Tagged with reflections

Isn't Traveling Lonely?

A few months back by brother asked me - "Isn't traveling lonely?" I responded about missing family and friends and finding it hard to make new ones. But weeks later, I was still thinking about it. The traveler goes out into the world to see how others live. Do they always end up lonely and missing home? Yes, yes of course travel can be lonely. Traveling can be hopelessly lonely, especially if you stay within your shell. 

While not common, we've had our share of lonely times, which have assumed many names and faces over time. At times, we've felt the surge of culture shock - and utter frustration - when we've tried and failed to communicate and have become fed up. When we start to learn about a culture, we are familiar with the feeling of isolation by the parts we can't accept. We've ... View Post »

Perception is a crafty thing

In the first week here, while walking around in the streets, we felt our eyes tearing and burning, our nostrils itching, and our skin cooking in the sun. The smell of garbage would blow by our faces, all hot and sticky sweet. We observed on every corner rotting piles of food, fetid water, garbage, or swarms of flies like a thick blanket covering some discarded meal. Matt somehow stumbled into some poop on a walk one day, and for a few days you could see him glancing down when he placed his foot. We'll admit, in the first week, things had a raw feeling to them.

In reality, none of these things was so prevalent. But perception is a crafty thing. It amplifies new things and ignores the old. Patterns develop quickly, regardless of how much we consider change to be slow. 

Just over ... View Post »

Finding the past and the future in the present

While my folks were here, we went to visit family friends of my dad's, Lata and Parag, in Dadar. On their porch overlooking the quiet area of Dadar, with cars on the expressway whizzing by to our right, we considered the hubbub of the day. If order comes out of chaos, what will India's new order look like? Lata mentioned that the highway had actually made her neighborhood more pleasant. She said the traffic noise had subsided because people could now travel expressly (on the highway) to their destination and were not stuck in a glut of horns and diesel exhaust in front of her home.

Lata and I went on to talk about what Matt and I were doing in India. Taking off from a job, traveling, and not having 100% quantifiable goals is very strange for most Indians (and parents, sometimes). ... View Post »

Oh, the different sounds we make

In the first few weeks of being in Mumbai, we walked around saying Dhanyavad and Shukriya all the time. We'd get responses anywhere from a flurry of giggles to blank stares. Gracious people (or those used to Brits and other westerners) would respond with "Yaur Velcam." We also used, in greeting, the only other Hindi word we knew: Namaste. To which people would generally respond with "Halo" and "Bai" depending.

It wasn't until we started taking Hindi classes that it finally dawned on us that it wasn't our terrible pronunciation, but that our uses were completely inappropriate. In English, our Hindi teacher has not once said "Please," "Thank you" or any other such pleasantries. During our classes, he says "that's completely wrong," and "that's exactly right," respectively. When he wants ... View Post »

StoryGimme Shelter

There is a pretty amusing pattern we've fallen into when selecting and checking into a new hotel, cabin, bungalow, etc. On the island, it's a particularly comical process.

Most of the bungalows are made of cement with wood or bamboo "accents" (and sometimes even wood accents made of painted cement!). They are in varying states of construction, repair and disrepair (and sometimes all three).

When finding a new place to stay or observing a new road we haven't visited we always check the beachside resorts. Our little hunt goes as follows.

We drive down a paved main road on the island, then down a paved side road. As we head farther east from west or north/south from midland west coast, the pavement becomes ever narrower and cracked. As we angle downhill, maybe take a fork off ... View Story »

EssayThe wash cycle

Me 6 years ago: View Essay »

  • I wash my clothes after each wear - sweaters, t-shirts, etc; I like to wash my jeans after every 3rd or 4th wear
  • I take a shower and wash my hair once day, sometimes shower twice (gym)
  • I hate wrinkles in clothes - absolutely can not stand them
  • I have a favorite pair of everything which I generally tend to wear until it falls apart
  • I use lotions, creams and all sorts of other garbage on my face
  • I don't take care of my feet
  • I go spinning 3-4 times a week for 60-90 minutes and don't stretch much
  • I walk A LOT
  • I tend to be very picky about where I eat out and cook on the weekends
  • I shop at high end grocery stores for Organic produce
  • I shave and use deodorant and various products on my hair
  • I'm not much into meat or bread but prefer fishes and veggies and lots of cheese
  • I drink 1-3 espresso shots a day
  • I live in NYC

StoryCual Es Su Plan De Escape?

We've been warned that when you travel for long periods of time, at the end of the day you consume your home country's media like it's nobody's business.

As we have learned, this is true. The sheer volume of Western media here is amazing. There are malls dedicated to the art of pirated DVDs, selling for S/. 3 a piece, each little stand specializing in a different Hollywood genre. Oh, yea, there are some films from other countries, too.

Each cover contains elements of the real along with random names of hollywood actors and directors unrelated to the film in hand. For instance our Sherlock Holmes, which we bought to see how ridiculous the Spanish dub was, was directed by Werner Herzog and in the fine print the cast and original title are from Zombieland. Apparently Mark ... View Story »

The world feels more alive when the wind is blowing, doesn't it?

StoryI WANT SOME MORE

It's remarkable how much food teaches you about your own awareness. We had to run errands this morning because we ran out of gas for our little stove. We've been using it until we get up our cooking-only fire and want to make sure we still have it as backup. So we got in the car and rode 7 miles up the cost to Gualala (about 15 miles total). It's a podunk town but does have a decent true value and a grocery store. So we spent some time gawking in the hardware store, looking at all the gizmos and nuts and bolts that we wanted to etch in our minds in case we needed any of them in a pinch. Of course we don't want to use them, but just in case. Well, Matt etched and I sat around and moaned "are we done yet???" We got a bigger tarp and a tea pot among other things, so alls well that ends well.

... View Story »

StoryDay 4: A question of ethics

How much of what we're doing in clearing the land is necessary? We're in an interesting situation because we're living on a private homestead. Our campsite is a rectangle of compacted land at the end of a 1/4 mile logging road. At the request of the owners to make the land clear of brush for fire safety and also to make it more humanly inhabitable once we leave, we've been clearing small trees which we've used as bedding, small manzanita bushes which have been fed to the goats, lots of grass and old leaves which we've dispersed throughout the forest. We've also leveled a couple of anthills, pulled out a good many stumps, and killed our fair share of scorpions. But the question remains, how much of this is necessary? Our hosts are homesteaders, not naturalists. And so we come to our own ... View Story »