Category Archives: Travel

Path of Purposeless Existence

Most of the other travellers I know have some purpose to their travels: musicians, photographers, artists, writers, and healers. They’re passionate about what they do, they’re driven and ambitious, they have purpose. I envy this sense of purpose, the creative process that drives people and affords them a love that is greater than them selves, be it for their family or their art. I’m not talking here of the tourists taking a few weeks to see something different; tourists travel, but travel does not make up a huge part of their lives.

My own travels don’t stop for more than a couple of months. From one place I get the urge to go someplace else. No reason really, it just becomes time for change: for new surroundings, new people, and perhaps a new pastime, of just to find a nice place to go for a walk. Perhaps I’ve become addicted to the fears and thrills of change.

I dabble a little in all things, wandering, my destinations changing with the landscape. I have neither a path of love and passion, nor a path of responsibility. Almost every time I land somewhere I ask myself, “what am I doing here?” I rarely go someplace to do something; I rather go, and than I ask. It’s tiring. It’s often isolating as I’m continually leaving behind friends and family and the familiar.

I’ve tried inventing some reason behind my travels (photography, holistic courses), but it never lasts, before long I find myself wandering aimlessly, leaving everything I was doing to go on to something new. I have nothing to hold me where I am and nothing except the weather and whim enticing me to go anyplace else.

At times I tell myself it’s because I don’t want anything, I’m happy with what I have, but mostly I see the truth that I want more. It’s like an underlying drive for more without any overlying destination. Sometimes I am perfectly happy, but then the underlying desire begins to simmer and then boil and before I know it I’ve done something rash and I’m on the move again. Some people go shopping and buy pointless shit, I buy plane tickets or spend days driving across the country.

It’s unsettling, and I mean that in every sense of the word. There’s no ground but myself and mostly as I travel I’m asking myself, “who am I?” Now I ask you, what kind of ground is that?

Artist and muscian travelers have some kind of outlet for their crafts. They easily come together from shared interest and often draw people and fans towards them. And of course they all have their craft fill their days and their career to drive them. I write; sometimes. I take pictures; sometimes. I take courses; sometimes. But I have no thing I do, no deadlines; no expectations coming from anywhere. I don’t even know where to begin to turn whatever it is I do into a business. People ask me what I do when I travel. I don’t know what to tell them: I do a little of this and a little of that. I’m usually busy, crazy busy for a guy with nothing in particular to do but that’s just it: I ‘do’ merely because I have to: with a body and the march of time doing is all we really have. Broadly speaking, I do philosophy (whatever that is exactly).

I feel the same confusion when people ask me where I’m from. Where am I from? Canada is the only clear answer I can give, and this is a big country. I was born in Calgary and then I moved around a lot. Then I moved to Edmonton and kept moving around a lot, but kept going back to Edmonton. I have nothing in Edmonton though, except work that pays well and doesn’t expect much commitement. (I don’t wish to alienate my Edmonton friends, I love you guys, but Edmonton is no home for me). I wish I could at least say that home is where the heart is, but I rarely feel at home for long and my heart is always with me.

And just as I keep asking myself who I am, the question of what do often arises in my mind. That s right, not only do I not have a clue who I am, I don’t even know what I want. What do you want? Some people just seem to be born with some destination to go with their drive. I have not had this honour. But not knowing what it is we really want is a hallmark of our age: vague unfocused and unconscious desires.

I’m not saying desires do not arise in me. I wouldn’t want to leave that impression for a second. I’m full of desires and a glutton to them. I tend to give myself everything I want and I’ve received more than I could have imagined. But I’ve also lost everything I’ve ever wanted. Sometimes it’s taken away or inadvertently lost, but most often my achievements just fade away like a child bored with his new toy. I just leave things and move on. I often feel a little lost afterwards: My heart broken at the end of relationships; my sense of purpose uncertain at the end of some intensive course or work season; and my very being shaken from intensive practice or experimentation or just by the happenstance of fate. My god how many times do I have to feel the death of some old life followed by the naivety and confusion of a re-birth. Things can never be the same as they were. Experiences so great that you simply cannot see life the way you did before. Everything changes. All the time. And what a rush it can be to fall into the abyss of the unknown.

