I’m Back.

It has taken me over a year to find a reason to write; I do not take comfort in that fact.

Life hit me hard in 2017 and everything I indulged in – travel, writing, drinking, backpacking, partying, everything – was an attempt to dull the pain and work through the emotional scars of my past. But, alas, they were only scars, forever my burden to carry as identifies, marks on my soul, creators of character, battle wounds, proofs of life…

I’m back now… and I feel alive. Morning do not come quick enough just as the evenings feel too short. I’ve shared my story dozens of times, taking ownership of my past, and now I feel ready to share it for the miraculous adventure that it is. I’ve attempted to write  the story countless times, but it’s always felt too close. However, everything seems different now. I am ready to move on to the next chapter – the next phase of my ever-growing ever-loving life is quickly approaching – grad school, L.A., my growing business,  city life – realized.

So, what can you expect in the coming weeks? A tale of betrayal, death, love, life, loss, and all the color that comes with the most human experiences we all deal with at some point or another. I’m excited to bring you on this journey with me. I’m excited to write my story – and see where it takes my writing. I’m excited to share it with the world.

Next Week: Chapter 1 – Death of a Father

 

 

New Zealand – Chapter 6

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My last ten days in New Zealand encompassed 2,000 kms and too many connections to count. After returning to Takaka from Abel Tasman, I felt patient with the journey I was on – and excited to meet the many characters that would make my trip unforgettable. Unfortunate as it was that I wouldn’t have the luxury to stay in any one place for more than two nights, I resolved to make the best of my remaining time.

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I spent the morning after my Abel Tasman adventure exploring Takaka, perusing local cafes and craft shops. Fatefully, a gallery run by two local artists caught my eye, which I dutifully pulled over to explore. A couple greeted me joyously as I explored their art garden paradise. They soon shared their life journeys and I learned that they had met travelling through New Zealand some twenty years ago – and stuck together when Lolli, the wife, fell pregnant. This wasn’t your typical knocked up story though, this couple was overflowing with joy. They built purpose together in the wake of chaos and found success in life sharing beauty with the world, building their dreams together. Their meeting appeared to be fate, just as ours felt the same. I was inspired as I left their gallery that I, too, would one day chaotically stumble into my muse. I departed Takaka confident that I would one day return – perhaps as an artist myself.

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That afternoon, I returned to Moteuka soon to stumble into new friends at the local YHA Hostel – and quickly found myself trading wine, chocolate, and stories with travelers from Germany, England, and the US respectively. I was keen to share the adventure of my past week – which soon fell on wanting ears. That night, for the first time in my life, I felt like a proper storyteller – captivated by my own words. I relived the good and bad, relating my journey to a tipsy crowd as it grew in size and curiosity. That was the night that I fell in love with my story. I felt rich with experience and had too many philosophical anecdotes to share. I bid my drinking mates farewell that evening with a belly full of wine and wide smile, excited by my newfound verbal vigor.

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An epic roadtrip and adventure unfolded over the next few days as I made my way from Monteuka to Wellington to Taupo to Rotorua to Whitianga, and finally – to Auckland. I made incredible new friends hostel hoping around the North Island, pulling over to explore quirky craft shops, day hikes, and every scenic view I could find. I shared dense intimate connections and long drunken nights dancing with strangers I’d never see again. I made friends with every soul that happened to find themselves in the same room as me – yet still found time to get lost in the wilderness at least once a day. It was the perfect conclusion to a grand roadtrip and wonderful adventure.

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Finally, I rented a casita next to a butterfly garden on my last two nights in New Zealand. Fitting as butterflies are one of my favorite animals, and often a source of inspiration for my poems. If you asked me when I started my journey why butterflies exist, I would’ve said “to be blown around by the wind, victims to cause.” Now, after six weeks of “blowing around”, I’d say their true purpose is to give meaning to the wind and spread beauty. In the absence of meaning, life started to appear a lot more meaningful.

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Six weeks in New Zealand occurred like the blink of an eye. I had no plans when I arrived into the country and would depart with more friends and memories than I could even fathom.

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When I departed the US, I didn’t know what, when, where, or why – I just knew that I needed a change. However, after hitchhiking in the dark, intimate conversations into early morning, too many blisters to count, straining physical and social challenges, and an incredible adventure to behold I might answer that question a little differently.

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The longer I travel, the more I realize that personal meaning in life is less important than the pursuit of the journey. Meaning will adapt as you change and grow. Life isn’t about finding the ultimate truth – it’s about finding a set of beliefs that manifest your best self in the current moment. Beliefs that help you jump out of bed, even when you’re tired. Some lucky souls walk their path in a straight line but that doesn’t mean you’re a failure if you’re playing pinball with your purpose. In fact, I’d argue that some of the most interesting people I’ve met redefine their beliefs, and existence, constantly. The goal should be action – not consistency. If you find yourself inactive, it’s time to recalibrate and change your thinking. And not just inaction in body – inaction in mind, spirit, and emotion too.

