Tuesday, June 10, 2008
I love it. Every sweat driblet. Sure, the James River would be nicer if it was actually cool, not so near the same temperature as the air. I guess that's what happens when it is so low. But nevertheless I could grow really used to living like this. And the evenings surpass pleasant. They're downright grand.
Now mid day I am still not apt to go for a jog or anything, and the shade, at that time is definitely preferable than the sun light. Yet the shade is entirely bearable, and while the rest of my family is sheltered in the dehumidified carbon intensive interior air of the townhouse, I will most likely
be found swinging on the porch swing reading a book, soaking up my environment and very content to do so.
Winter is miserable. No matter how pretty a coating of snow can be, I hate it. I hate being stuck inside.
Even California winters are too cold for me, I now realize. I like being half naked, barefoot, and warm. Perhaps my thyroid is sensitive or something but after a week of overcast skies I feel seriously lacking, like mother earth has robbed my of my UV prosac, upon which I have developed a thorough dependency.
Monday, June 9, 2008
Now in Richmond, among the quaint buildings and scrunched together streets. It seems as thought there is a higher ratio of occupied space to streets here than there is in most West Coast cities. Everything just seems closer together. I like it.
I read in a book about Bangkok that that city is 16% streets to occupied space, London 24% and New York 32% give or take. L.A. must be 40% I'm guessing.
I am very interested in traveling anywhere where there is less space occupied by cars and more foot traffic. In regards to Bangkok, that would mean Sois, very small streets with little room for cars. Of course, pedestrian malls are always nice too, but at least on a small street, even if cars are allowed, everything is much more intimate and one can actually see the people across the street well, rather than a sea of cars monopolizing the entire landscape.
Here in Richmond things are very nice. I escaped the rain and gloom of Seattle, for which my threshold reduces seemingly by the year. This spring in particular has been lacking in clear sunny days. I am simply not cut our for being stuck indoors all day every day, as my hyperactivity is severe.
There is a river, the James, running directly through town here in Richmond. Apparently it has been cleaned up in recent years and it is fine to swim in. My cousins and I went there yesterday. We all forded to the other side, Annie, the youngest at ten years, on my back holding tight, Eleanor, the second oldest to me, down river from us a ways to catch Annie in case she was pulled off of me, and Andrew and Gray taking up the perimeter. It was a wonderful experience with nature, right in the middle of a semi large city and not far off from perfection.
Andrew at one point saw a snake in the river which I went after, Gray, our resident snake expert, having told me it was a harmless species. After I had the serpent by the tail everyone changed their song, and all of a sudden I was holding a potentially poisonous species.
"It might be a Cottonmouth!" Andrew and Gray exclaimed. I dropped it back into the water, worried that I had broken it's tail while it helicoptered in my hand.
The people here in Richmond are nice too, not all sodden and opposed to interaction as seems to be the status quo in Seattle. At one point during our wade, we came upon a rock with some beer drinking college students posted on it with a cooler, right in the middle of the entirely shallow river. We had just made our way half back from the other side to the shore where we began, and we rested there.
"There's a nice spot to jump off into right there." Said one of the guys.
"I have a paranoia of breaking a leg." I said. It was true. Strange water I am never eager to jump into without making sure it is clear of rocks and debris.
"Oh it's perfectly safe," the sole girl of their trio said matter-of-factly. "See, watch, it is plenty deep, you just need to jump in right where I do," and then she hopped in, a girl after my own heart.
After she got out she and her friends debated which exact spot was ideal to hop into. Granted, this was a whole one foot of a drop, "Not too extreme," as one of the young men mused.
I hopped in, touched the bottom, and managed not to break my leg.
Tuesday, June 3, 2008
Back out at Camp now, Monroe, Washington. Rain, rain and more rain. Yay.
Wouldn't be so bad if there was dry firewood and a covered fire pit to chill at, but the entire place is waterlogged...including the logs, and Chris, the camp director, sold the metal car port shelter that made such a nice covering to have a fire under last time I was out here three years ago.