But I do know that somehow something will happen, from one change will come the next. I don’t know if everything will be ok. I’m not even really sure what that means: That I don’t get injured ill or dead? These things will happen and I’ll still be ok. This is the nature of things: everything will be ok.

Every time I feel like I’ve been left with nothing; weeks later I look around me, knowing I’ve acquired nothing, but feel as though I have everything. The many injuries I have sustained in my life likewise have led me to this path of knowledge that I am on. Knowledge of what? I don’t know. Knowledge of what I need to know.

It’s madness!

You can’t imagine how isolating it is to travel alone. 90% of the time I live in just my own little world. My thoughts, dreams and actions so bundled together so that I can’t tell one from the other. And what is the difference? In regards to their effect on me their reality is equal.

But that leads my to another question that’s often passes thru my mind: “what is real?” Seriously, what is real? Do you know the difference between real and not real. Hind-sight is wonderful for distinguishing, but in the here and now, what sort of test is there to know the difference. Approximately half the yoga community believes that there is reality and illusion, the other half believes merely that there are different worlds, all of with are real.

But lets go back to those times when I’ve felt like I’ve lost everything. It all seemed real enough to me at the time while I was plunged into my own sorrow, but months later I look back and see that nothing had really changed; nothing had been lost and nothing really gained. What’s the reality? That we make our own reality? Then what happens to the objective observable reality we’ve become so familiar with? Considering the limitations of our senses (we don’t smell as good as a dog or see as an eagle), we have to admit that there is much more to the world than what is objectively observable. Why should we rely on just our senses to determine reality when we see the effects of so many things that many people would say are not part of reality.

My mother spent of most her life working in forensics as a psych. nurse. She often wonders aloud if I’m going (or have gone) crazy. I can understand this from her perspective. I don’t know who I am; I don’t know what I want; and I don’t know what is real and what is not. From the perspective of western psychology all these traits point to insanity.

But from my perspective, I see most people pretending to be someone they are not; if I ask them who they are, I will likely be able to point out to them why they really are none of what they say. If I ask people what they want, they will likely share only the basest of human desires with me. And their sense of reality will likely stop with their senses, which would, quite simply leave of most of the phenomena that drives the world. The point is, no one knows who they are or what is real or what they want, they just don’t often stop to wonder about these things, and it’s certainly not considered polite conversation to bring them up at dinner parties. So, we get a world like the one we have where wealth and power and lust rule simply by default. People go on defining themselves thru or living for their work, their family, their possession’s, or their reputation. Personally, I think these people are closer to insanity than I am, they have merely learned to wear acceptable masks. But that is the secret to civilization isn’t it: it’s all in the mask.

It’s no secret in this new age age that we are mostly disconnected from our emotions. I would say also that we are generally disconnected from God, but I don’t want to loose my atheist readers, but even they’ll agree that there is a mass disconnect happening in the world. We know about this because it’s the age of Auqarius; a time when we begin to reconnect. But if this is the age of Aquarius, that means we just advanced past Capricorn: a dirty old goat of a time. But Aquarius and Capricorn are both ruled by the planet Saturn; a kind of dirty old man him-self. Saturn doesn’t like your normal every day people. He doesn’t care much those who are energetic or overly whitty, nor any other who have anything to do with authority and power. He likes to keep to himself or spend time with older people, cripples, the disadvantaged, hermits, or even those who are especially close to the land like gardeners (farmers today are closer to their machines than the land); anyone who is isolated from main stream whether by choice or circumstance.

Asrtrologically speaking, I’m currently in my Saturn period. This is not the same as the dreaded 7 ½ year period when Saturn will affect my moon, but rather Saturn’s opportunity of 18 years to exert his influence over my life. Saturn is the fellow who makes us experience our karmas. Karma can be a bitch, or we can accept it and embrace it. We have no choice but to experience our Karma and we should be thankful to have the opportunity to experience it. In many ways Karma is the fuel we have to burn in this life; the action we must take and the actions we must experience.

