Prepare for Death

Whenever I prepare for a journey I prepare as though for death. Should I never return, all is in order. This is what life has taught me.
~ Katherine Mansfield

Pass by Themselves

People travel to wonder at the height of mountains, at the huge waves of the sea, at the long courses of rivers, at the vast compass of the ocean, at the circular motion of the stars; and they pass by themselves without wondering.
~ Saint Augustine

Escaping Life on Replay

Sayward at Quacks
Sayward at Quacks
Crossing 2,500 miles with a U-Haul (from Daytona Beach, Florida to San Diego, California) is no small undertaking. Doing it in under 60-hours is what you'd call "impressive". Now, add to that a night resting up in Lafayette, Louisiana... 'n then add a nine-hour stopoff in Austin, Texas to hang out. If we're still talking about making the trip in under 60-hours, then that's what you'd call "legendary".

Sayward 'n Mark made the trip look easy.

As I said in my previous post, most of the travelers I know don't even set foot inside the States... so it was awesome when I got an email from a traveling friend called Sayward saying that she was going to be stopping off in Austin. W00t! With such a full day (and all the surrounding thoughts), I'm going to break up this post into three parts: An ATX Gathering, Life on Replay, A Game of Connect-the-Dots. All of them intertwine to tell a story thru time.

An ATX Gathering: Sayward quite literally had the best introduction to Austin that a person could ask for. In fact, sadly, she may be forever biased against it being anything other than "a spectacular city". For the most part, that's not far off. When she told me the neighborhood they were landing in, I had to double-check the map to make sure that wishful thinking wasn't making me guess wrong. It wasn't. If you're going to hit Austin in the summer, the best neighborhood to hit up first is Zilker Park. If you're hitting it in the winter, then the best neighborhood is Hyde Park. Sayward and Mark were landing right in Hyde Park... right on the X that "marks the spot".

She called me once they'd made the border of Austin. Hyde Park is less than a half-hour's walk from where I live, so I grabbed a laptop and set out on foot. I found her at Quacks, the main coffee shop for Hyde Park. She's impossible to miss, as her vibrant smile, shining demeanor and shock of white hair all make for a perfect combination to stand out in a crowd. That's a good thing, as we'd never actually met in person before.

I got to hear all about Christmas... Saint Augustine style. We're talking pirate ships, horses and forts here... and a bottle o' rum. She wrote an entire entry on this. I immediately wrote down Saint Augustine on my places to check out in America. While some peeps make a bucket list, many don't actually go about checking things off of it. Sayward's out living her bucket list at this very moment. I poked her about publishing the list itself (and look forward to reading it).

We abandoned the comfort of Quacks for the insane organic eats just across the street. Mother's Cafe is one of the jewels of the city, let alone Hyde Park. We talked about future plans, for her trip and for my own... at least, once I wrap up the last of my work here in the city. Spending time with another traveler had my wanderlust going crazy. The great meal (thanks Sayward!) helped to calm some of the energy. We walked for a ways after leaving Mother's, then hugged and said goodbye. Sayward 'n Mark were leaving that night, with plans to make the shores of Diego by the next day. It was only a temporary goodbye.

Travelers never stay far apart for long.

Check out her blog, as well as her main site on juice fast retreats:

Before going on to the next section, time to queue the song of the day:
Song of the Day: "Miss Levine" by Beats Antique [Free Download]
"Miss Levine" by Beats Antique
Life on Replay: One of the things we talked about was how much of her trip she still had left to write about. Every day was (and will continue to be) packed. Many travelers talk about having "more time" when they're traveling than when they're not traveling. It's a fact.

It also makes sense.

When you're not traveling, you're usually working a job with a specific group of people. Even the work you do is usually very specific. The people you come home to don't vary that much, nor the people you hang out with. This repetition is life on replay. There are small variances in the film reel of your life, but it's primarily the same movie being played over and over again. It's not that you have "less time", but that more of your time is spent doing many of the same things... again... and again.

"The world isn't getting smaller. There's just less in in."
~Captain Jack Sparrow, Pirates of the Caribbean

Some people escape life on replay by distraction. Television, partying and the Internet (while all have uses) are all easy ways to "zone out". Other people escape into memories of the past, no matter whether dark or light... or to dreams of the future. But travel is an actual way out.