We worked on the dock at the lake, had a few conversations about things.
Last year a few interns had left at the last moment and he was high and dry for help with camp for the summer, his counselors working over time.
"Those interns just got frustrated, they needed my attention constantly, like I was their daddy."
I wanted to sympathize with them. I too had had similar feelings the first time I had come out to camp. The way Chris' web site made it seem, he was highly organized and structured. He even professed that structure was important. How could one blame the interns for feeling gypped? Going back to the land and practicing earth skills is a difficult and trans formative process. Chris set himself up as a sort of guru to guide people on this journey then complained when his students complained about him falling short of near perfection.
My perspective is entirely different. To me, the first order of business is fire. When I am in the wilderness, at a summer camp, or just hanging out on some dudes property as is more accurate in regards to Chris' situation, I don't feel much implored to do anything until I have a nice stash of firewood.
Firewood wise, the situation at camp is abysmal. Basically it's all wet, none chopped. I find myself asking over and over, how can we have a summer camp if the only dry wood we have to burn is left over 2x4 scraps from different building projects?
That Chris is disorganized is acceptable. That he is disorganized and simultaneously seeks to establish himself as an authority is absurd. He once told me, "Teaching is about manipulation and control." Gee thanks Edward Bernays. Sure, if one wants to argue that the only way to keep throngs of people from turning on each other as if they were chickens in a crowded coup then perhaps manipulation and control of them is in order. But speak to any individual with their wits about them and they would hardly feel free to submit to such a course of action. I guess all robots should not become self aware. Maybe I should keep my anti authoritarianism to myself, as a nation of critical thinkers would be essentially leaderless.
Leadership can accomplish things much more quickly than a mass of bickering independent thinkers seeking consensus, but 90% of everything is crap, including politicians, teachers and cops. Due in part to my lack of good parental guidance, I spent much of my extended adolescence seeking that difficult to access 10% of leaders that is not in fact crap.
Back to the fire, I am all about it. Fire is my element, perhaps because I am an agent of change. Earth, wind/air, and water all change slowly. Fire can change the landscape within between minutes and hours given certain conditions. So it is a nor brainer that being in the middle of the forest, in the Pacific Northwest, during rain season, without dry firewood, is not a very comfy situation for me. I need fire like I need food.
But here I am again. It seems like all I can do is criticize. What about me? Am I immune to criticism? Well, I am a hell of a lot more immune than people who attempt to assert authority over others. And no one anywhere can challenge my pragmatism. I am more military minded than just about anyone.
"One day you're going to need to learn to accept authority Gabe." I remember Chris telling me years ago.
My only retort is, what revolution was accomplished by people who accepted authority? What significant change has occurred due to people who do not question authority? More often than not it is rebellious people that do all the leg work in progress. So I decided not to salute Chris when he asserted that I was in dire need of structure. As if he could provide it anyways.
Nevertheless Chris is a good guy and I do consider him my friend. And he deserves to have me speak my mind freely regarding my assessments of him and his authority.
Friday, May 9, 2008
Soon I stand to stack some lettuce at the Northwest Folk Life Festival. Folk Life is a gathering in Seattle that I look forward to all year because I meet up with old acquaintances, see awesome buskers, lovely ladies and all in all the winter gloom has worn off and it is a quintessential early summer experience. What I plan on doing with the money I make performing at Folk Life for my first time ever is another matter. Don Scobie, the leader of our band, who has played Folk Life many times, says that it will be fun and lucrative. At this point I am considering a couple of options.
A. Stay in Seattle, buy a camcorder, and start making my own movies and filming my own monologues.
B. Go to South East Asia.
This passport is burning a hole in my pocket. I haven't had one since I lost my previous one eight years ago.