When someone harms us and we have no recourse it’s natural to think that Karma will get them, but few people stop to think that Karma has just gotten them. We are all instrumental in affecting each others karma. In other words, we have to dish it out as well as swallow it. Accepting our karma is accepting our own actions as well as the actions of others and the universe at large. Karma isn’t all bad though; actions that produce joy and please are also karmas.

What most eastern thought seems to suggest is that Karma is Karma; it’s neither good nor bad; in this we must find equanimity. We each have our own karmas to experience and we must accept that in ourselves and others. This is one of the main indicators the general disconnection most cultures are experiencing: the level of emotional attachment people have to their karmas. This attachment is taught to us by television and the like in particular and the culture of consumerism in general. Change is presented as such a fearsome exchange that each new thing has to be hyped. The middle path is completely ignored, leaving the people bored

Thinking of Saturn reminds me of my own pointless wanderings. Saturn has taken over my life for the next 18 years. When I look around at my surrounding I see my tent, some old four-wheeler trail, the forest a stream, an over-head power line going thru. I hear the odd car drive past. I’m only as far back in the bush as my Volkswagen Rabbit will allow me to go. Even then I’m only a half hour from town; the nearest house can’t be too far away though I see no sign of it. But isolated enough without cell coverage or other hallmarks of our civilization.

I’m here because it’s free. One of the main hallmarks of our civilization is that it costs money to be a part of. You pay for parking, for sleeping, for news, even for water. Nothing is free in civilization. If anything was free you wouldn’t have to keep working to keep it all flowing. Maybe it’s time to get back into the flow of things.

City of Light: (The Second Part) Still Very Reasonable

Dear Friends,

This is the second part of the city of light as I see it. You will notice that the main conflict that began the story comes to a very unceremonious end here. I’ll get to it. In the mean time, notice how much fresh conflict (competing dualities) have arisen because of what was really only a minor annoyance. By now, all shit is hitting the fan; that is to say that time and space have begun their reign of terror.

The third part will be out very soon. Thank you for reading.

City of Light: (The Second Part) Still Very Reasonable

They honeymooned in infinity and planned their new life together. Miss Mountain, as she became known, had insisted on moving off the mountaintop and finding someplace more civilized to raise their family. She certainly wasn’t going to allow her children to be raised by the cliff-hopping goats, and something still had to be done about the power monger who was making everyone’s life difficult. If they didn’t have a son everyone was going to leave and then even the timeless world would be void, and no one wanted that.

The problem was that Miss Mountain was just a simple village girl from the hills and the Destroyer was much friskier and much more experienced than she could handle. The sex was great, this goes without saying since the Destroyer was known far and wide as a master of Tantra and the destroyer had to be milked for many, too many hours before he could release his seed. This left Mrs. Mountain exhausted and fully satisfied, but still without a son.

It was rumoured that the Destroyer was holding back his seed because he believed Mrs. Mountain to be too frail for childbirth. Eventually, Miss Mountain had to tell the destroyer about the need for him to have a son to rid everyone of nuisance that had been making timelessness intolerable. He was annoyed at having been used for such a petty purpose, but he consented with several conditions. He knew when he opened his eyes and came down from the mountain that there would not only be many unintended consequences, but that the motivations for waking him could not have been a straight forward coincidence. He knew better than anyone that a long chain of invisible causes preceded everything that could ever happen. Some suspected that he say it all coming but preferred to play it dumb.

Now that the plan was out, the Destroyer set about at once to deposit his seed.

Some say he had an affair with the beautiful woman everyone knew as Miss River, and others say he merely brought his seed to her. The Destroyer stuck by his strange story that he’d thrown his seed in the fire (he was known to have done stranger things). Miss Mountain herself was never sure what exactly happened. In any case, a boy was born in the forest and everyone said it belonged to the Destroyer. For the first time that anyone could remember, it was the mothers identity that was in question, and no the father. Some people even suspected that Mrs. Mountain herself was the mother, but she seemed to be cultivating a strong jealousy for Miss River.