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So, ask yourself – what gets me up in the morning? What am I looking forward to in life? Where do I want to be right now? What do I want from life? Why do I want it? How can I get it?

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If the answers are work, weekends, not here, and freedom – you owe it to yourself to make a change, and it all starts with your thinking. The goal shouldn’t be to work – it should be to work hard; not to vacation – but to travel; not to love – but to love well; not to exist – but to live.

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When you take the first steps towards any change, don’t be disheartened when you first meet resistance. Purpose and passion result from pursuit and practice. Pursue and practice and I can guarantee that you’ll achieve more than you ever planned for.

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So, I say, in my infinite ignorance – be bold, be brave, love well – and get going. And for god’s sake, if you’re unhappy – Travel. Results may vary but you’re sure to discover a thing or two about what life means to you.

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New Zealand opened my eyes to the sense of self I lost in 2017, and helped me regain it. Off to Japan I went…

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Thank you Nora, Cornelia, Tom, Melo, Jannick, Celine, Kat, Sara, Fish, Tim, Wayne, Becky, Jitske, Mohan, and Chakara for making my trip an adventure. 

Dare

Do you dare me?
Dare me to jump;
to sing, to love, to be.
Dare me to bump
to the music all night
and lose myself to the sea.

Dare me to ask a stranger to dance
and lead her into the night.
Dare me to rise to greet the sun
and play all day in the light.

Dare me to distance myself from myself
to see what I seem to be.
And dare me to change into the man
that moves with wind and the sea.

Dare me to live my life
seeking growth in pain and strife,
wisdom when I seem to fall,
and love whenever it calls.

Dare me, why don’t you?
I know what you want,
the life that you seek –
you can trust me.

So what’re you waiting for;
dare me to be!
It’s time to dance,
dare me, me – I dare you.

Tidily

I’m wanting of a tidily tune;
something bouncy, quick, and crude –
fun to say or maybe spew
by dancing tongues feeling mused.

In it, I will captivate;
maybe, even, alliterate;
maybe, even, rhyme a bit –
Who knows? I wrote it way too quick.

But I’ll say it fast, with zeal,
enough to, maybe, make you feel
a beat or rhythm, enough to step
to the rhymes I’ve laid ahead.

Funky fresh, precocious mess,
windy dancing, rainy days,
quiet oceans – my devotion
to test the sea in every way.
Creamy coffee, cold gelato,
mountains tops – my affogato.
Pink kobe, deep red wines,
flirting with the end of night.
Dancing with the dawn daily:
if this is life – don’t dare you save me.

For I’ve found enduring bliss:
a truly wonderful tidily mess.
And so I dance until the day
fate unravels all the way.

Fire

Burn me, tease me, strike me, free me.
Glow in heart and art and soul.
Free my mind of desire.
Dance with me, the flames you throw.

Doth’ predict, a testament
to consciousness and entropy.
In your arms, I convict
to dance, to play, to laugh, and flow.

Yet you burn me, yet you harm –
scoff at life as I turn with charm
a blind eye to your danger close;
painted color, I’m engrossed.

And so we play, night and day –
color my evenings; color my way.
I am but a dancing pyre
which is why I play with fire.

Equanimity

As the sunset plays with fire
and stirs the souls at bay –
we take to the ocean
in search of a storm
to challenge our mast and ways.

Rocking and reading, and growing in moonlight,
waiting for first sun to stake –
a claim on the day, in search of new prey –
dancing with new souls its soon to break.

But we are calm creatures of night;
from the eye of the storm we claim out right.
Endowed equanimity – blessed to keep –
where others rescue, when others retreat.

And take to the storm we must
to challenge our mast and ways –
for setting in west, and rising in east;
chasing the sun’s not a challenging way.

Rest east storm chaser for you will be blown,
but in the eye of the storm you are never alone.

Roots

Cling to water and drive down
these roots that grow the tree
so trunks may rise and leaves devise
their escape from mother-tree.

Run, leaves, to enrich the soil,
dance with the sun and wind,
paint the sky full of color
creations of my kin.

And sway, trees, in the storms
grounded to your roots;
feeble trees poised to fall,
the strong stand resolute.

For if the roots dig deep enough
into earth they’ll find
a network of connected roots,
a forest – all combined.

And in this metaphor we’re all trees,
growing roots and shedding leaves.
Digging deeper, seeking truth,
discovering unity amongst other roots.

Dig deep enough and you will see
community roots ground our trees,
bless our leaves, and sow our seeds –
and give us strength in storms.

Dig, my trees, push your roots
deep into ground
for one day soon you’ll revel in
the forest that you’ve found.