I got distracted from my plan to go to Thailand by moving into my new place. The woman who manages the house I live in is from Brazil and she almost had me convinced that I should go to Rio. But after a spate of experiences and much deliberation I have resolved that if I travel internationally, it is going to be to either a Buddhist or Hindu country. I do love Mexico, and I am not totally opposed to visiting a Catholic country again, sometime. But not now. Sure, the majority of the most dangerous countries on the planet are Islamic, but any Abrahemic country is going to have it's issues, and Catholicism has not mixed well with third world countries in my opinion. If I am going to be immersed in poverty, I want the state religion of the country I am visiting to be based on tenets of peace, not guilt, dogma, and violence.
Wednesday, May 7, 2008
Well, it seems as though someone has beaten me to the punch. Or the kick I should say. I'll get to the point of this first paragraph, but first I need to recap on my journey up until now, starting at when my right brain was a sperm and my left brain was an egg, before they were joined I mean. Kidding.
I spent years trying to reclaim my connection to nature, but something always held me back. There was always a nagging feeling of disconnection that ran deeper than simply my being raised as a member of a very concrete and brick square civilization. There was a missing factor in my quest to go back to the land, no matter how many cords of wood I chopped of how many frigid rivers I jumped into naked while my nuts shrank to the size of peas.
I dabbled with going barefoot over the years, but never really connected the dots. Now that I have, and if I didn't know better, it would be very easy for me to get caught up in a dogmatic belief system where nature is the only church and going barefoot is the only way to worship. I mean, I spent many summers practicing primitive skills, dancing in drum circles and tripping on mushrooms, and while I had some amazing experiences, there was always a barrier left after the high wore off. I never realized that the barrier was simply my thick rubber soles that prevented me from feeling the ground beneath my tarsals and metatarsals.
The beating to the punch, or kick, of this post comes in the form of a barefooter who has combined Christianity with going unshod. It really is an easy association, though one I would never in a million years make. Sure, I silently chuckle to myself when I am out walking at the futility of hikers and walkers and joggers who are out in the fresh air on a bright sunny day with their feet bound up two sweaty damp caves, or worse, moldy cramped mobile homes. In a sense, getting out of the car and on two feet seems almost worthless if we keep our feet inside. But I am not a Christian, specifically for the reason that dogma and authority are a load of bullshit. And my reasons for being what I suppose could be equated with atheism but is more like a weak agnosticism negate any move I could make towards a dogmatic belief system.
Anyways, here he is the Christian bare foot runner, ERSKIEN. That dude is a trip.
And now for bare foot worship of another kind. Women bare foot? MAJOR turn on. Check this youtube video. Now I am not coming out of the foot fetish closet or anything. I mean what's a good pair of feet that isn't attached to a fine set of legs. And what's a fine set of legs that doesn't round off at the top in to a plump...you get the point. But women going barefoot is a turn on because it takes guts to go barefoot and in this day and age there seems to be an inundation of scared little princesses who were raised anything but brave and assertive. Barefoot is a state of mind. Too bad there's not enough of us to create our own dating personals.
Tuesday, May 6, 2008
The Gospel of Consumption
And the better future we left behind
by Jeffrey Kaplan
PRIVATE CARS WERE RELATIVELY SCARCE in 1919 and horse-drawn conveyances were still common. In residential districts, electric streetlights had not yet replaced many of the old gaslights. And within the home, electricity remained largely a luxury item for the wealthy.
Just ten years later things looked very different. Cars dominated the streets and most urban homes had electric lights, electric flat irons, and vacuum cleaners. In upper-middle-class houses, washing machines, refrigerators, toasters, curling irons, percolators, heating pads, and popcorn poppers were becoming commonplace. And although the first commercial radio station didn’t begin broadcasting until 1920, the American public, with an adult population of about 122 million people, bought 4,438,000 radios in the year 1929 alone.
But despite the apparent tidal wave of new consumer goods and what appeared to be a healthy appetite for their consumption among the well-to-do, industrialists were worried. They feared that the frugal habits maintained by most American families would be difficult to break. Perhaps even more threatening was the fact that the industrial capacity for turning out goods seemed to be increasing at a pace greater than people’s sense that they needed them.
