Archive for March, 2003

This is Marmaris in Turkey. I remember the morning I took this picture. The entry I made in my personal journal pretty much sums up why the next few years of my life will suck: Nothing can compare.

I think I was half delirious when I wrote this:

There is nothing like moving….nothing. I had the most bestest time in Rhodos and I’m hungover at 7:00 in the morning waiting on a boat to Turkey. Everyone is asleep…the whole city. And I’m singing at the top of my lungs….singing…at 7 in the morning. I even hate mornings.

Travelling can erase even that. If I weren’t so fucking happy, excited about the coming day, in a new place, another country, I would be sad. I left a great girl…too fucking early to think. What else on the planet can make 7 in the morning and hungover one of the best mornings of your life? Only if you’re a month and a half on the road and going to Turkey, the sun rising over the city walls on empty streets.

These other people are just misreable, but they’re all looking at me, and I’m waiting too…and they’re better for it. There is nothing like moving…like an exclamation point in the book of your life. If I described my emotions they would scream fun, fun, happy, happy, way too early, I’m one of the luckiest people in the world, eat my ice cream and drink my coffee and just fucking enjoy it. Moments like this make everything worth it.

I got really drunk last night and bared my soul to an almost stranger….and she pretty much understood…in just one night. It is nice to have someone listen and more than I could ask that she actually get it. Amazing…Travel can be like a ticket off the planet…suspend nearly every rule I have…and it works. Imagine that??

Travelling really can be an ephiphany. At the end of the day we are all chasing that feeling anyway. We may look for rational explanations, but they are after the fact.

Life is an emotional act. We invent a rationale that suits how we feel about a given situation and wrongly assume we’ve made a rational decision. If our emotional reaction to a situation changes, we simply find a new rationale to suit how we feel.

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I was at a bar last night. Everyone was watching the TVs and they all said the same thing: War with Iraq has begun. And then they showed this live feed from Baghdad of an empty street. It didn’t much look like a war, just an empty street.

This girl we were with was really drunk. She started talking about politics….in a bar. I told the girl she was talking to that everyone knows you can’t talk about politics, religion or past romantic relationships at bars. It is a serious buzzkill.

This chick takes issue with everything I say. I think she likes me or something. Like in elementary school when you used to be mean to the cute girl with blond pigtails. But she did bring up an interesting point.

When is it proper to talk about politics and religion? Or more specifically, when do I talk about it? Honestly, almost never. She took that to mean that I have no opinions and don’t care in general. While it is true that I am often apathetic, I do have strong opinions. I just keep them to myself.

In my experience, people just like to hear themselves talk when it comes to stuff like that. It makes them feel good to express their opinion, but it does not make them feel good when your opinion is different than theirs.

People cannot keep from taking it personally. When your view differs from theirs, they always somehow associate that with an attack on themselves. They feel judged. And the discussion digresses into arguments of semantics and then things just get plain petty…then ugly.

I have opinions. I’ve expressed them in the past. It mostly got me judged and pigeonholed. You stand to gain the most when your opinion is the same as the majority or the side that will eventually win. I didn’t really like learning that and have trouble doing it. There is some strange attraction to telling everyone what you think, especially when you’re in the minority. Galileo did it, was proved correct and change the world forever. On the flip side he got put to death for it….alot of good it did him.

So….do I have an opinion about the war? Not really. What is done is done. Let it be speedy and decisive and let us move on with our lives.

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The weekend was rather slow, but enjoyable.

It is supposed to rain all week, until friday, so I don’t anticipate that I’ll have a very good week. I don’t like rain, except in the middle of the summer when it is really hot and you get an afternoon shower that cools things off and I am at the lake so I can see the raindrops hit the water and then have a cookout after it stops and maybe pitch some horseshoes…….other than that I don’t much like the rain.

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All those transcendental people are always talking about living in the moment and not letting thoughts of the past or future distract from each precious second of existence. Great idea in theory I suppose but it doesn’t work worth a crap for me.

I love the past. I love planning for the future. If it weren’t for future plans and memories of the past I don’t think I’d be able to endure the present.

On a different note I got my first mosquito bite of the year today. Spring is coming.

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Here is an excerpt from my book, which is actually an entry from my personal journal….which is largely how I wrote an entire book in about 3 months:

Travelling is the Great Reset Button. Whatever you thought or thought you thought can and probably will be erased with enough time on the road. Everything you hold dear is useless somewhere in the world. What were your problems can become your assets; what was taboo is accepted. There are places sex is free and religion never heard of. There are people whose beauty will be ugly to you and whose paradise would be our prison. Travelling wipes it all away, sometimes the good with the bad, but it’ll show you that life can be so many different things and how dare anyone claim they have a monopoly on the truth.

People get their cars and phones and TVs and a little money and they think they know who they are and what life is. But they’re too stationary to know anything. If you drive that car, and talk to the same people, and sit on the same sofa everyday you’re a fixture the same as the your living room furniture. Those things you think you control have become you. They’ve defined your life for so long you’re not separate from them. If you took all that stuff away you would be left with someone who’d finally realize they didn’t know anything except how to use that money to buy a phone to talk to those same old people about stuff they’d forgotten why they cared about in the first place.

But thats how you come to know. Remove every one of the things that you have and strap on a backpack with a change of clothes and a tootbrush and just go without direction. Don’t let anything define your life. Let reality pass by so fast it blurs and whatever is left is you. That is the only way to really know yourself. If you learn something sitting still it only applies if props stay the same, but when you learn something travelling you know it for good and always..

I don’t really know if I agree with that anymore…or at least wholly. It is true that there are things you can only learn about yourself on the road.

It is very easy to get lost in the things and forget why you were doing it in the first place. It is true that the props define your life for so long they become you. And that is the place where I disagree with myself: The props become part of who you are. You can’t leave them and learn about yourself on the road because you have literally left yourself behind. The person you would learn about on the road would not be the person you really are….that person is partly defined by a set of props.

I guess my main departure is that before I considered the props to be a hinderance to learning about who you really are. But props can be good. You are defined by where you live, the sports you play, the friends you keep, your car, clothes, house, job, etc. Most people don’t really care that these things control their life….most people would consider these things as having a life. And that is one of the downsides of travel.

Travel has allowed me to know myself in a way few will ever experience. I know what I am like when nothing from the past and nothing familiar defines me. I know who I am at night when there is nothing else there. But I am not sure it has allowed me to know myself better…just differently.

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I wrote a book one time. I go back and read it when I feel like it. I can’t say its a masterpiece, but it has a value to me. And some of it is not only good, but bordering on perfect. When you say exactly what you want and it expresses that unspoken thing in so few words and you almost feel like it must’ve felt to live it.

And that is the great achievement of literature, one that still stands far above the achievements of science: Literature can help you understand how it feels to be someone else, to live in their shoes. Science tells us everything about the conditions of existence, but brings us not one step closer to knowing what it would be like to be someone else, to live that alternate life.

Science will put an astronaut on the moon, but only a book can send a janitor.

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