the flames, heat up the hearth and fill the pots with water, it takes about 25 minutes to get a good heat while the pots sit on the metal, then another 5 to steep the coffee in filters. I add some Quebec maple syrup, and it is a fine treat. I use it as a kind of social medicine, to take the shy edge off my persona, if I want to go to town. I tried fishing, after over a year of not being out on the water, didn’t catch anything and I think my pond is understocked. After dark, the nights are long, and lonesome. I use this time to heal my body and mind, stretching yogic routines besides a hot fire, meditation, and contemplation. I’m currently reading ‘A Walk in the Hindu Kush’, so my  mind can travel to landscapes beyond what I see out the window. Sometimes I’ll listen to an old Jazz album of Sun Ra or Pharoah Sanders, the frequencies fit will within these walls. I try to relax, and not ‘do’ much, by take time for being here, before I can’t. If I am bold enough to turn on the radio, I hear how the government is trying to dam the Muskrat Falls and river system in Labrador, and risking the safety of the water and the health of the Indigenous Innu and Nunatsiuvut. Of course, this is almost commonplace now. The program switches, and the story of young Native  Americans at the highest threat to suicide in Newfoundland. Nothing good to hear from The Reservation, what else is new. More people complaining about health care, because their medicines are not working, or the people of St. Johns voicing political and social welfare issues. I try to help, to put myself out there for service, attend the Native Friendship Centre, offer work for the community, and I don’t seem to get anywhere.
I am forced to turn the radio off again and return to here and now. The smell of woodsmoke, the howling wind, a far of croak of a raven and a sight of a whirring blue jay. The knowledge of this endtime, maybe the original moniker was more of a satire? Would these be the last places people try to eke out a living when the cities are taken back by the primordial grasses  breaking through concrete, and civilizations fail. I put on a nature documentary from Carl Sagan’s Cosmos and let him offer an opinion from beyond the grave. There are not many other worlds to talk to besides our own. I guess that’s a segway into next week. Life’s pretty rough without money, and I need to keep myself busy with something if I will ever get to Australia. I have been quietly mapping out this move since February, and I have until next July to make it happen, but I don’t want it to take that long. I sit in the cabin, thinking, watching the flames and I don’t know where I’m going next, but just know I need to wait.

Wife Hunting

In the Darwinian view, why is there any reason why we shouldn’t set parameters, and rigorously hunt for a partner in this mating game of life who not only impresses our eyes, but can offer something to the courtship that will become useful and grow. Many women have come and gone in this life, that is just the nature of modern day relationships, people are afraid of commitment, or don’t have the wisdom and spiritual patience to recognize monogamy as a worthwhile experiment. There is a balance here, but one rarely kept.
I have shared my nest with those both older and younger in age and maturity, have forged long distance relationships from oceans apart only to see them wither on the vine like rotting leaves, I have lived every sad country song of love lost, and gained only to lose it again and being kept apart from my lovers arms by interminable circumstances. I have seen beautiful goddesses work black magic and ruin their reputation, and broken women with nothing to their name emanate the purest energies of love, longing and honor. I get lost in the romantic hunt, in the forever sacrifice of being alone, and again thinking you have found a heart like yours. They are a rare breed, the girls of the past, and those I have yet to meet. Some living in their own kingdom, past their stage of opening their doors, or their legs to anyone new. Others, with a confused passion seek the thrills of free love, so called innocence, and the pleasures of the flesh.

I have learned a lot about myself, some things I didn’t want to look at, others I knew were there buried in the rubble and waiting to be cleaned off, or the revered traits I knew were latent but could never really acknowledge. Traveling through this world, by their pull of affection and desire, the women that make me me. Yet, I have lost sight of them, or at least the memories of them are what I have left, and special fragments of their existence that once was, a borrowed sweater, a coyote pelt, crystals and an iron bird, maybe a few strands of hair, or an avocado seed that we ate, carved into a pendant. These are the tangible proofs of my belonging, at least once, to her, and no other, and yet sometimes there seems to be another on the outside, waiting to come in, but when they don’t, you just fondle the items leftover, and think about the hours, days, weeks, months, a kind of force illusion.