Saturday, May 3, 2008
Yesterday my neighbor Damien brought home a waif like heroin junkie. I called him from my side of the duplex and he said, "Why don't you get over here."
I went over to his side and there she was, very thin, but attractive. She had dark features and was half Puerto Rican. On the corner of her mouth was a giant hepatitis sore. She monopolized the computer, bending over the keyboard with her small nearly emaciated bottom pressing close to my crotch, fully aware of her space and where her extremities where directed. Her body was like a twelve year old girl's, but her personality was fully developed.
She insistently showed us videos on youtube and myspace. She had a slide show on myspace showing pictures of her when she was healthier and more filled out. Some of them featured her in self made Star Wars costumes, including a Princess Lea Jabba slave bikini. Geeks have been getting sexier by the year and after my first few episodes of Attack of The Show on G4 network I was hip to the talent pool of fandom, and this young aficionado of all things Force reiterated nerd potential for me. Too bad I am more Folk Life Festival than Sci Fi Con. There is just too much of a rift between nature and pop culture, but I have learned not to typecast myself that way. One never knows who is waiting in the wings to share the stage of life.
Our new friend was a charmer to no end. She played music on the computer and danced a little in her seat and on the kitchen floor and was just adorable all around. My captain save-a-ho instincts were seething through my brain. I wanted to take her under my wing and nurture her, to spoon her...to fork her.
It is a very primal thing, the attraction between man and downtrodden prostitute. Who can blame Jesus for loving Mary Magdalene? I once tried to write a song called Fragile Dolls. It was great in theory but never got past the title. I wanted to sing about how the toughest, most street smartest chicas are also the ones who have experienced the darkest life has to offer, lived to tell the tale, broken, and how it is all part of their mystique and appeal.
Against my better judgement I drove her down to Bell Town to get her fix. On the way there I gave her, in only so many words, the basic "you're way to hot to be fucked up on that shit" lecture. The unfairness of life was not lost on me, there, in the car, saddened at beauty gone to waste. I mean, she could be doing more productive things with her time, like breeding for crying out loud. No, she was more than just a good pair of genes. She could tailor her own jeans and that means she would make a great partner in crime. But what was unfair is that had she been homely the conditions of her despair, and no one can claim this young woman was not in despair, would have seemed more fitting.
She proclaimed that she was unhappy sober, and she cried. I couldn't tell if it was a fake cry. Women will fake an orgasm and they can fake tears, sometimes both at the same time if they really have game. And who can blame them. They are faced with a bottomless well of douche bags in the world. Too bad I don't have time to get to all the girls. Because I'm superman.
"I'm not superman." I told her.
"I know, I know," she said.
When she spoke she spoke in flail speak, street language that was up tempo, full of double entendres and ambiguity and far too abstract to recreate here. I could understand her but not comprehend her when she asserted nothing and stated vague fleeting facts. Do I surround myself with these types of people to fill some void? Is it that I want to feel sane by being immersed in crazy geniuses or that I just feel like I can be myself, unjudged and content?
I didn't have the time or resources to sponsor a junkie, even if she did treat me like her savior and share my bed. It's a good way to ruin a career, getting involved with a woman. Guys who through nepotism or luck manage to have a torrid love affair while simultaneously amassing their fortune are few and far between. Any guy who still excuses his infatuations with interesting women, women who by default and sheer charisma demand attention will often point to those lucky blokes who balance money and vagina. But the examples given as evidence are often older more traditional men who had traditional women. The modern relationship is a different breed entirely, taking the form of a friendship rather than a top down male lead bureaucracy, a model which if possessing few good qualities is at least conducive to the cut throat and dominative world of capitalism and business . If a guy like myself happens to fall in love with a modern woman who is not as driven or ambitious in similar artistic and creative fields as I, I'm bogged down, and my time is diverted, enslaved by the fascinating layers of a woman while my career potential fades. That would be tragic, because I have a lot of potential, and realizing that potential would open up my access to more interesting and creative women.
