Portugal and Spain Bound
Volcanoes spouting, and the worst fires in the world raging through parts of Indonesia right now, and because of ash and haze, all flights cancelled yesterday and probably today, (and on many other days over the last few weeks). The horary chart I just ran says I will get on my flight to Hong Kong tomorrow, (?I think?), or could it be saying I get to spend more time in beloved Bali? Here's hoping those devastating fires are contained as soon as possible, any personal inconveniences are less than dust specks by comparison to the danger many face.
Building and designing until almost the last minute, tiniest house is going to be magical, (we hope), and our brand new carved wooden dragon got here just in the nick of time.
On board... let the 18 + hours of junk food and movies begin, (I live by the credo that when you're that far above the planet, all normal rules carry no weight either), it makes the time that much more fun.
USA, November, 2015
Instantly switching worlds via jet plane never ceases to rattle the senses, (in a good way). And Asia to America for some reason is one of the most startling shifts of all. From complete mythical magical ritual saturation to... absolutely none. Not a criticism, just an observation. Travel is about loving it all (even the hard parts). Thankful for the privilege and the freedom.
America is the original version of modernity. We are the dubbed or subtitled version. America ducks the question of origins; it cultivates no origin or mythical authenticity; it has no past and no founding truth. Having known no primitive accumulation of time, it lives in a perpetual present.
― Jean Baudrillard
“Xmas" occurs several times a year in this nomadic life I lead. Every time I return somewhere I have a stash of belongings, I rediscover things I had 100% forgotten. Even my favourite red polka dot cardigan had not crossed my mind once in the last 5 months... although I must say I was quite chuffed to be reunited with it. Can’t say if I’ve even thought about my car much, except to wonder if the battery would hold. It didn’t.
It’s not the same with adventures, not a single day passes when I don't get a flashback that lets me relive either sailing through the Med, horse back riding in Mongolia, trekking in Bolivia, being in the Galapagos, Myanmar, Laos, Borneo, Peru, Nepal, India, or any other place I’ve been blessed to visit.
This acute object amnesia is the best reminder ever that material possessions mean absolutely nothing, and I have zero doubt about the best investments I’ve made this lifetime.
Still, I'm having a lot of fun unpacking.
Just randomly opened a notebook, and there was my leaf from the bodhi tree, in Bodhgaya, India.
Last February I was sitting under this very tree with about 100 other souls, (monks and pilgrims primarily), many deep in meditation. Whenever a leaf came down, (and you definitely can’t just take them), there would be a bit of a (dignified) scramble, monks and all, to reach it. It was a rather sweet show of trying not to be too attached, but oh, how we would all love to have a tiny piece of this incredible place to actually hold. I decided to just sit there and see what happened, and sure enough one fluttered right to my feet, (and my heart truly did skip several beats when it happened… so I know I’m nowhere near enlightenment).
Must be a 100+ obvious metaphors around this. All of them delight me.
How I wish there was a world flag, that's the one I want to post. We're all sharing one beautiful little planet, and making a complete holy mess of it, in every way possible. Praying for unity, futile though it seems.
California life; hills to climb, dogs to walk, balls to throw.
And the endless beautiful oak trees.
And then suddenly... a herd of zebras! Only in Californ-i-a.
Just looked it up and the other names are; a dazzle, herd or zeal of zebras. How perfect is a dazzle of zebras.
A 12 year old boy just spent the whole day resolving every ongoing, frustrating, niggling major and minor problem on my computer, casually and confidently, with zero fuss or bother. When I asked him where he learned all this, he turned and looked me in the eye and said, "I just know".
I bow down in respect to his techno savvy generation with awe and appreciation. You aren't old enough to be on Facebook yet, Jude... but thank you, thank you, my kind and patient little friend.
What we forget is that what we call the "Vietnam War", "Korean War", "Iraqi War" or wherever we are at war, the residents of that country call the "American War". When travelling the world it always gives you a very different perspective to hear them called that, particularly because there are so many of those "American Wars".
And yes, many of those wars are defensive, (in particular WW11).
For a country with relatively few attacks on its own soil in the last century (and may that continue), it is important to note, especially because our brutality towards one another is also off the charts.
P.S. These are facts other countries study and take note of, so we need to know them ourselves, no matter which political corner we stand in.