The boy was sent to be raised by six sisters. He grew quickly and fulfilled his destiny bringing a kind of peace to timelessness. (more on this coming soon)

But by now everything had changed. Ever since the Destroyer’s honeymoon strange things had begun to happen, the most notable of which was the beginning of time and the space that came with it.

No one knew how it happened. It almost seemed like it was always there. No one thought to blame the creator for the mess since he was still doing things on the sly. By the time anyone noticed anything, the Sustainer was usually looking after it, and he almost never started anything because he knew it would just mean more work for him. Besides, everyone liked the Sustainer and never gave him any grief. They liked that he never pulled any surprises and they knew exactly what to expect from him. He kinda kept things going.

There certainly would have been hell to pay if anyone from before time now found themselves subject to its ravages, but this wasn’t the case so no one really cared. Besides it was really neat that so many thing that had only been possibilities before were now becoming reality. And there were so many realities that no one could keep up, and sometimes people still got confused about the difference between a reality and a possibility. Some said you could tell the difference because reality shone much more radiantly than possibility; actual existence seemed to make everything more beautiful. None the less the possibilities for time and space seemed endless and that was in itself a thing of beauty.

Possibility itself now seemed to change its nature. Whereas before when there was just possibility, anything might be possible, but now possibility found itself confined by time-space* (see technical note below). The possibilities of any given moment were entirely dependent on the situation of time and space during the moment immediately preceding the moment of possibilities. The curious thing was that although this seemed to limit the possibilities, the possibilities remained endless none-the-less.

One particularly strange possibility became a reality. The City of Light, which had been around since even before timelessness, found itself a small plot of land on the earth. People said that it was on the earth, but not of the earth. It was here that the Destroyer decided to settle down with his new wife. They both loved their new home. The Destroyer still, however, preferred to be left alone so he took up residence at the place where all the people affected by time went to burn their dead bodies. It was a despicable place of fire and morning and only partially charred flesh that the dogs would over fight over. No one visited him much, but he was staying just a little to close to the River tramps abode for Miss Mountain’s comfort. To keep her own mind off this possibility of infidelity that loomed over her marriage and, hopefully, to keep the Destroyer in check, she busied herself to such a degree around the city that it seemed as though she was everywhere at once. After some time, people started to believe that she had become the city herself.

And what a strange city it was. Streams ran in every direction with water so pure and fresh that people began to believe it was enchanted (although it wasn’t yet as enchanted as it would soon become).

[Technical note: To those who were here before time, time and space appeared at the same time so they often consider them to be one thing; like two heads of the same creature. It was only to those who came after time that the two seem to be different. And even today this distinction will cause to people to raise their voice. For the remainder of the story the author will attempt to appease those who came before by referring to time-space rather than time & space.]

City of Light: The Reasonable Explanation (first part)

Dear Friends,

I started writing this story a couple years ago as I plunged into the myths and stories of India. The basis of this story comes to me from the ancient stories of India via Diana Eck’s book of the same name: Kashi: City of Light. At times I’ve wondered if I was merely plagiarising the ancient stories of this land, but then I realised that every story is a retelling. Woven thru this story is the mythical history as well as the actual history, the philosophy, and the pervading culture of the land.

This is an early draft of the first part. Another 3 or 4 parts similarly summarily edited. I still have many side stories to fit into this part which, inshalla, will be coming soon. But for now I offer you this fort your reading pleasure.

The City of Light: the reasonable explanation

Before the beginning, and before the days of time and existence, when there were only possibilities which had not yet been realised, a kind of potential energy, one man sat at the highest point of possibility and looked out over it all. He sat in perfect peace.

Some say he was born before time and will live long after time has come to an end. Many don’t believe that he lived at all, but even these people now know him as the Destroyer. They say he was given this name because he did not arrive at his peace peacefully, and he was certainly a good one for settling matters once and for all.

But his peaceful state was soon to be broken by a plot concocted by the man who became known as the Creator; a foolish sort of man who was always resentful of the destroyer. In all fairness, the creator set things in motion before he really knew what was happening, and then things just started taking on a life of their own. Even before time and space there was passion and intrigue.

