Its not often that you know you are taking your first steps on a quest. Usually you suddenly become aware after sometime that is has just happened and you are walking a path to your dreams. When I locked the door for the last time with the keys inside and walked away from my home “The Castle” is Kansas City, it was the start of a quest, a journey and a pilgrimage into the unknown. I have sold all of my belongings, including the house, and reduced myself to a backpack, intent to travel the world for at least 3 years with 2 goals and a pretty lose idea of where to go and when to be there. My quest is to learn how to live in the world, right now at this moment, fully content and happy. I want to discover what elements this takes. My two goals in discovering this way of living revolve around Meditation and Sustainable Living. Obviously im starting this quest with what I know looking for the unknown, to experience the unknown and be changed by it. Inherent in this process is the fact that my goals, viewpoints and everything else about me might change or might not. Anicca, the Pali term for impermanence, which is the Law of Nature (everything is always changing) is pretty much my guiding light. To understand that everything, good and bad, is always changing and resolving to be at peace with this Law is the characteristic that Meditation will bring to me on this quest. Visiting communities around the globe who are focused on sustainable living practices such as farming, community building, and holistic living will be my practical application of experiencing a new (at least to me) lifestyle.
At the young age of 28 I will be challenging myself to let go of what I know; to allow what is unknown to pour into me, to be changed by those experiences and then with the wisdom gained to better understand what it is that I am really looking for. I at least know upfront that I am looking for something I can’t define and I can’t quite place my finger on it. I have reduced it down to my two goals because those are the nearest concepts I can place that will help me experience whatever longing desires to be expressed. What I want is perhaps what many of my generation want and cannot express in clear language. The more I explain to people what I am doing and why, the more a light goes on in their eyes that they also want something quite similar and hadn’t quite gotten around to fully forming this idea and acting on it. People are searching for connection, purpose, and community. Things the digital age seems to give us, but our intrinsic nature isn’t being fooled, we want the real deal. My personal life goal in this quest seems to be, discover what Truth can be found and to bring it back to share with others. To be one of the forerunners, do the hard work, so that others may benefit and make their transition easier. I have a long term goal of making my own sustainable community to implement what I love about life and what I will soon be learning (and this may change), but the end goals in this community would be 1) To live a wonderful daily experience, and 2) To share this experience with anyone who wises to try something new. I learned long ago that without the experience of something new it is impossible to change. I want to create this place so that people may come, experience something new and be transformed by it, if even just the smallest amount. To plant a seed in all who visit, and to nurture that seed in all who stay. That is what my quest is about; to experience new ways of being on this planet and collect those seeds and watch them grow and see what blooms.
The purpose of this blog is to update all those who follow on the seeds of experience that I collect along the way. Some people of course just want to know where I am (Hi Mom) and what I’m doing, in which I believe this will be the best source of information as well as the link of this on Facebook. I had struggled with the idea of disconnecting myself almost entirely from the internet as I traveled and the many requests of friends and family to start a blog to keep them informed. In archetypal language I am on a Hero’s journey; going off into the world, leaving behind all that is known to hopefully succeed in being transformed and bringing back sacred knowledge to the community. Joseph Campbell has outlined the steps of this most common story, found in most movies and through out all literature. My specific journey is that of stepping into adulthood and manhood; discovering exactly who I am as an individual and what I have to bring to this experience of life. I will be recording my journey in my journal, and whatever insights arise will be translated into digital to share. I can’t promise how often this will occur, but I can promise that what I post will hopefully be insightful and may also plant a seed in your awareness.