New people, new horizons, new experiences and new stories... every... single... day. When your mind has adjusted to life on replay, it truly feels like you have more time when you make the gearshift into traveling. This is why many writers throughout the ages have turned to travel for inspiration. There is so much "content" when on the road that you have to make the painful choices of what to cut out... and what to keep.

And there is a danger in this. A person who plans a trip with people they know, and who sets a schedule for when and where to do things, is going to get caught right back up in a life of replay. When in groups, it's best to split up for a time, then meet up later. When on a schedule, at least leave time to take side-roads and explore... or tear the schedule up. Make an effort to meet new people. Take the time to explore places that you've never seen before (and not just with your camera). This is how you escape the "Life on Replay" that is called tourism and join the spontaneous world of travelers.

The choices you make on how to invest your time will define the quality of the time you spend living. It's a rule that applies to all life, no matter whether sitting still or in motion.

A Game of Connect-the-Dots: Travelers have a way of meeting up in the most interesting ways. Sometimes thru other travelers, sometimes hitching the same rides, sometimes just over a drink at a hostel. It's fun to connect the dots. In this case, the entry here is actually missing a piece of the puzzle--joel. It all began when joel commented on my post "With a Hatchet and a Cigarette". I love getting comments from actual humans (and not spam bots). So I checked out his Blogger profile, finding that he and his friend Jude were writing their own travel blog [So Lost at Last]. This is where I first read about Sayward, as she'd given them a ride in Oregon.

But really, how do you turn down two hitchhikers who are literally doing cartwheels while trying to hitch a ride? After reading about their fun antics, I followed their link to Sayward's blog. Wow! She's been documenting her travels for a while now, including a journey thru the Pacific Crest Trail. The PCT is one of the things on my list. A few of the posts inspired me to leave a few comments, then shortly after we began emailing... and the picture is complete.

Digital travelers meeting up online, then crossing paths in the world "outside of the box".

Travel Forever

We travel, some of us forever, to seek other states, other lives, other souls.
~ Anais Nin

The Character of a Life on Fire

"Goodbye Summer. We miss you. Write soon. XOXO ~Life"

Song of the Day - "Sidestreet (Mary J Blige)" by ZitanB [Free Download]
"title" by artist
Make no mistake, I am a whiny little pansy when it comes to winter. Not that Austin has a winter. If you showed our weather from December thru February to someone in the Dakota's, they'd call this "fall". Me? I call this "not summer"... 'n that's all that matters. It's NOT! Summer! Did I mention the "whining" part? Fortunately, "not summer" ends when the month of February comes to a close... at the latest, the beginning of March. The above collaboration is a tribute to summer... in all it's warmth and hazy glory.

But this winter *ahem* brought a warm surprise. A fellow traveler and a bright soul stopped off in Austin for a few hours on her way West. As most of my traveling friends don't even set foot on American shores, it was a special treat. I'm actually going to write more on this in a different post, as it really was awesome having Sayward in town for a few hours (and they were very full hours). Look for that post soon.

...and now we come to the point: character. Catching a ride with a friend the other night, I asked him what his van was named. He gave me the "are you mental?" look, then said: "It's a car. It doesn't have a name." That struck me as "mental" in itself, so I poked him about it and started talking about character... and naming things.

In our tribe, almost everything gets a name. An apartment? It's not "home" until it has a name. A car? Won't get you anywhere that matters if it ain't got a name. We name hoodies, notebooks, each other... water bottles. And it's not just naming. Most of these have a story... a history. The laptop I write this on (named "The Crone") has its own story... and an amazing one at that. I can point at my production computer and tell you who gave me the monitor, the trackball, the soundcard and more. Given. You see, gifts (especially) require names. As more than ninety-percent of what I own are gifts, that's a lot of character.

We remember our past homes by their names, by who lived there and by what point in time that meant to us... we remember them as friends that live on in our memories. This goes for clothing as well, such as the long lost Hoodie of Eternal Darkness. Hmmm... in fact, that's a long story. Most of these are long stories... and that is almost entirely the point. The fact that a lot of people own things, use them, but they don't "matter" to them... they live a life entirely based on function, without any form of character... and without a name.

"Memories. You're talking about memories."
~Deckard, Blade Runner

Naming, character and history bring everything to life. They light life on fire. It's not just a laptop, it's a mad rush to make a deal with a programmer in the last hours before leaving on a half-year roadtrip... where everything barely works out... but pulls thru at the last minute. It's a machine that has provided countless hours of song production, graphic design and networking with a tribe that has been scattered across the face of the earth. It's called the Crone. Her two sisters have less history, but they've all served me well... and the history is well worn into her cracked casing. Most techs would stand in awe that she still works... let alone works so well. But she has character... 'n she's well outlived her time.

