It's been a long time since I've done this. When we first started this blog it was slow going and almost painful to write; I had to hammer out the words. I was not used to writing, or at least I hadn't really done it since High School or University, and on top of that I hadn't done it for fun since I was a kid. In a way school was supposed to teach me to write, but because of the motions of grades and deadlines and exams I began to hate it and didn't keep journals and didn't write for fun. I always had some sort of scrap book with little funny notes of things that had happened, or 'get-rich-quick' schemes (like fog-machine shoes, come on those would be awesome-it would be like walking on a cloud!), but again I could go 6 months without putting anything in it. The journal (not a journal-sometimes it would be on the back of envelopes), didn't have any direction, or voice or sound.
Fast forward a few years and Lu and I are day-dreaming our trip. Lu wants to do a blog, I think it's a good idea for her writing, and we can both update it with what we are doing and put in some pictures. This sounds good, I am not really the best about sharing on facebook or communicating with friends and family regularly (SORRY EVERYONE!!) so this should work well for both of us. We put the website together and I thought 'yeah, I'll just sort of help manage it and occasionally put on some photos and then a little bit of a diary.' Then in Africa Lu wanted me to do a blog post (nearly at gunpoint), but I dragged my feet like a 5 year old because for me sharing online just isn't normal for me.
Due to her persistance this blog come out, and forcing the words to come out I slowly started to develop a voice. Travelling the world made me feel and reflect on a lot….obviously. But when you are tumbling down a road, looking out the window while travelling one's thoughts are rarely 'this is so awesome'. Your thoughts drift to what you saw weeks ago, then to your life before travel, to what you can't wait to eat when you get off the bus, to 'oh my god we still aren't there and it's getting dark', to what will your life be like after travel, to what will life be like in a week...oddly it's almost anything but living in the moment (except the immediate concern of being in the constant state of will-I-miss-my-stop). This constant reflection time meant I had a lot of time to think about the blog and little ideas crept into my head from country to country which then started to pour out onto the page: I had found a voice.
While in Africa and South America there was much time for reflection and everything was new to all senses. Countries continued to impress with their differences in culture, or similarities in culture, or differences in terrain or similarities in terrain, or similarities in food or differences in food. This lead to thoughts about how the world works or how it really works. Then these ideas mix with some of the thoughts/ideas/comceptions/misconceptions from my time London, or back in Seattle, or Michigan, then stew and mix around in my head then rise into consciousness whilst travelling, then pour onto paper. The ideas could range from “People who live in the hills in Asia are more similar to Andean people than even the valley people”, or “Everyone in the world loves: Fried Chicken, Pizza, Crocs, Real Madrid/Barcelona/Manchester United/Arsenal, WWE/WWF Wrestling, karaoke, BBQ & Beer” or “We are really lucky to actually have driving laws in Europe and the US.” That last one happens on the bus…...a lot.
Besides these daydreams, is the ever present, daunting task of planning our travels. In South and Central America there was always at the back of my mind our USA road trip and the excitement of seeing my family and friends. I had to plan the route we were going to take around the country (the largest one yet), the exact times we would arrive in each destination, give at least a little bit of time so that we could do things with friends and family, PLUS show off to Lu my own country (not just the northwest) really for the first time. There is always a balance of thought time, planning time, and action time when travelling, but sometimes I think it's not realized that to do all this you need to take a vacation from vacation which is how these blog posts come about; to get all this down.
We set up a camp in Belieze to plan, write, read and recover before the whirlwind of the states. All the ideas and planning came out easily while in Belize. I had ideas, thoughts, opinions and my voice was flowing. We woke up everyday around 7, made ourselves breakfast, sat on the porch where we read and wrote for 4 hours, made lunch and had smoothies, returned to the porch and planned the USA trip, contacted friends, read again, then wrote more and then bed…. I know, we were fully retired. But it worked for what we needed then.
Then we left.
The states hit like a whirlwind; in Belize we literally jumped up and down when our accommodation had a blender; when we arrived in the Miami airport there was a guy floating by on a hoverboard, then we passed a lady, who we realized about 2 seconds later that she was not an actual human but a hologram assistant projected to aid people in Spanish. What year did we land in!??? Why can't I smell animals and sweat!??? Why isn't there a Taxi driver already trying to shuffle me into a car!????
It was somewhere in this whirlwind of getting to America that I lost my voice. I had come back to the land I know and it sort of shattered my thoughts. I had time for reflection while in the States (A lot of time, we drove around the whole damn country!), but the thoughts were completely different than from Africa and South America and it broke the voice that had been building in my head the whole time we are travelling. Our routine (semi-retired) routine took the hit from the whirlwind in The States as well and it took till now to recover.
I can tell you now that I have been extremely frustrated about this and am sorry for keeping people waiting on an update but something clogged the thoughts going to paper (who am I kidding, paper is so last century, we have hoverboards and holograms now!), but I am trying to bring it back now. The other part is that in the states we were moving at light speed, then in Asia we were moving without a plan. We forgot to take time to do the vacation from vacation to give time for out thoughts to brew.
In the past 5 months since my last post I have had many ideas and thoughts that have been waiting to bubble up and for some reason India is bringing them out now.
Maybe it's the hellish bus rides, the driver honking and yelling at every car, maybe it's the broken down seats, maybe it's the people starring at me (oh my god-a muzungu), maybe it's the smell of spice...and shit and pee everywhere, maybe it's the exotic outstanding food that's bringing it out, maybe it's the thrill of travel that started in Africa that's rearing it's head again but something here is making me write again, I hope it continues, and I hope that I can get my voice back or at least develop a new one. 'Sophmore Albums' always suck, I hope this blog part 2 does not.