Before I dropped her off, she asked for my number, cute as a button. I gave her my acting business card with my picture on it. That way she can remember my name and face combined.
I went home and waited for her to call. I felt like a puppy but didn't sleep like one.
Tuesday, March 18, 2008
I immediately began to fret over expenses to fund my mission. I resolved that if need be, I would sell my trusty Toyota, which had stuck by me on long desolate highways through the Midwest and among the sea of combustion that is rush hour Los Angeles. I could live rent free with local friends until May, when the trip was scheduled. Now it was March. That left me with two or so months to secure a passport and $3000 dollars. One way or another, I would end up having to beg for help from my mother and father. Again.
As I began to write these words, I knew that I would have to show them to my parents as proof that I have invested myself into this project and committed myself to it. Much rode on these very words. If my parents were impressed, they may sponsor me. If they perceived these words to be anything less than exemplary and displaying of potential and talent, I may be anchored to the lower forty-eight for who knows how many more years, and this prologue would be nothing more than practice.
I knew that I would have culture shock upon arrival in Thailand, but now, safely in Seattle where I could live rent free and keep writing and acting, without anything written in stone and no commitment to the Thailand trip yet, I fantasized about staying there. I wanted to stay in Thailand before I even got there, learning the language, the culture, the people. I had yet to research the exchange rate and find out just how far I could make a dollar stretch, but perhaps I could eek by on the $300 a month that I got from my parents as a sort of allowance for me to help fund my journey of self discovery that I seemed doomed to be stuck in for the duration of my prolonged adolescence.
I thought about my mother's recent trip to Bangkok on business, and how when she returned she reported that it was polluted, dirty, and stiflingly hot. Almost unbearably so. My mother, who had taught me to love travel, had barely one good thing to say about a country that had held my fascination for many years. She returned unexcited, eager to get home, and lacking in the overall wanderlust that she had passed on to me.
Then I thought about my great cousin Russel, who years ago practically disowned himself from our relatives in Texas to move to China, where he fell in love with the place, learned the language and married a local woman. I never knew the whole story, but for some reason this adventurer and black sheep seemed to have given up, divorced his wife, and moved back to Austin to work in the family business with his moderately racist father who would go into speeches at the dinner table about Russel and his 'ching cha chow chop suey' wife. What had driven Russel to reverse his course in life in such a drastic manner, after becoming so intimate with a culture, language, and woman of the far East?
I thought, if Russel can become another man, I can do the same. I was monolingual, and it made me nearly seethe with jealousy when I heard another North American speaking in foreign tongue. I had been left out of far to many conversations between acquaintances who were bilingual to go the rest of my life only conveying myself to other human beings in the nounal based categories that were English.
"I'm going to Amsterdam for awhile to view some of the last remaining legal mushroom farms. The government's shutting them down." It was John, and he was referring to psychedelic mushroom farms, of course.
"Okay John, I'm going to do some research and see if I can't come up with the cash."
And with that, we hung up.
I hated to think about it, but John seemed to be a remnant of a dying era. He was a friend or acquaintance to some of the greatest psychedelic pioneers of the sixties. Leary, Owsley, Garcia, Watts. Either he was a master weaver of tall tails or he had dined on the fruits of the gods with most of the superstars of hippie mythology, and, in an anomaly of the given formula, lived to tell about it.
And now John himself was dying. He had diabetes, which was a new revelation for him when we spoke. He complained about numerous health issues, but that did not put a damper on his energy over the phone. He could go on and on.
"I just don't know what happened, I started craving sugar, drinking chocolate milk by the half gallon and COKE! I hadn't drank a coke for twenty years, but all of a sudden I had to have it." He was describing the process most diabetics go through of having their blood sugar go haywire and thus experience bouts of carb cravings. I didn't bother to ask about his heart and cardiovascular health. He had been overweight since he gave up cigarettes, and when I implored him to walk more he complained about his feet hurting. It is truly a vicious cycle, the process of getting out of shape and becoming so unfit that one can not exercise to get back in shape without severe discomfort.
