Friday, March 26, 2010

my cup runneth over, take a sip.. guzzle up..

*if youre already there... then there is nowhere to go...*

a wiser man than myself once told me that having options is a blessing and not a curse, i'll not be bogged down with the stress that options entail. we are curious animals... defense mechanisms and all... we make these rash decisions and swear by them. we announce them to the world without realizing that we are only thinking out loud and now we must live with what we have declared.

just go, man... run... get the hell out of here

and as for you (you), remember when i told you to build a vessel? a canoe? float in a river and take with you bright colored pens and paper? draw pictures of everything you see and meet me at the end? we'll compare notes... that thought overflowed from my heart like a glass of red wine on white tablecloth. sa'o lelei.

in the company of a beautiful pilgrim today i frowned at my indecision. i have no idea what i'm going to do and i'm fine with that. let the blessings rain 'til i drown.

Friday, March 19, 2010

hear in colour, what one must do to get to kyrgyzstan

the first step is to simplify. all of your life and existence must focus on down-sizing and lowering the standard of your living. in three months i will be man, backpack, tent and ukulele. contents of backpack take careful thinking and size of tent determines how noticable you are when sleeping in the small hills that mark the boundries of the beaten path.

the next step is to work out detailed visa information and take care of as much bullshit as possible ahead of time. i've found that visas for azerbaijan, turkmenistan and uzbekistan can be frustrating to those intend to pass slowly through by land. i'm working out a few of these details currently and i've set up a plan to meet with all five consulates (also including georgia and kyrgyzstan) while i'm here in istanbul to get all my paperwork beforehand. in both uzbekistan and turkmenistan i've learned that you need a written invitation to the country from their ministers of foreign relations and this can be taken care of in the consulates.

between the thick layers of every step along the path of preperation comes a very beautiful prospect: the final sensation of watching istanbul shrink in the distance as i begin my travels into the unknown.

i'm deeply considering bringing a companion for most of my black sea travel across turkey. a person i have in mind is one of my students who is from Rize, which is an infamous city close to the border of georgia. Rize is a must for my travel as well as the rest of the southern coast of the black sea. i'm in love with the karadeniz from the faces and smiles of the black sea people that live here in istanbul. they stand out. they have loads of character and personality. they're a little wild. music plays in their heads all day. they smile a lot. these happy people, the Laz as they are called, make living in istanbul a very curious experience. they remind us outsiders to look deeper into the people who have come to thrive in this city, we are all different.

it should be known that very very few people are "from" istanbul, at least not second generation. this is a place where people come to from all over turkey. geographically it is only a small shoulder to the large nation, and it is in the rest of the country's body that people hail from. to me, as a teacher, i find it important to encourage my students to share in discussion of where we are from. they get laughs out of when i speak in my detroit accent: yes you have an accent, and if you dont force yourself to speak clearly, nobody here will understand you. this fact and the phenomenon of learning turkish which is a phonetic language, makes you pronounce words differently than you used to. if i'm not careful (or if i've had a few beers) i begin speaking as if i am a person foreign to english; grammar gone, and emphasis on obscure syllables.

this brings us back to the present.. when i try to hide my jelly-brain when i'm in public. too much thinking about how i'm going to get to kyrgyzstan and what i'm going to do from there has made me a quiet person unless i slap my self out of social awkwardness. its all i talk about sometimes. i think i did this about samoa before i went too, its normal.

i'm going to kyrgyzstan from istanbul by land and sea. fuck yeah.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

kimsiniz? the strange and bless-edness of "who are you?"

what an absolutely strange question to ask someone, "who are you?". when you ask someone who they are you are asking them for the label of their identity. the question is asked and one of a couple million possible names is responded. sometimes only the first. sometimes the surname, or middle name, etc. and then the craziest thing of all happens: the person nods. why do we nod? is there some kind of approval being exchanged? this is why i prefer nickname. it takes people back a step.

o ha..

but isn't it nice when someone remembers your name?

a name that is as lonely as a grain of sand but as unique as a snowflake.

Sunday, March 07, 2010

with this love and no other love

nothing is sacred.

it is in this last breath of esoteric nonsense that i rub my eyes into clarity and with a softer voice i speak. i can transport myself into any of my travels when i sleep at night, sometimes when i am awake. often they are beautiful dreams of the worlds of sights and sounds i've come to know. i can see the beautiful teuila and hibiscus flowers of samoa as if they are still right in front of me lining the dirt paths to hidden and faraway villages. sometimes i can taste the crispness of the strange air around isla de ometepe in nicaragua, where i celebrated the closing of my 27th revolution around the sun, or kiss the lips of the beautiful italian girl who wished me happy birthday on the watchtower. i can still smell the stink of chinese water in the showers and recall both times the feeling of getting used to that smell and wondering if anything is truly different at all or just our perceptions.

now i am a man coming to the end of my 28th year of space flight around the sun. i am awake and dreaming. i am living and loving in the beauty of eastern-western-torn istanbul looking at a table with an empty wine glass and a mole skin journal which holds my exit stradegy along with my fate. every piece of this journey must be mathematically calculated to keep myself safe, preperation is the key. in this politically charged yet painfully friendly city i now live in i find myself in silent smiles towards the tribesmen and women i've come to know in the last six months. my story has landed a supporting actor role in their movies and i'll not feel the shame of failing to tell them the love of theirs that i bring with me always. "thats your problem chris, you love too much." -JH

what will become of me? whatever has happened in my life is a one-way process set in motion that cannot be reversed. this is the path i've chosen and i know when to listen to the scratches of dust in my throat. i'm awake now. with this love and no other love i watch the tide slap against the seawall at night and i begin to fathom the limits of our known universe. i'm lonely sometimes. not really. i just wish other people could feel this. i'm lonely in the sense that i feel alone with my thoughts. take a good look at my eyes next time you see me.. they've seen a lot..

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

this begins now

make everything you do a step closer to your goal:

mole-skin journal
no ***
clean the house
save money
push ups
meet with Baris and Mustafa (rize)
eat healthy
dont shave
dont cut hair

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Monday, March 01, 2010

alice and the protagonist

losing a journal is worse than losing a finger. i feel like this about my backpack (alice) as she is like a journal to me. she carries in her many pockets the stories i've come to tell and be told over the years. she's my pillow and we have similar tattoos. she has a complex security system blessed upon her from serendipity. you have to know the right way to equip yourself with her or she will cut a nasty gash in your arms. she worries about me when i leave her hanging on the back of my bedroom door for too long. she worries that i've forgotten about her sometimes but in the respect of great love i know when to give her space, when to understand our differences. but we are the same. i am her and she is me. one day she'll leave me and i'm not afraid. i'll cry for her but i'll know she is always moving. she'll know that in the losing of her i will learn a valuable lesson, perhaps one that will possibly someday save my life. there is no love like your first love.

our protagonist, aged 28 years, holding his true love alice. istanbul, turkey. traveler, lover of living, living of a lover. increasingly near-sighted, 5'10", 155lbs. vegetarian with a guilty pleasure for the occasional sea creature.