What happened was that the creator created some guy and didn’t tell the Sustainer. Since everyone generally saw all the possibilities, they assumed this guy was just another possibility and didn’t pay it much attention. Then all of a sudden the guy started causing trouble with his rude manners. When they tried to stop him, they couldn’t, he’d gained all kinds of strange powers thru possibility, and quite frankly, he was getting on everyone’s nerves.

They knew the destroyer could probably do something about it, but he was on the mountaintop doing…. well, nobody really knew what he was doing. Some said he was just sitting there barely breathing, other swore that he wasn’t breathing at all. Some said just sitting by him brought peace; others said that going near him was frightening and that terrifying dreams persist. In any case, everyone knew that he didn’t give a hoot about any of the others; he was perfectly happy. Most thought it best he stay that way for whenever he woke up, everything seemed to change.

Many didn’t think the Destroyer was the right guy for the job, besides, he was so chilled out that it was unlikely even a beautiful woman would rouse him from his slumber, after all it was the death of his last wife that brought him to the solitude of the mountain top. And even if some woman did rouse him, then he’d be off honeymooning and building a family that he just wouldn’t have what it takes to take care of the ill mannered miscreant. Besides, he probably wouldn’t do it anyways. It was the Creator who came upon the idea of getting Sivas son to take care of the guy. He would have all the destroyer’s power, and at a young age he would want to prove himself.

The problem was, the destroyer didn’t have a son, and no one could imagine that any woman in her right mind would want to freeze her butt off on a mountaintop wooing him into making one with her.

But in times of possibility, everything is possible and one such woman just happened to come along.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

They called her Miss Mountain. Many thought that just by the name alone she was destined for the job. Her family was horrified, to say the least, when she offered herself. She came from a good family after all and the Destroyer was know to have kiinda let himself go over the years, to say the least once again (I’m not here to ruin anyone’s reputation after all). Time was still immaterial so no one knew how long it had been since he washed his hair. And when he wasn’t up on the mountain giving everyone the silent treatment he was hanging around the worst kind of people (dead or alive)

Anyways, after she signed up for the project it was like everything happened all at once. The Destroyer soon opened his eyes and saw the new girl. She didn’t react at first. She just ignored him in her way. She wanted to build up his sense of wonder before she stoked the fires of his desire. She didn’t want him to think her being there had anything to do with him. It’s a girls right to wander; or rather putter around a mountaintop if the inclination so suits her.  She just hung about like Mother Nature herself, doing nothing to make herself conspicuous. All would be lost if he knew her ulterior motive.

Wonder did began to arise in him. He watched her for some clue as to who she was and where she came from; a nature so different from his own, yet she too was attracted to this same mountaintop. And there was something familiar about her. She seemed to be at once a reflection of himself, while there was also something about her that reminded him of his past wife.

She didn’t let on that she noticed any of this, but of course she could sense his growing interest, but interest was merely the next step beyond wonder. She left him wondering with growing interest. She knew how a wondering imagining mind could inflate anything and if she was going to make babies with this guy his wonder would have to grow to the next step. And sure enough, desire soon began to arise in him.

The next thing any one knew, they were married. The great bachelor of possibility became the husband of a personification of Mother Nature herself. Together they would make possibilities become reality. And sure enough things started happening fast.

Varanasi, India. 2009.

November 2009
Varanasi, India

In a cold guest house room beside the Ganges. Me and Joseph the Swede are wrapped in blankets, playing chess, smoking charas.

“I can’t keep going on like this. broken heart after broken heart. it’s not fair to me or to them or to anyone that has to listen to me.” I said with a smile. “I figure there are only three choices for me when it comes to love and relationships: I could become a monk and lock myself away somewhere, hide front the women of the world; or I could just get married. Make a pact with some woman to make it work. Maybe some simple Indian girl to make a life with, I could marry that girl in Delhi I told you about. Or, I can just keep on keeping on repeating other maddening waves of love and heartbreak. This is not what I want, but becoming a monk and suppressing all that passion isn’t the way either, and first I have to find a woman to marry me; which is kinda what the whole cycle is about…..

