Finally (Un)Settled

After taking trains, planes, buses, subways, cars and boats every couple of days and moving around between cities and countries, I’ve finally been somewhat settled in the London area for over a week (….it’s still hard to keep track of days). But, here I am, halfway across the world, calling this apartment my “home” because it’s where I can cook my food, simply hang out and rest my head at night.

That’s the funny thing about life – you’re born in a location you don’t choose, and for many, it’s home forever. I think our generation is really shifting this fact. From workplaces to living situations, offices and bedrooms are becoming global, and the world is both our play and work ground.

People always say “do what makes you happy” and then society places this box around what’s accepted and expected. If you were to truly design your life, start with just one day. How would you wake up and spend your time? What routines would you like to implement? What would you avoid wasting your time on?

Every day, here, while traveling, I’m trying to wake up and do the things that I actually want to do. For example, yesterday, I went for a 3 mile run near the Thames and then went to a coffee shop nearby to read. This morning, I’m listening to music and writing, then I’ll spend the day with my friend, because that’s exactly what I want to be doing.*  I’m very aware that there’s privilege in this set-up because I don’t have to be at work at a certain time or take care of kids, etc., but if there’s something that you want, there’s ways to make time work on your side, regardless of responsibilities. With a surrounding fortunate set of circumstances, I’ve worked to make this my reality.

Some people have asked when I’m coming home. I don’t have the answer. For as long as this is what I want to be doing, I’ll do it and make it work, however I have to. I once made the mistake of flying home from Australia instead of continuing on with a friend to New Zealand because I felt like I had to (or should) go home and jump back into a job. I’m not going to prematurely end what I want to be doing because of external influences that make me think I should be doing something else. Now, after having a taste of actually doing what I want, when I want (this has become my definition of freedom), I am willing to do whatever it takes to continue.

Life is a series of choices. We are faced with big and small ones everyday. Choose whatever it is that sets your soul on fire and practice day in and day out.

“I am the master of my fate,

      I am the captain of my soul. ” – William Ernest Henley
* Side note: other skills I want to learn – if you have advice on the best ways to do it, please share – graphic design, another language, basic coding, an instrument

 

7 Days Later on an Island in Croatia – Lessons Learned

20180302_10159179706245571_589339253_o.jpg   20258122_10102177747443829_6485118325349732670_n.jpg

And, when you’re in the midst of it all, it’s hard to fully collect your thoughts, feelings, and desires. You’re moving at a fast pace, with roughly 40 pounds of baggage strapped to your back, arms, and innately, your insides. You’re meeting people from all over the world, with hundreds of life stories that they are open to sharing because you’re in a foreign country with people who you may or may not ever see again. And, then, there’s the select few that you know you connect with so strongly that you will make the effort to meet at a another time, in another place.

Sometimes, you’re sitting lazily under a palm tree doing nothing and drifting off to the sound of local kids and a family having a picnic on the waterfront as the wind blows and the sun beats down on your legs. Other times, you’re watching the tourists completely flood the city, gulping down one too many drinks, leaving a trail of their trash as they head into the next pub. You ask the locals how they feel about this, and you know while it’s good for their economy, they’re sick of it, even if it only happens six months out of the 12.

You accept your ignorance of having not known the history of a region so rife with struggle and conflict, and truly understand the impact on personal lives when you become close friends with a girl who was displaced by war and separated from her family for two years. You hear the pain and growth from experiences you’ve been so privileged to have avoided merely by the fortune of being raised elsewhere.

It becomes clear that travel is sometimes glorified and beautified, and not always simple. But, you also realize that all you need to survive is food and water. You can change beds nightly and focus on the beauty of having the opportunity to meet more people because you’re in a constant state of flux. You see that there is a sense of stability in always being open to changing surroundings because you rely on so much less and can be ready for anything, at any time. Things really stop mattering so much. You can be alone and content. You can be surrounded and content.

At times, you’re disconnected technologically, so then, you’re totally connected in real time. As if real time even exists and has meaning. I’ve been consumed by people watching. By endlessly seeing that when people are in big groups and have nothing to say, they bring their phones into the conversation, avoiding eye contact and using their thumb to tap accolades to the edited photos on their screens. Or, they are taking snapchats of what’s live in front of them to broadcast to those back home, showing that they are here and you are there, not experiencing the same thing that they are experiencing behind a screen. I’ve been there. I’m happy I haven’t had the means to be for quite some time. It’s made days longer and connections stronger.

Mental pictures are my oldest and newest currency. They are the ones to cherish because they are becoming a part of my future.

I’ve pulled a splinter out of the toe of a stranger, a bee sting out of the hand of an older man, helped friends to their bed after wild nights that became mornings out, checked in on an acquaintance with low blood pressure, and jumped at any opportunity to help strangers when I have the means. I’ve had multiple nights in a row with no sleep and days of exploration, with days of simply passing the time and avoiding the heat.

I’ve talked about the meaning of life, God, love, desire, goals, fears and challenges with multiple people, mostly men, but also with some women, too. I’ve spent hours inside the busiest club on an island to talk philosophies with a friend. I’ve heard wild stories from wild nights of people who are finding themselves and learning what they seek romantically.

I’ve held onto the fact that many people derive the meaning of life from the relationships they make and the amount of people they can help.

Days roll by and time moves slower because you’re taking it all in. You’re connecting on very deep levels, having serious conversations over drinks and cheap eats while you realize the amount of talent and creativity people possess is broad, extensive and unique. You learn that people discover what they are good at over time, and sometimes later than expected in life, as well as having it come to them by chance. It gives you hope. It makes you realize that life doesn’t happen at ages, it happens in stages. And at various points in time because of the choices you make to take the chances and do the things that have always scared you most.