Amazingly he had put all his faith in doctors. When I ran off my list of advice, which I had gleaned from many years of my unorthodox interest in medicine and distrust of medical physicians, he stopped me short.
"I am not going to make any dietary changes until I talk to the dietician next week at the V.A. hospital."
Amazing how someone that has lived as such a rebel was so lacking in a rebellious mindset towards Western medicine, which I viewed as faulty and profit over truth driven to no end. What doctor in their right mind would recommend anything but a high fat, low or no carb diet for a diabetic? They were instructing him to watch his carbs and his fat intake. What was his body supposed to run on for a fuel source? Nutrasweet and caffeine? But alas my advice was falling on deaf ears, all because I was not endowed with the magical M.D. before my last name that allowed me the powers of all knowing wisdom regarding health.
"At least drink black coffee." I said, citing ample evidence that coffee combats diabetes. But he shut me down again. I resolved to email him links supporting my assertions, though I had lost faith in Johns capacity for critical thought regarding the matter.
I knew that this could be one of my last opportunities to join a living legend in the psychedelic community on one of his fabled Thailand tours, which encompassed a full immersion in not only the mycological aspects of the country but also the culture as well. He had been traveling Thailand for two decades, leading perhaps a hundred people there over the years as a guide and shaman. He was well connected and knew many locals and officials in the country. This was indeed the opportunity of a lifetime. I was excited.
People, places and things are not nouns. They are nouning. They are slow verbs. Their molecular morphology is so imperceptible to humans that we are given the impression that they are fixed, permanent. All the fortification technology in the world has never produced a castle that didn't crumble.
The philospher David Bohm spoke of this, and I think it is very relevant to voyaging. And of course we have the famed Heraclitus quote:
"Everything is in a state of flux."
Humans can plague themselves with their innate need to feel permanence. We are afraid of that which we do not know, and routine is something we know. We are afraid of the dark, because we cannot see, we do not know what lurks in the shadows. But these fears are most often unfounded, and they teeter towards neurosis and paranoias.
Traveling is a remedy, a surrendering of one's control impulse. And I was on the cusp of disembarking on my latest venture. Exploring options, I reached for my cell phone.
"Hey Gabe, how you doin'?"
It was the calm before the storm, the one chance to get a few words in without having to interrupt him, talk over him, or almost scream.
He goes by the name of Mushroom John.
"Fine thanks, I just got back from LA, and I have a few questions for you." I was always right down to business over the phone, my ambition difficult to cloak in a shroud of small talk.
I was on the freeway, driving through South Seattle to a friends house. Previously I had been in Hollywood pursuing my dreams as an actor. Exasperated with the abundance of superficiality in that field, I was searching for any way to discover my voice in writing. On the trip up, behind the wheel and fueled by caffeine, I had dreamed of numerous subjects, ideas, and genres to write in. Fiction. Screenplays. Nonfiction. Travelogues, and memoirs. Too many potential avenues there. I had been hopping around the English language for over a decade now, avidly, fancying myself a poet, author and philosopher, but nothing workable had come to fruition. It was time for a class project, but did I really need to go back to school to take classes? Could I not just give myself an assignment in the school of life?
What I needed was direction, an assignment, a way of channeling my creativity. Without something to work on specifically, I could start a thousand stories and never finish one of them. Which is why I was on the phone with John.
"Say, you planning a trip to Thailand anytime soon?" I inquired. I had heard him speak of these trips for years, always wanting to join him on his guided journeys. He is like a modern day shaman, leading groups on jaunts throughout Southeast Asia picking psychedelic and non psychedelic mushrooms and exploring consciousness as well as Thai culture and geography.
"Yeah, I'm trying to get one together for May."