“…… Maybe that’s why I get so upset about it all: because I realize I have no control over it. All this love and loss is out of my hands. But there has to be something I can do. Some way to make it all flow easier……” I was exhausting myself with my monologue.

Joseph was staring at the chess board.

He’d been all over the world loving and leaving women. He doesn’t have a clue what he’s doing. Trying one thing and another and going back. His girlfriend had just left India to go back to work, he was staying on for a couple months. All was good between them, but the future of course was not at all clear.

He was (still is) into meditation. Silent retreats, morning routine…… Cursing himself always as he tries to get something more from meditation; always rating the meditation abilities of the meditator: himself and the others in the groups he partakes in silence with.

All these comparisons are the hardest things to drop. Imagining the inner life of another person and longing to have an inner life comparable.

Most of us just want the kind of house or car or job or lifestyle or friends or lovers or wives that other people have.

Others want the peace and tranquility they see in others, or the assertiveness that they admire, or the creativity that allows some to shine.

We are rarely good enough as we are.

Joseph stayed on for about a month and our conversations and chess playing continued. I had kind of isolated myself aside from him and the the guest house and a couple restaurants. I was just keeping to my practice, studying the Gita, and beginning to strike upon a deeper understanding of duty and sacrifice. After a couple months I was like an old man sitting at my desk studying, reading, writing for most of the hours of a day. Shawls wrapped around me to protect me from the cold damp fog of Ganga in the winter. I was as focused and monkish as I’ve ever been. I was even practicing postures to promote celibacy and restraint.

And then Claire arrived at the guest house….

She arrived and took me away from everything I was doing. It was about three days later before I noticed. It was festival season in Varanasi. It’s always festival season. We were running around town like children: taking pictures of Muslims butchering buffalo for Id, watching as midnight pashmina deals turned into opium deals. I remember the bells ringing that never seemed to stop, everyone celebrating and praying and coming together to fill Kashi beyond its holy domain.

We came together in strange way. After being inseparable for a few days. The youngest brother of the guest house came to me and said that they’d overbooked and asked if Claire and I could share a room for a couple days. It was a crazy thing to request. I asked Sanjay about it and he didn’t want any part of the request, but he admitted the were over booked.

This was the strange sort of ‘set-up’ that brought us together. A few days later we were heading west on the train.

She had energy this girl. She wanted to see everything, explore. We would wander thru neighborhoods and the people would be out of their homes laughing like crazy at the way she played with the children and her camera. Her smile and joie de vivre was infectious. I was certainly infected with it. I’d almost completely forgotten who I was. I was following under her spell. It was wonderful.

But it was also too much for me. My energy was sapped. We got to Bhundi she fell ill first and spent an couple days in bed and I followed right behind her, sinking into the large comfortable room we’d found. And then, as if all of a sudden we were going to the door together and I was giving her a passionate kiss good bye. She returned the kiss, but none of the passion, ran down the stairs to the rickshaw the was waiting and flew back to France.

Three weeks had passed since I met her, I found myself completely at a loss. Heartbroken. More than all of that, all my focus had been kindof geared towards knowing better than to allow this to happen to myself. A three week affair ending in my broken heart couldn’t have been a starker reminder that all this talk and thought and suffering I did about my fate with women was just talk….. Bullshit. I wasn’t going to do anything about anything.

Letter to those who Wander

Dear Friends,

Our time together was brief, but in the space of moments we shared a comradery that is only possible between people whose paths are understood by each other. Within moments we became joined as brothers and sisters; they were beautiful moments as such moments always are. We spoke the loneliness of the road and the feeling of existing by the force of our own will alone.

As wanderers, all that is in front of us is a long road with many branches and no signs or guarantees. We carry no map and do not know where the road was going to take us. The regular maps that people use to take them through relationships and careers and life have failed us, so we have discarded them.