I can't imagine a life lived that isn't filled to the brim with character. That is what strikes me the hardest whenever I'm reminded that most peeps don't live their life this way.

It's a life lived without a name.

Journey Inward

The longest journey
Is the journey inwards.
Of him who has chosen his destiny,
Who has started upon his quest
For the source of his being.

~ Dag Hammarskjold

Catch that Train

Most people have that fantasy of catching the train that whistles in the night.
~ Willie Nelson

Daring Adventure

Life is either a daring adventure, or nothing.
~ Helen Keller

The Door of Darkness

Strange, is it not? that, of the billions who
Before us pass'd the Door of Darkness thru,
  not one returns to tell us of the Road
That, to discover, we must travel, too.

~Edward Fitzgerald's "Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam"

Legend - Sharif Zawaideh

I make no joke when stating that this man has literally lived out of a teepee in the heart of winter. When peeps ask me if there's anyone out there who's more hardcore than I am, Sharif is the person I point to. When last I heard from him, he was hitchhiking from one boat to another across the Atlantic Ocean... on his way to Antarctica. He made it as far south as Argentina before turning back.

When I heard from him again, he was collecting votes for a contest on mountaineering. This wasn't the first time he's flexed the power of his community, nor will it likely be the last. No, the first time was when Cloudveil held a contest for who had the best skid crib. Sharif's video tour of his home in the teepee on the side of the mountain has since become legend... and it won him the contest.

The Teton Village Teepee

When I first met Sharif, he and his two friends had hitchhiked into Reno to meet up with my sister Gaea 'n I. My sister and I had opted for the train instead (legally? in America? it was soooo weird). The five of us were part of an eight-peep crew that'd been put together to help build Camp Mystic at Burning Man. Now, there are some peeps who take so much "stuff" to Burning Man that they need to bring an entire RV. The last time Sharif joined us, he showed up with a box not much larger than his chest. A box... to survive a week in the desert... at the greatest city on the planet. Are you getting all this, Houston?

Besides what he's taught me about construction, he's been a constant source of inspiration thru his own travels, and thru his photography and his documentaries. To get the job that he'd been going for, he had to answer the question: "How Do You Mountain?" If you didn't see his answer while it was up, you'll have to stay tuned in hopes that it's put back online. At the moment, the contest has moved the video to "private" status... and we're not invited. Boo on them.

For more from Sharif (aka, "The Dread Pirate Zawaideh"; aka, "Deep Ocean"; aka, "Noble Jesus"), check out his main site or Flickr account.

Song of the Day: "Highway" by Westy
"Highway" by Westy

Seek Not Death

Do not seek death. Death will find you. But seek the road which makes death a fulfillment.
~ Dag Hammarskjold

A Soundtrack of Blood and Spirit

I know I'm not the only one who writes to a specific playlist. Gotta have a soundtrack. I know a few of my favorite writers do... 'n I'm no different. In the age of the iPod, I have entire playlists lined up for different times of the year... 'n for different stretches of road. For writing, I wanted something a little different. I'm 58-pages into writing the book. I was doing fine with the playlist I had... then along came a spider named Kraddy.

I saw Kraddy play at Burning Man two months ago. Root Society Underground has a 30ft dome... 'n Kraddy almost tore that dome down with how riled up he got us. There were people climbing on the dome itself... 'n everyone was shaking it by jumping up 'n down at the same time. The coordinator had to cut the power to the volume while they pulled peeps down off the dome 'n calmed everyone down. Once we'd calmed back down, they turned the volume back on... 'n Kraddy picked up right back where he'd left off... continuing the best show I've ever seen on the playa.

For those who haven't been to Burning Man, you need to know that Kraddy wasn't being paid for this. He was playing because it's Burning Man and because he's a burner himself. The art he gives to the playa is his music... 'n he burned brightly this year. He was head banging so hard to his own music that the dust he'd collected in his whiteboy fro was puffing out into the air to form little white dust clouds. That's burning in style.

So... now I've got me onesies two playlists for writing. My tastes are well off the deepend. I don't expect any readers to share my love for the music... but there are a few who'll get a kick outta it. It's been suggested to pick one or two songs, then put them on repeat while doing any type of mental activity. Instead, I've chosen a very specific genre and made a short playlist of the best songs from that side of the spectrum.

