Traveling Again…

Bicycle Touring, Plans & Itineraries, USA 6 Comments »

In a few weeks time I’ll embark on a new adventure. This one will be somewhat of a different flavor. Instead of travelling by motored transport as usual, I’ll be pedaling a bicycle!

Surly Long Haul Trucker

Start Date: Early August
End Date: Unknown
Departure: Portland, Oregon
Direction: South
Destination: Unknown

For the past two weeks I’ve been daydreaming about pedaling through Central and South America. Daydreaming about travel is normal, but to daydream about the same place and specific travel idea…thats very unusual for me. So I decided to do it.

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Providence Country Day School

Thoughts & Reflections 1 Comment »

Yesterday I visited Providence Country Day School and talked with the kids in two art classes about travel, art and life. I told them some stories about the places I’ve been, things I’ve seen and done, people I’ve met. I told them about the poverty in southeast Asia and India, about the exhilarating experience of paragliding over the Swiss alps, what got me started travelling, why I do it and how I afford it.

MOre+JOhn+and+class.jpg

The class and their inspiring teacher (and my friend) Dayna Mondello were gracious to provide plenty of questions, which I enjoyed answering as well as heaping bowls of nuts and berries and a can of flavored soda water.

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Just the Accent

Thoughts & Reflections 1 Comment »

Contrary to purported “plans”, I’ve travelled very little since my return to the states in December. I wouldn’t say my fears of getting stuck at home have come to fruition. I have been enjoying it here.

However, Providence is finally starting to feel stagnant. Familiarity is becoming monotony. I’m ready to go.

It’s not exactly a desirable thing; this travel bug. There’s a big part of me that would like to get settled into one place for a good while so I could get down to business with the big ideas wobbling around in my head. And probably more importantly, my friendships and family are not well suited to deal with all this hopping about.

It’s just that I’ve yet to find peace in a single place. Well nowhere I’ve tried anyway. So I figure I’ll try somewhere else. And at worst just keep doing that until some place gets me to stick.

In August I’m off to England…probably London in fact. It might not seem like it makes a whole lot of sense to pick the most expensive city on earth, (if it’s not, then it has to be close…one British Pound costs over two US dollars now!) but I’ve got some pretty good reasons.

Actually, I’m lying. It’s the accent. They just sound so damn smart.

So For Now

Thoughts & Reflections 1 Comment »

Evidently I don’t write as much when I have a travel partner. It’s a whole different experience really. Not a bad one, just different.

I am fairly excited to spend the summer in the Ocean State. I have found few better places on this earth to spend July and August.

So for now, I’ll be here in Providence, working up some new travel funds and studying hypnosis, magic and Spanish.

Come fall…onward.

Southbound

USA 6 Comments »

The first stop was DC where we stayed with a friend of mine named Dale, who helped Desiree’s soar throat and headache with an energy healing. The next day we ate tamales at the Native American History Museum, rubbed leaves between our fingers at the Botanic Gardens and climbed the stairs to Lincoln’s Memorial for a breezy sunset.

From there was a drive through the Shenandoah mountains and down the Blue Ridge Parkway. Rolling far from both sides of the winding road were huge hills bursting with fresh green. As the night neared, thick fog rolled in. It became difficult to drive and Desiree’s throat was getting worse.

In Southern Virginia, late at night, we stopped at a local gas station. There was grey bearded man wearing a camouflage hat and a one piece camo jumper, which was unbuttoned halfway allowing a mesh of white netting to spill out from his chest.

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Don’t Forget My Postcard

USA 7 Comments »

“Have fun. Don’t forget my postcard. Drive safe. Buckle up. Stay awake. Pass on the left. Green means go. Full throttle. Open road. Live. Love. Learn.”

That’s the SMS I received from my friend Eric this morning. I read it aloud to Desiree as we pulled away from our temporary home in Providence. Since mid February we’d been staying in a spare room at my friend’s place. Today when we moved out of that room and into a Thrifty rental car, we were departing on a loosely planned zig zag road trip across America.

The winter in RI was cold and grey and it took a toll on my spirits. I have vowed never again to return to the northeast during winter months. However, it wasn’t all bad.

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A Sense of Urgency

Thoughts & Reflections 5 Comments »

Re-entry to American life has been an interesting experience. At first it was a breeze; much like my short visit home in June. Then as the fresh voices and faces faded back to familiarity, that thing they call “reverse culture shock” began to set in.

It is the shock of my own culture, what it is but which I never realized, that has startled me.

It is the frustrating disappointment in the involuntary lethargy of American life. Millions of minute conveniences fill every gap of motion and exercise we might reap some small benefit from and the food we consume satisfies our desires first and our health somewhere later.

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To Be Continued…

Plans & Itineraries, Thoughts & Reflections 3 Comments »

In many ways the past year came and went incredibly quickly, yet it feels like I have been traveling forever. And at this point I feel as if that’s exactly what I’ll do.

There have been times when I tired of moving around. I will probably never spend a single year traveling so many different places again. It wears me down and the best experiences came when I got to know a place and the people.

Yes, traveling forever, in some form or another, I believe to be my likely destiny.

Maybe I’m still young with the idea. Maybe it will fizzle out. Maybe I will soon find my way back onto the straight rails of life.

God, I hope not.

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Red Lights in Amsterdam

Netherlands 1 Comment »

After finding a sweet deal due to off season prices, we checked into a hotel in the center of Amsterdam. We ate stir fry and then popped in and out of “coffee shops” (marijuana bars) and “café’s” (pubs). The smell of weed hangs pours from “coffee shops”. The clang of glasses filled with dark Dutch and German beer sounds from the doors of “café’s”. Even in the frigid winter air, there is a steady stream of locals on bicycles.

I walked into a couple of tourist shops selling neck ties and wooden clogs, hoping to find some last minute Christmas gifts, but was quickly bewildered by the monotony of junk and gave up. Then for the first time, I ventured into the red light district.

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Almost the Last Leg

Germany 1 Comment »

From Switzerland, we drove through Germany, making a stop in Munich to walk the silent grounds of Dachau. After the Killing Fields in Cambodia, I had little interest in visiting a concentration camp, but Mike was anxious to see some WWII history. Although emotionally strained and left disillusioned with my existence, I am glad to have gone.

There’s not much to say about the Holocaust that hasn’t been said already and honestly, I don’t have much to say about it. Thinking about genocide leaves me feeling lost. All I manage to do is let the idea sit helplessly inside of me.

From Munich, we drove to Bochum before our departure in Amsterdam. It was a long drive. The stick seemed to be getting harder to shift and suddenly the overheat warning light came on. Putting the van in neutral and coasting through the cold air got it to turn off. I played that game with the light for an hour of so and then at a gas station, I poured half a bottle of coolant into the radiator. It didn’t help, but we made it to Bochum without any smoke.

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