I have a sort of itinerary for my first year of travel. I will begin with a 10 day Vipassana Meditation course in Shelburne Falls, Massachusetts. This is something I have been looking forward to since I first heard about it from some couchsurfing friends who had just completed their 10 day courses around the world. To be further enhanced by a friend and roommate Taylor who had done 2 of them back to back. Finding 10 days off was the issue, but now that my job has been resolved I think an intense meditation course is the best way to initiate the change from old to new. Following this I will be doing a 2 month internship at an organic greens farm in South DartmouthMA. A long time friend of the family I am staying with, Eva of Eva’s Greens has taken me in and will give me my first experience of what it takes on a day to day to grow a lot of food. As sustainable living is based on your ability to grow most of your own food this will be another critical skill and continuing experience along my journey. On August 28th I leave the United States for 3 years, starting with 3 months in France and a few trips to neighboring countries. Then I travel to India for up to 6 months. I have a 3 month work/meditation program at the Osho Meditation Retreat in Pune India. After that experience I may stay on or travel India, who knows. From there I am a blank slate. I leave this purposely open so that I may say YES to whatever the universe brings me. When you travel you meet so many people and they always offer such amazing experiences or places to visit. Without an itinerary I can say yes to any and all that seem best to fit my mood at the time and that is the best gift I can give myself. I have a hit list of countries I want to visit, not limited to but definitely including, Japan, Bali, Nepal, Egypt, South Africa, Morocco, New Zealand, All of South and Central America, and the rest of Europe I haven’t seen already. I want to spend some time on a sail boat, diving in the ocean, learn to paraglide, walk from the shire to mordor, take a vipassana course in every country I intend to stay more than a month in, visit every hot spring I can dip myself into and eat the most amazing food. This list will only grow as time moves on, but that is what is in store.
For those who always are asking how can you do this? I have a budget of 30$ a day (that’s 12k a year), I plan on wwoofing a lot, I plan on courchsurfing a lot, I plan on volunteering or even working at retreats/centers/farm etc. While transportation is probably my main expense, I am aiming at a lifestyle that is sustainable and mostly free. Trade your time for food and a place to stay is a lot of the way I will be going around the world. This isn’t a vacation, its hard work, self development and the basis of what I hope is the rest of a wonderful life. It’s also a vacation! And it might just be the easiest thing I do! Or the hardest thing I do! From what I used to call work, work now must be also play and learning at the same time. I did work very hard, behind a desk for 5 years and I did save enough money to pay my way around the world, although I want to learn how to travel for mostly free and love all the experiences that can be gathered. Anyone can save enough to travel, it depends on your priorities. For instance, a 1500$ plane ticket to SE Asia, plus 3-400$ a month will get you a 4 month beach retreat for 3k total. If the idea of scraping together 250$ a month for 1 year (125$ over 2 years) sounds too hard to live at the beach for 4 months well then you might be stuck in the cultural trance or just not a world traveler. I struggled for 3 of those 5 years knowing that working behind a computer was not what I loved to do in life. I made good money and had a comfortable lifestyle, but the essence of life was missing and I knew it everyday. I am still recovering from all the justifications I gave myself to stay put and keep making money all those years. Just so you don’t get the wrong idea, this trip is in no way justification or a reward for all those years of work. I was unaware of my fears keeping me stuck and I am now at least free of that fear, free to move on. I also happened to save enough money, just because of my thrifty nature and deeply knowing I wanted to change my lifestyle. The hardest and easiest decision to quit my job changed everything. I don’t envy anyone the struggle it is to give up that security of money, and if you have other responsibilities like a family or are in debt, it is even harder. However, giving up what makes you unhappy to follow something that makes you happy no matter the cost, is a trade I will now take every time. Again it is something you have to experience, and I plan to put my experience to good use, for the benefit of others.
I hope this lengthy post explains enough about what I am about to do in my life, why, and a bit about who I am. It is my sincere wish that everyone finds true happiness in their lives. To free themselves from misery and to enjoy each moment as it arises no matter what is occurring. This power of choice we have all been given is jaw-droppingly the most amazing gift. You get to choose what you want to do, be, think every moment and you can always change it! Remember nothing is being done to you, you are choosing it, and if you don’t like it choose something else. This includes how you feel, choose to be happy and surround yourself with wonderful experiences of what inspires happiness in you. Remember Anicca, that everything is always changing, even your happiness. Enjoy your suffering and then enjoy your happiness, both are a part of the journey. Blessings to each of your journeys, may you all be enlightened and liberated.