I'm now using Kraddy's new EP "Labyrinth" when writing the high energy stories... 'n using the playlist below when writing the more spiritually-oriented stories. Kraddy's EP is based off of Joseph Campbell's "The Hero's Journey", specifically the labyrinth itself. If you missed the quote on "The Labyrinth" by Joseph Campbell, you can hover over [this text] to read it. I didn't hear the comparison the first time I listened to it. After the fifth time... I can almost make out every twist 'n turn within the maze. This is an incredible accomplishment for a musician... 'n a true gift for us travelers.

The playlist I'm using for the more spiritually-oriented writings is short 'n sweet:

* Apparat - You Don't Know Me [Watch on YouTube]
* Beats Antique - Miss Levine [Free from BandCamp]
* Billie Holiday - Yesterdays (Junior Boys Remix) [Listen on YouTube]
* Burial - Dog Shelter [Listen on YouTube]
* Burial - Etched Headplate [Listen on YouTube]
* Burial - UK [Watch on YouTube]
* Eskmo - Cloudlight [Free from Eskmo dot Com] [Watch on YouTube]
* Eskmo - My Gears Are Starting to Tremble [Play on YouTube]
* Florence and the Machine - Heavy in Your Arms (C-Berg Remix) [Listen on YouTube]
* The Glitch Mob + Swan - Between Two Points [Listen on YouTube]
* Late - Bittersweet [Watch on YouTube]
* Late - Dreams Are [Watch on Vimeo]
* Late - Losing You [Listen on YouTube]
* Late - Under These Conditions [Watch on YouTube]
* Lorn - Tomorrow [Watch on YouTube]
* Of Porcelain - Here for Now [Free from BandCamp]
* Of Porcelain - Signal the Captain [Free from BandCamp]
* Phylum Sinter + Tamara Finlay - Before the Sun Blinds Us [Play on YouTube]
* R/D - Half a Decade [Free from BandCamp]
* Scuba - Before [Watch on YouTube]
* Tori Amos - Me and a Gun (Defected Moniker Remix) [Free from SoundCloud]
* Trifonic - Parks on Fire (Shem Remix) [Free from BandCamp]
* Truth - Don't Explain [Play on YouTube]
* 16Bit - Skyline [Play on YouTube]

Do you have a playlist or a favorite song you listen to while reading or writing? Jude and Joel over on "So Lost at Last" integrate music into their travel posts. It's a trait I'll try and pick up more often... eclectic fringe music tastes included. Mad love y'all!

The World's First Moss-Powered City

Moss, Shadow & Light
"Moss, Shadow & Light" by Kantiki
[here on GoogleMaps]

There are more than 12,000 different types of moss. Not one of 'em is out to kill ya. That makes moss good peeps... 'n soothing to walk on. At least 10,000 of those types are found in Otterberg, Germany. Now that's a lie... but I'm sticking to it. Besides, it feels like there are that many different types in Otterberg. In terms of property ownership, the moss quite literally runs the city.

If a house can power itself using spinach [link], then I think Otterberg should tap into their plentiful moss environment and wire the city that way. The moss wouldn't mind the attention... and the city could claim itself as the first moss-powered city. It'll happen. I can feel it.

The legend says that moss only grows on the north side of a tree. It's cute... but it's wrong. Moss'll grow anywhere that there's water 'n shade. Otterberg is a city of shadows... and water is found almost everywhere. That's why even the sides of the houses in Otterberg have been coated in green layers of moss. While most varieties of moss are found in India and the Amazon, I think it'll be German engineering that takes this species and turns it into a source of energy... and it'll happen in Otterberg.

Moon Shine

I am not the same having seen the moon shine on the other side of the world.
~ Mary Anne Radmacher Hershey

8 Exotic Destinations You Can Afford

Tim Ferriss is gearing up to release "The 4-Hour Body", which means an insane number of quality posts on his blog. Because travel is one leg of his holy trinity, he's been on a roll lately with travel tips 'n stories that require sharing. This time, he's invited Tim Leffel to guest post on his blog. Leffel runs the Cheapest Destinations Blog and, true to form, covered eight different exotic travel spots that you can afford... but that you can't afford to miss. Here's the article:

8 Exotic Destinations You Can Afford
by Tim Leffel, hosted on the blog of Tim Ferriss

20 Things I've Learned from Traveling Around the World for Three Years

If you already read Everything Everywhere, then you're familiar with Gary Arndt. Gary is a prolific traveler and an excellent writer. Less than a week ago, he wrote a guest post for the blog of Tim Ferriss titled "20 Things I've Learned from Traveling Around the World for Three Years". He opens the post with:

On March 13, 2007, I handed over the keys to my house, put my possessions in storage and headed out to travel around the world with nothing but a backpack, my laptop and a camera.

