Sunday, August 28, 2011

Detroit, Michigan

this morning, sunday morning, i woke up on my friend's couch to the long-lost and beautiful sounds of church bells. my ears first heard their sounds long before i opened my eyes and i felt something come over me suggesting that a very long chapter of my life had drawn to a close. i knew the next sounds of worship i would hear would be those of the imam's ezen calling from the mosques of a city i have come to know for two years as home.. and i knew that would be the last time i'd see my detroit friends for a long while.

last night was amazing. the first touches of our glasses began with one of those in-depth conversations about a god who we have never seen or heard yet somehow silences all of us. i also saw the shadows of the future looming far in the distance as i looked to what will surely be a very interesting year for myself and those who i have come to know and love. i met with some of the best people this world has created and sank into a few of the best conversations i have ever had.

i know in every walk of this earth that i am blessed.

the night turned into a great night of detroit, finding our way onto the fooftops of an estranged old building, turned loft, turned late night venue and with everything in its right place i became deeply immersed in laughter and hugs.

we come from a different breed. we're the kind of people that make people from the suburbs of the midwest uncomfortable and one could only imagine how someone like us comes off to the people of another culture. we actually care about things too and we see the human species as one of great potential. this life is ours to write a book full of chapters of experience and stories and we appreciate those who take the time to share a few pages.

my travels have taken me to a lot of strange and beautiful places but i'll never again find a place like detroit. i've never met such crazy mother f**kers and i've never seen such unique places to reside. where else can one turn abandonment into such a vessel of art and creativity?

and we feel our time and place.

i remember the first few weeks of my residence in detroit when i used to take long walks down the train tracks near the new center. me and my new friends met a few people perhaps ten years our senior who had found their time and place in detroit and i knew at that moment i would one day be among the experienced of this town.

and here i am.

i've expatriated into a new land and a new life yet one cannot change where he is from. i take with me the soul of my city and the experiences i've found here are among the cracks in my eyelids - i wouldn't trade a single moment.

and now its time to leave. see you again, friends.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

the pale blue dot..

this picture really inspired me. it was taken in february 1990 by Voyager 1 and has since been an icon of how tiny our planet and its inhabitants are. yet somehow i find great comfort in my perception of what defines 'endlessness', my lifetime will not see an end to the exploration of this tiny planet and i'm fine with that. its really not bad being tiny.

as tiny and extremely temporary as we are however there is much love to be found. i think that it is in this nothingness that we can all relate to things that make us feel as if we are a part of something bigger, perhaps the institution of friendship or the importance of community. in that nothingness we find opportunities to run away together into the farthest corners of our pale blue dot to be in each other's company. we shout to the skies as if they cannot hear us when we whisper and sit at the same feast at the same fire. we mark our faces and forget that the existence of time ever touched our lives.

yet it all seems so limitless..

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

we wanderers..

a prophet once said, "don't tell me what a man says, don't tell me what a man knows, tell me where he has traveled."

i had this strange feeling again for the first time in about two months. i was on the train from chicago to detroit, recently departed from my visit to a few of my oldest friends, and suddenly that overwhelming sensation of being alone and separated from the rest of the world took me over. when you dont speak for long periods of time the world becomes a place of sights and sounds. the view from the window of my train cabin shows endless nature cut off by jolting visions of speeding trains blasting by you in the opposite direction. youre alone with your thoughts. you have one and only one reaction to what travels you have just experienced: you smile and nod or you gaze endlessly to the land of regret. i'll not stare off into regret.

coming home is like being a wild animal returned to his own kind. suddenly youre important and your stories somewhat matter to people. youre an ambassador of worldly knowledge and as my father has told me youre responsible for the education to others about the cultures you have visited; to a traveler the world grows bigger but to those we visit it is our job to erase the borders of perception.

i love this job. i love old maps. i love food. i love people with jet-black hair and green eyes. i love the funny languages they speak and i also love the even funnier one i speak. we sit at the table that somewhat resembles a united nations meeting, each of us from different countries. our fathers and grandfathers may have killed each other but we drink together. its an amazing feeling to be seated at that feast.

yet it all seems so limitless.. until you find yourself gazing from the window of a train or nodding off in an empty airport terminal at 4am. youre alone again. your shadow begins to fade from the memories of your companions and you become a story. you hold in your hand the tiny scraps of paper they have written their email addresses on and your shirt smells like their cigarettes but you are gone and nobody knows where you are. i felt this when i left Ohrid. i felt this in albania, sicily the black sea and virtually every place i have wandered away from alone. there is, in fact, a great deal of learning one can endure upon being alone. you will always surprise yourself.

this chapter is about three weeks from drawing to a close and i will have completed four solid months of vigorous travel. i've been to twelve countries and three states. i've met some of the most interesting people this world has to offer and i've worn lines on the sides of my eyes as one wears notches on the side of their belt. i'll return to istanbul and begin a new chapter; one with art, music and lively nights. i'll take residence in a different part of the city, in fact a different continent and there i will bind the pages of what is to be the next chapter of my travels sometime next year.