Heaven help me, please. Daughter just gave me the Ancestry.com DNA test for Xmas, (very exciting), and I haven't even sent the thing in and I've already found all kinds of stuff about my long lost father... who I haven't seen since 1966. I feel like Alice having just plunged down the rabbit-hole, which would be all fine and dandy if I didn't have a very long list of things that must be done above ground... like client work and workshop organising essentials.
So finally I dragged myself away, and then suddenly I find myself on Facebook. My cursor made me do it.
Gandhi once said, “One can measure the greatness of a nation and its moral progress by the way it treats its animals. Cow protection to me is not mere protection of the cow. It means protection of all that lives and is helpless and weak in the world. The cow means the entire subhuman world.”
Packing for Portugal. 50 lbs of luggage allowance, 43 lbs of it already taken up with stuff for Madame Tara Roberts, things that apparently cannot be found in the UK, (or are half the price here).
I'm officially a sherpa for my daughter, and most happily so. All that empty space will be then freed up for those awaiting Moroccan casbahs.
My nomad blood is rising.
What the....? Was just in the bank, when another (elegantly dressed) customer smiled at me and said; "you look so cute and comfy, I sometimes go to the mailbox in my pyjamas, too". Okay, I was wearing a flannel shirt and my cosiest fleecy sweats, but I really didn't think I'd slid that far into fashion fauxpasdom.
Faithful little Ford Escort back into hibernation, with its brand new solar battery charger, let's hope it makes those jumper cables defunct. Plus, it is covered in piles of rocks and planks to hopefully keep its "coat" on during the anticipated El Ninos. I have promised it a lovely scenic road trip to Seattle when I get back here in the Spring.
Before another California sun pops up, I'll be on my way to yet another journey through those vast and friendly skies. Let the adventure begin.
Madrid and Portugal, December, 2015
Olé. A bath and a giant nap and I should be ready to flamenco, (or at least to have a coherent conversation). Solamente, one more flight to go.
5am, and I am looking out over the most glorious panoramic view of the cathedral and old city of Porto. The astrologer in me always ascribes it to Jupiter ruling my chart and sitting exactly on the IC, but whatever it is, I spend my whole life looking at breathtaking views. Thank you airbnb, for this particularly special one. The best gift ever is that Tara and Ricardo are in the other room. Their flight was hours late getting in so have not really seen them yet, plus my luggage rebelled and stayed in Madrid, (or somewhere!), and I sit and happily drink my tea. Content and waiting.
Portugal; laid back and soulful, or maybe they're just all digesting? We just literally ate our way across Porto with what seemed like all the locals. Took in some glorious sights along the way. Amazing tile work everywhere.
A glorious Xmas with our new family in Portugal. And I was given the best news of the day: there are no calories in Europe.
DNA results in, I'm almost as Scandinavian as I am Celtic. Not surprising as the east coast of Scotland was easy pickings for those marauding Vikings. But there explains my passion for sailing ships and new horizons. And, interestingly, I've been to 50 countries, but never a Scandinavian one.
One more day in Porto, then we drove to Lisboa; truly one of the most soulful cities I have ever been to. Their beautiful music Fado (meaning "fate") just about sums it all up, in this, my momentary yet still deeply moving experience of it all. A new and wonderful love affair with this heavenly planet.
Sintra... another beautiful spot in Portugal. Next stop Almeria, Spain, early tomorrow morning.
On the way to Spain to meet one of my oldest friends, (almost 50 years), and his wonderful wife.
Iberia airlines: sorry to say this but you are hands down the worst carrier I have ever flown. You've lost my bags, returned them in a disastrous state, every single flight has been late. I am now on a plane loaded and ready to go, and we have to deplane. This message ran away before I was finished my rant, because the worst thing is not my inconvenience, but I have friends waiting, and the airline won’t publicly update their status because that will affect their rating, so nobody gets this info until they are actually at the airport. But there will be a reward, I do have a suitcase full of Portuguese cheese, cherry wine and chocolate cups, that's if they don't lose my suitcase again.
Finally got to have a spin in my dream car, a yellow Smarti(ie) Car. Seriously, it is what i would choose if I could have any one I wanted... it would be the PERFECT Bali vehicle.
And now we welcome the new year, full of things that have never been.
― Rainer Maria Rilke
Yet another year when I am guaranteed to be snoozing as the New Year makes its debut (but it is already 2016 somewhere). Wishing everyone a year filled with happiness, good health and kindness.