He then jumps into a photo-infused buffet of life lessons learned across the span of more than seventy different countries. Don't miss this excellent read!

You, Sir, are a clever opponent

You Sir Are A Clever Opponent
see more Epic Win FTW

If you're anything like me, you owe this peep a dollar as well. This is the best sign I've ever come across... and I've seen (and made) a lot of 'em. Word has it that our dear hobo here was spotted in Vancouver. The comments on this photo over at Epic Win FTW make for a fun read as well. This is seriously some creative signmanship.

The Labyrinth

Furthermore, we have not even to risk the adventure alone, for heroes of all time have gone before us. The labyrinth is thoroughly known. We have only to follow the thread of the hero path, and where we had thought to find an abomination, we shall find a god. And where we had thought to slay another, we shall slay ourselves. Where we had thought to travel outward, we will come to the center of our own existence. And where we had thought to be alone, we will be with all the world.
~ Joseph Campbell

Are You Calling Me White!?

I am a pasty white gringo. I have two shades: pale and strawberry. When traveling in the Middle East and Central America, you can see the sun shining off 'o me from a mile away. I stick out. I get asked all the time: "Are you American?"

I muster my best offended tone of voice, then ask in their language: "Are you callin' me white!?"

Americans have a bad reputation abroad... and we've earned it. My humorous approach to what could become a hostile situation has made me some of the best friends I've come across in this life. Racism and oppression come in many forms... and it is the traveler who has the opportunity to crack those close-minded ideals right back open. We meet so many people... often across many diverse lands... 'n that gives us far more opportunities than most peeps to challenge racist assumptions wherever we're traveling.

Hurly over on Thumbs Up Canada is doing just that. He was recently featured on The Martlet by Kristi Sipes, here in her article 'Opening spaces / Challenging "isms" one thumb at a time'. The article covers how he has turned his travels as a hitchhiker into a campaign to build awareness of racism and free speech.

Just yesterday, Hurly asked here on his blog for others to share their own stories of oppression. I know I've experienced racism and oppression... 'n many near me have experienced far worse. If you want to share, email Hurly at and send him your stories, art or poems. Share your voice.

At the same time, ask yourself: "How am I oppressing others?"

The answers I found inside myself to that question were startling... and it's a constant reminder to stand up for the rights of everyone. No matter how small or insignificant it may seem... it's EVERYTHING to someone else.

How to Skin a German Turkey

The Character of the Ages
"Portal" by Kantiki

Otterberg, Deutschland is a city built with rust, moss, shadow and stone. When the mortar begins to fail, they scrape off the rust and moss and layer on more stone and mortar. If the foundation weakens, they fill up the entire bottom level of the house and wall up the door (see above). Then the moss creeps back in... and then the rust. The moss is everywhere. It's not a question of what is and is not green, but what shade of green is it?

Before I found Otterberg, I thought cities with such ancient character were a thing of the past. But Otterberg has embraced its past. You can read more than a hundred years simply by staring at a wall in Otterberg. The family that took us in when we landed in Otterberg would go on walks with us... sometimes in the woods... other times in the city. What history was left out by the architecture was filled in while walking the streets in conversation. Christian -- the father of the family and a landscaper by trade -- truly knew the land... and his English put our German to shame. No, seriously... shame. Fortunately, their daughter Grace was glad to teach us more German. She used "Kim Possible" as a study tool.

It was one cold November day when the mother told us that the American base (just a few cities down) was going crazy over something. She asked us if there was a holiday or some other event. I looked at my two fellow travelers... they looked at me... then I saw the lights go on in their eyes even as I, myself, remembered. "What week is it?"

The mother (Tanya) said: "It's going to be December."

We laughed. It was Thanksgiving. We pooled our spare change with the spare change of our hosts and made a German thanksgiving. Saurkraut, wurst, potatoes and a lot of beer. With no turkey to be found in a hundred miles, we piled the wurst and potatoes into a mound that vaguely resembled a bird. Giving it a gobble for good laughs, we picked up our forks and skinned it alive. Our hosts were happy to have a surprise celebration... and to have our own cheerful spirits with them for it. To this day, it goes down as our best Thanksgiving ever.