Wanting nothing more than to travel to interesting places and put ourselves into wholly unfamiliar situations, we’ve thrown ourselves into the world with the faith that somehow the world will look after us. We want only to meet new people and explore new perspectives. We are drawn by inspiration and consoled by faith. We are the dreamers and the chronically disappointed. We are the ones who seek… and seek… and seek. We are the Diogenes’ wandering with our lamps in search of an honest man. We are the Socrates’ with questions but no answers. We are the Hindu sages saying: “Not this, not this.”

Through our endless wanderings without meaning, playing the roles of neither monk nor householder, we have lost our homes. We have pulled our own roots from the ground and now we must wander, we must seek, we must keep moving. Finding is not really an option anymore. We know that our minds cannot be restrained. We have followed many paths and practiced many techniques and we know that all are good, all have their place, but we again move on. So long as the questions remain and the possibilities never cease, we must continue on our way singing quietly to ourselves the refrain: “Not this, not that.”

We have certainly considered this and that: becoming a householder or a monk. We feel the pain of not being able to commit in either direction. We have have shattered the bonds that restrain the householder, but we are helpless to the bonds of lust. We cannot shake our desire for sex and the emotional experience that accompanies it. So when personal love comes along we once again start to fret about the future and wonder if maybe there are not some way to overcome the purgatory of a wanderers life.

I have met many seekers who thought they had found something, and I feel great warmth in my heart when I hear such stories, but always there is a prelude of doubt and a refrain about the loss of possibility. I feel this doubt myself when I think I have possibly found something, but I forge ahead thinking that the struggle with these feeling will be good for me; that even if love is not forever, there is, none-the-less, a great lesson to be learned with each new love.

Commitment is a difficult thing for a seeker. We want to be prepared to look around any corner at any time; to explore any possibility that comes our way. In commitment we feel as though we are locked in one place, in one mode of behavior and one way of thinking. How can we possibly make any plan when we don’t know where we or our mind will be in the future? When change and the unpredictability of the future is all that we know, how can we expect anything from the future.

An endless stream of possibilities is always acting on ourselves personally and on the world we depend on. Without a moments notice any change can take place and we have accepted this as the natural order of things. This expectation of change is what rules us. We scoff at the words “forever” and “always”.

But in way it is this very thing we are searching for. We lost souls who have freed ourselves to search for ourselves are looking for some permanence within ourselves. We know that this self can only be found in the stillness of our minds, but we are a restless lot in our search for treasures of the soul; for this treasure we cast aside even the elusive treasures of the heart. We are looking for the philosophers stone and all else is merely distraction.

We are a daring group of people whose zest for life is unmatched. We are not afraid of the unknown and we know that it is our own perceptions that bring form and function to the world around us. And most importantly, we do not allow the world around us to determine our thoughts and emotions. We feel what we want to feel, and most often that feeling is love, joy and union. But neither are we bound to such flowery thoughts and feeling; we accept it all and don’t even let sadness get us down.

Our wandering is our penance for desiring permanence: a purposeless task that ensure only that we are exhausted by the end of the day. We have no place to be and nothing to do so we wander. On the road, alone, without sharing culture or language with anyone around forces us to go withing; to wander within ourselves. We know that in the end, every mans fate is the same and in knowing this we are free.

So my dear fellow travelers, mighty wanders of the soul, know too that you have inspired me with your every word and every silence, through your action and your stillness. Your pain, your joy, your hopes, your desires and your fears are all my own. I have been touched by your influence and I now share your fate. Thank you,

May you have peace in your hearts

Kutch: The Wild West of India

I made it to Bhuj in one piece. The bus trip wasn’t so bad: I slept. It was the ten hour train ride to go 250km that took my steam away. I’ve just come back to Bhuj after a week of hitching rides around this restricted border area (with a permit). I’ve walked too many miles down deserted desert roads praying to god that something would drive by to offer me hope of a ride. Motor bikes and buses and jeeps and coal trucks have all picked me up and taken me so far — sometimes depositing me at border intelligence to have my documentation scrutinized. Nikiforuk, it seems, is a Muslim name; I’m sure Indian intelligence is having a closer look at them as well as every other person who’s business card I happened to have on me (sorry y’all).