Then he just went on and on. My technique for dealing with his ranting was to interrupt him with questions when he got off topic or to redirect his rambling in a direction that interested me more. Along the way I learned that he was suffering from diabetes, he had been falsely accused of pedophilia by a rival psychedelic guru, and his website had been hijacked by another mushroom related dot com in a move for check mate in the battle for online psychedelic data domination. Was there any good news? Aren't hippies supposed to be happy?
"Let me tell you," enthusiastically back on the subject of Thailand now, "if you go on this trip, we can stay after the scheduled itinerary and I will take you to some places I haven't taken people to for years. Did you know that we will get to go to the royal gardens? Not many people get to explore that part of the palace. I'm very well connected with the caretaker of the gardens and many wonderful mushroom specimens grow there. I'm allowed the privilege of taking spore prints of them." I had mentioned my aspirations to be a writer, and my interest in using him and his mushroom tours as the launching subject of a travelogue that I wanted to write. His ego seemed to get a jolt at the thought of him being the subject of a quasi biographical book, or at least part of a book, and he was speaking as if I had already given him the $2100 he charged for his guidance, plus airfare , lodging, and many of the meals.
I hung up the phone, finally, after saying goodbye to him numerous times only to have him go off into another tangent.
Could it be done? A host of logistical considerations crept into my mind along with the doubt that inevitably accompanied them. My passport got lost years ago. What if I couldn't get a new one in time for the trip? What if I got sick? And did I have it in me, the wherewithal to embark on such a fantastic voyage? And more importantly, could I survive a month in a very foreign third world sweltering climate of a country with Mushroom John talking my ear off at every interval, mostly about mushrooms, a subject that has never fascinated but always amazed me?
Why do we travel? What compels a restless soul to succumb to their wanderlust?
Certainly traveling is not a behavior unique to humans in the natural world. Many species travel, some farther than others. Some range across continents, (birds), while some never leave the spec of ground upon which they were born.
But humans seem to be the only species that embraces nomadism by choice, without relying on environmental or reproductive pressures to induce forced migration.
I will argue that the reasons an animal will travel to a new geography to escape weather patterns and find food are instincts not far removed from the casual desire to mobilize oneself demonstrated by humans. Both provide nourishment, the first: sustinence, and the other of experiences. Experiences of myriad contrasts and sensations are food for the mind. New experiences are like fresh spring grass on the tundra, feasted on by grazing buffalo, after the snow melts away following a hard winter. As much as humans need stability in life, they need new experiences to break the routine. To stay young. Otherwise, we might get caught in a prolonged ice age.
My case is a peculiar one. I have led such an unstable and chaotic life that newness, chaos, the unknown...these have become my predictability, order, and knowns. Traveling gives me structure. When I am feeling idle, I fade back into the vastness of my mind. After just a short period of routine, I become a disheveled mess, depressed, confused, and anxious. Travel brings me back, grounds me, shakes my by my shoulders and says, "Back to reality!"
I always travel. When I am sitting, my mind wanders. When I am in a city, I walk across that city or hop mass transit. If I am in the country, I hike. I never go truly idle, though I begin to feel a dull pain when I feel like I am approaching anything near stillness. A typical conversation with someone less prone to suffer from my blessed affliciton will go like this:
Them: "Gabriel, why don't you just learn how to meditate?"
Me: "Because I'd rather go for a swim in the ocean or hike through the woods barefoot."
My argument is that primitives had no need for meditation because their daily lives were spent in the "zone". There's a Chinese adage that goes, "Before enlightenment, chop wood and carry water. After enlightenment, chop wood and carry water." Basically, as I read it, there is no such thing as enlightenment. We are almost there already, but apparently we need to foist heavy buckets of water onto our backs to cement the deal.
The grass is not so much just greener, but it's different, and different is new and green grass is newer than not so green grass. The grass is greener, it's just that it is devoured soon upon arrival by those that feel hunger, thus it is imminent that the grass will again be greener somewhere else. Time for more spring, more experiences, an endless summer. The waves on this beach have died down dude. Let's go to the next one for some killer waves. Bon voyage.