The Life-Is-Travel Widget

Installing the "Life Is Travel" Widget
(estimated setup time < 3min)

Kicking off the first entry in the "Better Blogging" series. I want to help other travelers get the most out of their blogs (Facebook likes, organization, etc.). Of course, Other bloggers are free to peek in as well. The first is this widget. It auto-adjusts to fit into almost any sidebar or even a footer, then links to the Wayfaring Bloggers page. The same code that put the widget at the bottom of my sidebar put the widget at the end of this blog entry. Installing the widget is EASY!

Choose your blogging platform:
How to Install the Widget on Blogger
How to Install the Widget on Wordpress
How to Install the Widget on a Different Platform

How to Install the Widget on Blogger
1. Copy this code:

2. Log in to blogger, then go to the "Design" section.
3. Go to "Page Elements" (if you're not already there)
4. Above your sidebar, click "Add a Gadget"
5. Click the + next to the "HTML/JavaScript" gadget
6. Paste the code into the gadget's "Content" section
7. Click the "Save" button in the gadget window
8. Move the gadget by dragging it where you want in the sidebar
9. Click the "Save" button in the design window

How to Install the Widget on Wordpress
1. Copy this code:

2. Log in to Wordpress and go to the Dashboard
3. Under "Appearance", click on "Widgets"
4. Drag a new "Text" widget to where you want it in the sidebar
5. Paste the code into the area below the title area
6. Click the "Save" button

How to Install the Widget on a Different Platform
1. Copy this code:

2. Create a new html-enabled item for your sidebar
3. Paste this code into your new object and save it
4. If you need assistance, contact me.

If you have any troubles with the widget, or would like to see steps for a different platform on this page, then contact me. Same goes if you just have any suggestions or other comments. Same goes if you'd like to see something specific in the "Better Blogging" series. I've found myself landlocked and wintering in Austin, Texas at the moment... so I actually have a bit 'o time on my hands to play around with the Internet. What can I do to make your own blogging experience better?

NOTE: For any code-junkies out there: yes, this widget is image-free and is HTML5 compatible. It uses CSS styles inside HTML blocks, using JavaScript to underline/de-underline the links. The triple usage of "travel" also makes it great for SEO on any travel blog. We came to drop bombs!

With a Hatchet and a Cigarette

New Mexican Brave
"New Mexican Brave" by Kantiki
[here on GoogleMaps]
[non-mod on Panoramio]

Sadly, I didn't survive my first meeting with the native tribes of America. Shortly after pulling out my trusty soul-stealer, the warrior (above) reared back, knocked an arrow and introduced a new opening into my chest. You know... so that I could breath better. Good peep! Now... that's not what really happened... but it's how I like to remember it.

For those who don't know, Santa Fe is one of the richest cultural hubs in all the South-West. They have so many art galleries and museums that they've set aside an entire hill for even more museums. This is one of two towering statues at the very top of that hill. A single day spent on Museum Hill isn't enough to take in all the tribal folk art, native legends and rich heritage. But... in that same day... one can wander down from Museum Hill to the capitol and read the names of every tribe that once was... once lived and made this culture... and are now extinct.

No native blood runs in my veins... but I've been taken in by two different Apache tribes, given shelter by the Navajo and shared smoke with the Taos Pueblo tribe. I've helped them set up when the world's tribes gather in Santa Fe each August and I've been enraptured by their music. The names of those tribes that've been marked off the face of the planet as "extinct" strike in a way that stings. But the wars continue... don't they? And this is the world we're choosing.

One day, someone's gonna come gunnin' for this world...
...with a hatchet and cigarette.

The free society

This is an incredibly beautiful photo with no small touch of surrealism. As this site will become at least partially commercial, I've removed this piece of art from the site. Don't miss a chance to check out the original [Here on deviantART].

Cancer Patient Removed from Hotel by Police. No Refund. No Proof

On Thursday, September 8th, police officers were called to The Golden Beach Hotel in Blackpool, England to remove two of its guests. The police stated: "No offense had been committed by the couple, but the manager had requested them to leave the property. We advised the couple how to go about getting a refund."

When the couple requested a refund, the hotel refused.