For lodging I have found Gurudwaras and Dharmassalas most hospitable; sleeping on thin mats laid out on concrete floors, stuffing much needed blankets in the holes of the walls to keep out the rats, and waiting for cows to be milked so I could be served chai. Walking down one particularly deserted road I came across a goat-herder with a great smile who offered me chai and then quickly rounded up his herd for grazing. The boy with him went off to milk a few goats while we collected a few scraps of wood to make a fire in a dry creek bed. He made chai for me while we made small talk as best we could (no one speaks English in these parts) and then I set off back down the road. I walked about 15km that day before I finally got a ride, that bit of chai was my only lunch.

And for two days I had a guide, a self appointed 78 year old Rajput man who sang and danced ever chance he got. He would yell at passing tractors to turn up their music which was already blaring, dance as they passed and then curse them when the music went out of reach. He cost me a small fortune (about 12 dollars) and I’ve cursed him a few times, but the friendship and the colour that he lent to the trip was invaluable.

There’s more, so much more I could say, but for now I have to go. In a few days I should be standing in front of the oldest sign-board that the world knows about (about 5000 years old). No one knows what it says, but why should that be important. Soon after, I’ll be going through caves with paintings that are over 12000 years old. But first I’m going to relax for a few days at the beach.

Kathmandu via Bihar: 2008

Patna, the capital city of the poorest and most dangerous state in India, is also the least hospitable. Last night I walked around for hours with my pack trying to find a place to stay. Most of the hotels clerks said said, “Full. No room.” Many others were more honest and said, “Sorry, no foreigners.” I tried taking a rickshaw at one point, but he spoke no English and just took me where he wanted rather than where I wanted. Another man came up to me on the street and asked, “What country?” I told him “Canada” and he replied, “Patna very dangerous for foreigners. Be very careful. Very, very much so.” And then he went away. Many security guards were kind to me and called for me to follow them to their hotels, often down dark alleys, but inevitably, the clerk would turn me away.

I did eventually find one hospitable place. A restaurant named Khazana e Tandoor (for those of you who don’t know, I used to manage a restaurant named Khazana). Although none of the serving staff spoke english, they were delighted with my ability to communicate in Hindi when I’m in a restaurant. They were very surprised when they tried to further the conversation only to lose me completely. The food was the best I’ve had in India, and everything they brought me was exactly what I expected, which doesn’t happen often. But then I walked out and the door man grumbled something to me in Hindi that I’m sure was not a nicety. I’ll be so happy to get back on the bus and finish my journey to Nepal.

After a refreshing stroll through Patna, we caught the overnight bus to the Nepal border. My seat refused to stay declined; instead what I had was a spring loaded seat that threatened to eject me at every bump which is what the road was made of: bumps and pot-holes. Buy the time I got to Nepal 10 hours later, I wasn’t sure if I got any sleep or not. I might have dozed a time or two, but sleep…..

At the border I was illegally charged Rs100 to have my passport stamped, but shared a good-time chai with my extortionist. My rickshaw driver also took advantage of my dream state by demanding Rs120 for a Rs40 trip. I gave him Rs90 and told him to beat it. On the Nepalese side, I was refused entry to the washroom, but appealed to what good nature the guard did have to get my travel partner (my wife for the brief span of this conversation) into the facilities. He wasn’t happy about it, but finally relented. I, on the other hand, found someone to guide me though someones home and into their back….. yard (of sorts) where where I was told I could “psht” (with a pinky finger arc) on their wall. Unfortunately, with the whole family looking on, I was unable to preform beyond a few drops.

The trip from the border to Katmandu was terrifying. The driver was fearless, the SUV was full beyond capacity, and the co-pilot rode on the roof. The scenery, thankfully, was breath-taking. About halfway here, I realized: “I’m in the Himalaya mountains. Holy shit, I’m actually in the Himalaya mountains.” The terraces and paths I was admiring have been there for thousands of years. This civilization I was driving past had been in place for thousands of years. This was so much bigger of a moment than India ever was. This is the fucking Himalaya mountains.