This is a daylog, and I feel free in form.
This is a medium, writing on a node is a medium, different to me than simple writing. Maybe I am not as good at this medium as I wish, or than I am at mere writing, but that doesn't matter. Here I am free in form.
I have things I wish to say, this forum is wonderful. So many beautiful things are scattered in between pages of political treatise and random explosions of data, but they are all beautiful to someone. I wish to give back.
I am traveling. I am on the road. I have been on the road for some time now. I write these emails to my friends, maybe you gotten one or one like it. When someone travels they often write large emails to friends about the things they see and feel. Traveling can make one feel profound. It happens.
My emails however are of a different medium, I cannot find a way to put them here. They are daylogs that span many weeks and take up many pages. But I wish to give back.
This is the truth: We'll say I started years ago, September, 2000. I had quit high school a few years before and now was the time I would be going to college, so I decided I would take a whack at it and went across the country to Evergreen College in Olympia. This is the beginning, me living on the soles of my feet. I am no longer near anyone I know. I am responsible for my self.
College soon looked like a complete waste of time (and money) and so I left after six months, this is also a beginning. I went to Guatemala because I was young and didn't know what to do. It was beautiful. Broken glass covered sidewalks. Firecrackers and roosters making noise at all hours. Working at a guerrilla radio station. Sharing lunch with glue sniffing street kids. I was away from my country for the first time, truly responsible for getting home safely every night. After 2 months I went home to work.
I am still traveling. I work on an island off the coast of New Hampshire. It is in America, but it is not America. No cops. No money. 3 cars. It's small, and mostly run by the seagulls. What's left for us humans is run by around 100 kids my age. Work hard, but have fun. I leave with the resolution to keep traveling.
The plan was to go to Europe with two friends, Europe seems like the inevitable destination. But one should never make plans, plans can fail. Instead one should have ideas up to the last second, I could do this. Ideas can change. And I changed mine from Europe to Cuba, but I didn't have enough money yet from my island job, so first I went to China (make sense?).
I was to make money teaching english in China. I taught in the rural farmlands of Anhui, I taught in a fishing island off of Shanghai, I traveled all around in the six months I had. Making scenes in Shanghai night clubs. Running down broken sections of the great wall. Taking illegal pictures of terra-cotta soldiers. I slept on rusty mountain tops of Wu Tang fame in monasteries, and ate beautiful simple meals with monks. I made enough money to go to Cuba.
I had one week in America between China and Cuba, and because I was fleeing SARS I had to fly to New York instead of my native Boston. Here I accidentally met my friend Harrison, a friend from when I was young, and his three Swedish friends who he studies with in Sweden. Here I also fell in love with one.
But then it's Havana, I'm drinking mojitos and walking down the malecon, I'm hearing Castro speak on May Day, I'm living in a small colonial town on the south of the island. I'm smoking cuban cigars and lying on the beach. I got a barber to give me a mohawk in Havana (he made me promise not to tell where I got it), and later a different barber (proved afterwards to be drunk and loose in the head) took a straight razor and made the sides of my head very smooth. After he cut my hair he told me he loved me. I love life. But soon, too soon, my month is up and even sooner, my money. So for the last to days I couldn't eat, for lack of cash, and ended up in Toronto on a bus back to Boston feeling real hunger for the first time in my life.
Does the journey end here? Does it begin again? I take a bus across country, four days, to Bellingham, then a boat (wonderful alaska marine highway) for two days north to Petersburg, Alaska. I work for two months, 16, 18, 20 hours a day, losing my mind in a fish processing plant. I have a very special job, out of 400 people only 2 other people have my job. As the salmon come down this long (10 meter) machine they get all their bits cut off. The machine is called the iron chink because it used to be done all by chinese people. Now however, blades come slicing down and cut off the heads, then the fish are flipped up into a wheel that cuts off everything else. My job is when a fish gets caught, to stick my hand up in the machine and pull out the fish. You can turn off the machine, but not too often because we lose 500 lbs. a minute. Every single person that had my job got injured or went insane, and eventually of course I got injured. My finger got sliced, but I got lucky because they day before me someone lost the same finger to the knuckle.
I made money, not enough, but I made money and bought a one-way ticket to Sweden. One way, I guess I'll figure out the way back someday in the future. After a month and a half in Sweden with the girl who has since become my girlfriend, and in fact even in cold Scandinavia, love can occur, I took a boat to Estonia. The journey ends, the journey begins, the journey continues. The plan is to got to India, someday, and never use a plane. Planes are cheating. We took trains through Russia. I saw a brown bear being ran down the side of the street in St. Petersburg, in a muzzle. I saw countless beautiful churches. I lived in houses run by a puppet theater, run by the circus, I saw Lake Baikal in winter time and ate the caviar sold by the lake. I spent a week in Siberia, -30 degrees celsius, where it hurt to breath and everything is covered in ice, before catching a train back to Beijing.
I spent my second, and third time on the great wall, hiking sections untouched by tourism. No one asked me to buy anything, or charged me anything. Walked down mountain tops on the decayed wall by the light of the full moon. Climbed on top of a guard tower in daytime and flipped my arms up, flying on top of the world. Wandered the forbidden city, through a place choking on its own history. We lived in a hutong south of Tiananmen square, an old alleyway of chinese culture.
I just got to Guangzhou, by train. I am in the south of China. It is 20 degrees celsius. After Siberia, I appreciate this fact very much. Jenny, my girl, says- This is the part I like, when we don't know what will happen next. I am trying to find a job teaching english to pick up some more cash to continue on. We have no guidebook, no friends, no clue as to where we are in anywhere. We just wander around and do what we want. Life is amazing.
This is long, maybe out of place, but it doesn't matter much to me. I have seen beauty inside a world that can sometimes look very ugly, and I wanted to show a little of it here. Or maybe I just wanted to tell a bunch of strangers that I have discovered this wonderful thing, something I have never known or rarely seen before. I have fallen in love and I don't ever want to get up. My heart has burst open from me trying to stuff the world and a girl inside, and some of has seemed to spill here.