The Golden Beach Hotel has declined to comment.

Hotel management claims they had the couple removed because they'd posted a negative review about their establishment online. Here is the review by "ihatemu" on TripAdvisor. The couple denied the claim, but were removed by police with no refund despite this. Management, having gone to the drastic action of calling in the police, having refused refund and having responded to the review online in an ill-conceived manner have quickly tarnished the establishments reputation.

The man and his partner are rightfully outraged. They'd retired to the hotel following his release from chemotherapy for cancer and were met with this rather absurd welcoming at the hands of the hotel's management.

Step #1: Avoid Blackpool when traveling England. Easiest solution.
Step #2: If ya can't avoid Blackpool, avoid Golden Beach Hotel at all costs.
Step #3: Share this news with other travelers; Tweet it or Facebook it.

For more on this, here's the story on The Telegraph:
Cancer patient 'thrown out of hotel after posting TripAdvisor review'

With thanks to TwitchHiker for turning me on to the story.

How to Properly Issue a Ticket to a Police Officer in 5 Easy Steps

Step 1. Get Yourself a Ginger
Ramona Mayhem, Snakecharmer
  Everyone knows that redheads are on the endangered species list. Therefore, a cop can't just maim or open fire on a ginger. In this case, we're going with Ramona Mayhem (aka, Ginger Bee), who was the mad genius behind this entire plan. If you can't find a ginger, go with another endangered species (e.g., unbiased media, honest politicians, etc.).

Step 2. Prep Your Tickets
Moop Patrol Violation  Even if you have real police tickets (or other official documents), the last thing you want to do is show them to the police. That gets a peep put into a dark, dark place. Nope, you've gotta make your own ticket. It needs to say something along the lines of "you know what you did" or "shame shame" ...but still say "it's okay, criminals have hearts too".
  Take note of the all-important "Other" field. When we were out ticketing officers and other miscreants, "Other" was easily the most used. Popular scribs for other were "Looks hot in uniform", "Won't let me pet the K-9" and more. "Not dressed up enuff" saw its share of checkmarks as well.
  Other key ingredients: humor and artistry. Remember, you're giving them a story and they'll likely tell others about it. A proper ticket will quickly become the centerpiece of that conversation and may even find itself framed on a wall. If you can fit four or more tickets on a single piece of paper, then you save a few trees as well.
  The favorite scrib to jot in the date field = "Who Cares!?"

Step 3. Get Suited Up
Get Suited Up  It's illegal to impersonate a police officer. You're gonna have to get creative with uniforms. In fact, make up your own agency while you're at it. Think parody. The laws protect parody in art... so get creative... get funny... n get suited up.
  Here, Mayhem has put on a modified hardhat and is about to put on an orange jumpsuit over the nurse outfit. Creative as ever, Mayhem had cut the jumpsuit into a skirt and brought protective goggles to add an "official" edge to the look. She also brought a beepie-thingie to scan people for weapons and naughtiness levels. Note: Thingie required.

Step 4. Walk Your Beat
Black Rock City zoom  You can't just ticket on any beat... you've gotta choose your territory carefully. If you try to ticket a cop who's chasing after someone, you're likely to get arrested or get introduced to Officer Billy Club... and you'd deserve it. We marked out a section of Black Rock City (aka, Burning Man). With even more sheriffs and other police officers monitoring the event this year, we had plenty to hunt down and ticket.
  Warning: Do not attempt to ticket an officer outside of Burning Man (or other festival), nor ticket an officer who is obviously "on the move". Do so at your own risk... and to the amusement of the rest of us. The officers you are looking for are those who are parked, standing or just walking along with everyone else. Those are the very criminals who are in need of a good ticketing... and you're just the peep to do it. As a hitchhiker, I've often joked about being "pulled over for walking". Once you've found your target, I suggest opening with something along the same lines as you approach the subject.

Step 5. Issue the Ticket
  Now this is the important part: you have to give them the ticket. Even if they cry or have a good excuse for being a police officer, it's your civic duty to make sure they've been officially informed of their crimes. It can be tough when a good cop breaks down into tears, but it's for the best. Be strong.
  Actually, we found a lot of good humor in the cops we ticketed and with zero tears. Mayhem had to convince me on the first one, but I was all-in from then on. We didn't just stop at the ticket, but asked what their experience was like coming out into the desert at Burning Man. Sure enough, we got one or two trite answers (including a literal "I'd rather be fishing"), but they were still honest answers and authentic connections. We also got surprise answers with real insights into Burning Man... and we got alotta laughs.
  Despite the increase in police presence, the officers make sure no one is carrying a gun, they pull over reckless vehicles and they make sure no one burns down the man early... usually. Our tribe in that desert lives much more freely than the rest the world, including crossing lines that society has deemed "criminal". I don't agree with those laws... and it's sad that there are many clashes between the tribe and law enforcement. It was great to breach that divide and make actual contact with some real human beings. Afterall... they're just wearing different costumes.