Maybe it is that I am hard to keep up to, and this would be true. The woman of my deepest heart would need to support my mission, whatever that is, and if not share in my obsessions, then at least acknowledge them as real. So often it is about the menial substances that get in the way; money, timing, distance, law, nothing to counter the presence of true love, yet somehow like great walls of limitation. I am left wandering, wondering where to find her, on my travels? in a bar? in the countryside? on the street? online? There is always the romantic ideal, and I am one who tries to preserve such sentiments, yet there is only so much waiting a man can do. His primal nature overcomes in the end. The need to find a mate, a lover, an ally, a wife. All of these. So here I am with only a semblance of what could be, caught in all my desires and expectations. I am tired of being alone, and feeling isolated on this planet. Though I am a full person, and do not seek ‘my other half’, I hold open my hand to her who would be the counterpart to my highest self. Where there is true growth, and freedom of being all.

Cabin Days

As I once heard it said by a young Irish boy, “city life is too fast for me, I’m not clever enough to keep up”. So I feel the undeniable truth that country life is the only life I want to live. Cities are more like voluntary prisons, you can always leave them, but once you are in, with your convenient routine, and your contracted existence, you start to feel trapped.
Fortunately I have native roots from the North and was born into small fishing, mining, Indian villages in Canada for the first 7 years of my youth. You know what Robert Anton Wilson said about this first ‘circuit’ of life and the imprinting stages. Anyways I diverge. Now I am staying in a small cabin in Newfoundland, so these are my cabin days, which I so cherish and need from time to time.

There is no internet, so I write my journals from home, and bike to the nearest town to get wi-fi connection via an old railway trail that runs through a broad-leaf forest, then a gorge, and over the Manuels River Hibernia, in Conception Bay. The same rail trail runs all the way to St. Johns, and back through the island to Port-aux-Basques. I have a small stack of books to keep me company if the weather is off, or later in the evenings,
and sometimes the morning, I just find it pacifying but also engaging. I’ll stoke the fire and take the cold edge off, but there is no frost or freezing temperature yet at night. There is no running water, so it is hauled here in carboys, and there is an outhouse in the woods. I have a loft, a balcony, two beds, and a porch, a small kitchen area, a bbq and always stock the mini-fridge with healthy food and stuff dragged from the sea. I like to bring in new or exotic things that I haven’t tried or don’t eat enough of like buffalo cheese, kombucha, kefir, frog legs, and chocolate. It is modest living, the routine is slow, but I find it really efficient and the solitude is abundant. Just watching the fire, sitting by the lake, listening to old music that I love, or writing. All the things one dream of. The downsides are loneliness, excessive daydreaming, and loneliness.

I have found a lot of junk just walking in the arboreal clearings, big iron machinery from the city that might be worth something, old shacks, consumerist crap, sometimes useful items, and a lot of different mushrooms. I am actually becoming a lot more ‘mushroom conscious’ lately, just keeping an eye out for them, identifying them, understanding their role, what they are eating, collecting them. The other day I found psilocybins, amanitas, and reindeer lichens, and possibly also pine boletes though I need a brush up with some of the other edibles.

My days usually go by without stress and I always make things to keep myself busy, thinking about how to fix the fishing rods so I can catch some lake fish, walking the dirt trails and being observant to what birds live around here, watch a documentary or movie now and then, listening to my favorite country music. There is also a radio, which I have checked out, and listen to the outside, what’s going on south of the border, stuff about the election, trump, or social commentary, not that it interests me much, I don’t feel part of it. I think about distant friends, future travels, and past mistakes, then try to remedy them and move forward with making things better here and now. It’s a nice diversion, however long it lasts, maybe a month, maybe until winter, not sure really. I’m wondering who will be my first company, or if I will have any life changing experiences here, and how I can be ready to integrate them in my life.

The cabin lifestyle can be challenging but I have been a man of a cabin several times before, in Nova Scotia, Cape Breton, Vancouver Island, USA and Iceland, not to mention several other semi-primitive homesteads, so I am well acquainted with the modalities, and routine. Chop wood or be cold, gather water, learn to enjoy the silence, take lots of walks to stave off the boredom, make new hobbies and generate pastimes. Just keep yourself busy, it can be kind of isolating if one is not careful. You take high regard for your health and well being when you are living like this, without the distraction and constant infringement of noise, concrete, construction, traffic, crime, and congestion of cities. My heart beats to a different beat, I feel love that is non-personal, I open myself to new things and new experiences while partaking in the tried and true, and you get a lot of time to think things over. In the meantime I am trying to get work with the local trail maintenance group for the Manuels River and East Coast trail, or on a local hobby farm.
There is no farmers market here that I know of but I have seen stalls on the roadsides of people selling some fresh produce, or home-made goods, even right on the town roads. I want to make a few connections here, and find out what’s around. I’ll make another report when things get moving.