Zen in a Suitcase: Back to the Homeland Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda, Mozambique, Swaziland, and South Africa
We’re going back to the real homeland. I wonder if some of the white racist realize that we are all Africans. This is strange thinking of our ancestors hundreds of thousands of years ago making that long journey out of Africa.
26 November 2019 – Last Day in Vermont 6 November 2018 “Zen Mind, Travel Mind, and Minding the Gap.”
Zen Mind, Travel Mind, and Minding the Gap
Over the next few months, i will be writing, photographing, making art, music on the road. Last day in Vermont till March. The hundreds of things that I would’ve liked to have finished, the poems and the artwork that I want to get out. All this will have to wait for the road. Though I’d like to fashion myself as a freewheeling Gypsy, I am too burdened with the pleasant accouterments of my life in Vermont. I wish that I could leave my laptop behind, but it is too much part of my daily life. Though I am able to slenderize much of my life to a 36″ x 20 suitcase, as the jaded Zen Gypsy traveler I bring my guitar, my laptop, my tennis racket, and yes and manage to even slip in some clothes. I wish I were like the kids now who are ultra light travelers.
That is always perfect balance. Between the familiar comfort and being able to write on the road. I had tried my surface Pro but it feels too much like a toy. Unfortunately, I need the familiarity of my computer. Especially on this journey of some several thousand miles.
What will I discover in Africa? The obvious the people, the landscape, the hopes and perhaps discover a little bit of extraordinary cultures. I had been speaking with one human rights organization in Tanzania and their interest in having a conversation around arts and human rights. That is the kind of interaction I find very satisfying. How does art become a vehicle for social change?
There is a sadness in leaving the familiar routine, but there is another part of me that was ready two months ago for another road trip. I know the next five days will be a hellacious journey of airports and discombobulating. And then we will slowly gently land to Kenya.
Everything packed tomorrow we leave at 7 AM and fly to Atlanta, and then an overnight to Amsterdam. Six hours in Amsterdam and then to Kenya. Five days of discombobulating. But then we settle in to our rhythm. Finding that rhythm and travel is key. Some people just never find their rhythm. We find the rhythm with each other. We have traveled together for so long that we know what our comfort points and how to make a rough journey smoother. We find our rhythm in staying with some of the familiar things that we love to do like artwork, playing guitar and writing, and photographing.
So with a head full of knowledge and insights about our journey ahead, we endeavor to always keep that Zen mind. A mind that is innocent and open, unencumbered by prejudice and experience. Finding that wonderful balance, between embracing the new and familiar, surrendering the old, and taking each day as it comes on its own terms.
Why do we travel? My wife Zoe and I have traveled all of our lives. We are naturally curious about the wider world and the culture and people. It is our bread and water, it is what sustains us. Traveling deeply informs me and enriches my life. I could not imagine a life where I didn’t travel. As kids we traveled on the cheap with the backpack and a few pesos in our pocket. Often times there was little or no planning. In the days before Internet and maps in an instant, we need to rely on instinct and paper maps. We slept on park benches and graveyards, on beaches, and hammocks for a few pesos a night. Now, as we are in our mid-60s, we prefer a wee bit more comfort. A two star hotel is far more preferable than sleeping on a park bench. Our destination is guided by GPS. Our backpacks are Eagle Creek suitcases on wheels. But we still keep that same sense of adventure and wonder