Disclaimer: Do not try any of this. These steps are for entertainment purposes only and may have legal ramifications or cause actual harm.

Thank you for reading... and pass it on. Cheers!

Coming to Burning Man 2011: MOOP Patrol 2.0

Philly Deathgreeter

Philly Deathgreeter
"Philly Deathgreeter" by Kantiki

Packing and getting ready for Burning Man. You'd think I'd be better prepped for my sixth year in the desert... and you'd be wrong. This statue in Philly always reminded me of the playa, so it was fitting to post it. I'll be away for the next two weeks... and... granting I survive it... I'll get back to posting. Oh yeah, clicking the image goes to Flickr. There's plenty of embedding options there for anyone who likes it and wants to post it on their own site.

I was going to add in a little review on this place, as it was the best Mexican we had in all the North-East, but then I came across this awesome review that already pinned it over on on Mac & Cheese here. Anyone passing anywhere near Philly really shouldn't miss a chance to hit up Las Bugambilias.

Mad love! Burn bright... and stay lit!

Black Rock City From Above

The No Baggage Challenge

Rolf Potts is the man-dizzle. Not only did he write the insanely helpful book "Vagabonding" that launched an entirely new wave of, but he's now pressing the limits of travel by going without luggage across twelve countries. You read that right. In his latest episode, he went over washing clothes and tricks to drying them on top of other helpful and fun parts to the journey. It definitely has people talking in a big way about the pros and cons of light travel. And, as with most things that border on greatness, the voices behind the cons are loudest... although they simply seem to be repeating each other.

If you haven't tuned in yet, here is the link to Rolf's Travels.


"Beached" by Kantiki

It's not every day that you run across a boat that's been beached... let alone in Santa Barbara, California. It'll definitely put an interesting spin on the day. On a boat-related sidenote, my friend Sharif has hitchhiked across boats before. He was originally aiming for Antarctica. It wasn't until he was deep into South America that he turned back. Still... frakking made it from Alaska to South Am by hitching boats. He's one of the few travelers that I consistently give props to for outdoing myself.

The Road That Jack Built

While in the current world it's rather hard to believe, there once was a time when America was almost "the good guys". This poem comes from that time... 'n it's a reminder of hitchhiking soldiers and the importance of the road in terms of the war.

This is the cause, democracy and right,
That enlisted the Nation in all its might,
That called our boys, staunch and true,
That need the food, munitions and stores,
That make up the load,
That travels the road
That Jack built.
From "The Highway Magazine", V9.N1, 1918

How the Elves Settled Texas

[Speakeasy, TX, San Marcos] Rivendell Restaurant & Gardens: When the first elvish settlers moved into Texas, they planted the young seeds that would become Rivendell Restaurant & Gardens. Sadly, it wasn't meant to be. Only a few thousand years after the elves passed on the restaurant to human caretakers, the restaurant closed... and San Marcos lost one of its premier attractions to the city. This Tolkienesque experience was a restaurant with every wall painted in murals of fields and forests, with trees that poured water in cascades down their stumps and with sofas formed of stones. The cats had likely been bribed by the cooks to stay away from the tables where customers dined on savory sandwiches made from fresh-baked bread. Wandering the tiered gardens after the meal was a refreshing way to let the tummy settle before heading down to the San Marcos river for an afternoon swim. I can attest to the fact that there's still an elf here and there near the river... or at least humans who can pass for elves.

• 817 Chestnut Street, San Marcos, TX 78666 • Yelp Page

Bear Canyon Trail, Sabino Canyon

"Bear Canyon Trail" by Kantiki

W00t! Just found out that there's a Sabino Canyon Blog [Here on Blogger]. With how vividly the canyon captures the beauty of the desert, it's no surprise how many people praise the area. If you're passing anywhere near Tucson, Arizona, then don't miss the chance to love up some o' this rocky, thorny, blasted goodness.