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.