You see that, while yes, people do the same things to survive all over the world, cultures and norms are vastly different. Ways of talking, value systems, expectations, and actions take different forms. You understand that trusting your intuition is one of the smartest and most necessary tools you can bring to the table. You pick up on ways to know who means well and those that are just floating on by. You can spot the people still finding their way, and you can relate to having been there and then seeing those ahead of you, knowing you’ll get there, too.

You appreciate the inherent goodness in people and learn more about yourself through what people tell you they think of you. And, many times, it’s repetitive, which makes it the “truth”?

It’s not what you do, where you live and what you have. It’s who you are and what you do with the limited time you have here, there, and everywhere.

 

 

Erosion

I step aside
For you, I would ride
Shot gun, feel the shots run
Over and over
the heart spilleth over

You know whenever you go
I come
Return to the scene of the scars
Tell you I’m done, I’m done

Turn the lock
Doors opened when I’d knock
No longer a pound, cause for you I was down
To ride to ride
Shot gun, I fired, I’m fried
I tried.

they say when the sun shines it’s time
I let in the light, I read the signs
Exits all around, for you, I was down
Lessons learned, training wheels up and burned

Oxygen escaped, oxytocin erased
We ran, we rode, we told
Ourselves it could last
It fled fast, what comes quickly
Fades ferociously like fire in an ocean
of emotions eroding

Un-Love Letter to Los Angeles

I’m not at home in the city
I grew up in
flashing lights illuminate like
the false renderings of imagined selfs
only to go dim when the daylight shines through

real light, realize

Seeing through this facade of a society
embellished with filters and fickle-minded youth
growing up into adults who run from

commitment

who fall into traps of pretend tomorrows
imaginary concepts that can’t come to fruition
because hope is easier to tread
when fear is locked behind lies

misspoken truths are stretched to their limits
breaking points more shallow than the Pacific’s shore
specifically, when the sun always shines
where’s the shelter

for the soul and body that does not belong?

In Light of Darkness in Paris

Trying to find perspective, when hope and understanding seems to be slipping. We live in a world where the same media covers society’s “rage” over red cups at Starbucks as they do the catastrophic terrorist attacks in Paris.

Far reaching distances of the globe collide on computer screens and cell phones that our thumbs stay gripped to, as if we are kids in elementary school experimenting with Krazy Glue on our fingertips. We are living in an “evolving” world that is falling back into barbaric ways, as evils permeate and bombs explode in movie theaters, concert halls, soccer stadiums. Our technology promises to propel us as inhumane creatures still roam-stabbing innocent victims in the streets of cities, as if human bodies were voodoo dolls, being used to expel evil thoughts on behalf of the insane.

Every disaster strikes and we feel a level of heightened fear, shock, rage, sadness, and hopelessness. We become entrenched in the coverage, the social shares, and the inherent travesty of justice. All until, it boils over and the next disaster strikes, and is replayed on a loop like a scratched CD, trying to get the message out, but repeating the same words. Then, in an effort to manage the grave and deep emotions that overcome our senses during these dark times, we somehow grow more and more accustomed to such acts of violence. People will say, “I’m saddened, but not shocked.”

As a society that is privy to hearing news around the world at every moment of every day, we cannot let go of humanity. When we’ve reached this point, the one where such horrendous massacres are commonplace and our sense of “shock” has faded, we need to take a step back and re-evaluate our world. Personally, I will always be shocked. Maybe it’s semantics and what people mean to say is that the news is not surprising, because it’s the same shit everyday. But, it is exactly that- SHOCKING, chilling, cold, and increasingly gloomy.

While death tolls and modes of violence are becoming tallies and global leaders focus on devising strategies to combat such occurrences, we must not forget that every number accounts for a life. Every life has a ripple effect, reaching beyond its existence and affecting those who knew the victim. Although it may be hard to grasp when we hear devastating news and are not immediately related to the people involved, we still can feel the sense of loss. We are humans with the ability to empathize, and the truth is, we have been subconsciously trained to accept the feeling of “sensationalized” in its place.

It seems fruitless as one person can’t stop these rampant terrorist attacks and radical belief systems infiltrating our “civilized” society. The answer of how to help is not clear. Violence is inevitable, recurring, and only idealistically obsolete. But, a good place to start is to step back from the headlines to reflect on the weight of these situations. Even if it won’t solve the next disaster or bring back the lives that were lost, it will acknowledge our serious problem of human disconnect in a world that is revered for being SO “connected.”

Every action has a reaction and everything starts from somewhere. There’s clearly something amiss in our world, and if every one person can identify where love may lack, we can make our own personal effort to fill that void, even if only in a small space, to create a brighter future, on a global scale. The truth is that we are all one.

-In solidarity, with love, prayers, and hopes for a peaceful present for Paris AND the entire world.

Wired

Evolution-Of-ManOur universal language has become the clicks of a keyboard. Screens stare blankly back at us; they are the eyes that we look at more deeply and for more time than anything else these days. Human connection, intimately and physically, has waned even though we have digital connections with the power to span the entire globe. Babies rattles have been replaced with iPads, children’s books are now phones in their hands, and photography is a filtered expression of what you ate for lunch.How long will it be before we wake up and try to go back to the future?

This unsettling feeling is hard to escape when LED lights shine the truth so undeniably, ubiquitously, unanimously.

Time to shut down to power up.

Snapchat Stories

Won’t find your “story” on Snapchat

Robotic, trying to show off fleeting moments

with disappearing digitalized depictions

“sharing” your every move, to show what you do in your waking life

small-casting to whoever taps down with their thumb

a finger dancer looking to live vicariously, or simple curiosity

killed the soul

how about we…

take time to TALK to the people

we CARE about

and share what we DO

and WHY we do it

so they KNOW

our story.