Friday, May 24, 2013

How To Get Away From The Day To Day - Make It All About You & Them

Travel Helps Disprove The Theory - Life Sucks & Then You Die
You may find yourself living in a shotgun shack / You may find yourself in another part of the world / You may find yourself behind the wheel of a large automobile / You may find yourself in a beautiful house with a beautiful wife / You may ask yourself, well, how did I get here? / Letting the days go by, let the water hold me down / Letting the days go by, water flowing underground...

In the  tune Once In A Lifetime,  David Byrne & The Talking Heads capture the humdrum of one's existence in one of New Wave Rock's most  iconic tributes to the banality of life and one's submission to that banality. Some may argue my interpretation, but for the purposes of today's post, that's my take.

The Apocalypse Draweth Nigh

I have a  friend who sends me doomsday articles, You Tubes of "brilliant" economists telling us where the next domino in the world is going to fall and other incontrovertible evidence that we are all blindly staring into a black hole of soon to come desolation. It's not a matter of if, but when, we all will be holding a bowl and a big spoon waiting on our next meal. And let's be honest. For those of us who grew up in the fifties, life was pretty good. Post war America was a time of unprecedented optimism and economic explosion. Then we became teenagers and young adults (oxymoron) in the sixties and that's when things began to get a tad squirrely. As Dr. Phil would say - How's that love the one your with and if it feels nice don't think twice workin' out for ya? Fifty two percent of all babies are born out of wedlock, 6.8 million kids are on prescription ADHD drugs and almost fifty million Americans are on food stamps. And, if you have been to the grocery store lately, well, that's another post on another blog on another planet. Now, for the first time in a generation, a majority of people with an opinion don't think their kids will have it better than they did. Imagine that!
So, you may ask - Who is this Nomad Architect, and why is he saying all these terrible things about us, about life, about our times, etc. etc. etc.? Well, after I read or watch some of the never ending barrage of doomsday scenarios postulated by supposedly really smart people, I begin to think of ways to combat the grey cloud of doubt and worry that seems to be prevalent within our culture, especially among those of us who had it so good. So, what to do - something, anything, everything you can possibly do to make yourself a non-believer in the New World Order. I mean, 1984 was twenty eight years ago, and we have made it this far. Now, I am no spendthrift  but, to quote Frank Lloyd Wright, America's greatest architect - Give me the luxuries of life and I will willingly do without the necessities. Such wisdom from an architect AND Nomad should never be dismissed, especially as it relates to travel.
So Put the Paper Down , Turn Off  The TV & Hit The Road!
Travel for Curious Nomads and Vagabonds is about disproving Thoreau's admonition - Most men lead lives of quiet desperation and go to the grave with the song still in them - or as the brilliant original Southern Comic Brother Dave Gardner put it - Man cannot live by bread alone, he must have peanut butter.  Sometimes life can be desperately quiet and banal in the modern world we sometimes endure. Nothing can cure those  - Do I eat cereal or a bagel for breakfast blues? like catching a plane, a train or an automobile to parts near and far. When you check into that little place in Umbria, or people watch from a comfy chair in a Paris sidewalk cafe or discover something new about some part of the Good Ole' USA you didn't know before, it can change the way you view the world. It can help you find your song and that much needed peanut butter as well.

And travel, real Nomadic travel is not just about 300 count sheets and rain showers, it's also about discovery. Discovery of new cultures, new people and, ultimately, yourself. As an architect and vagabond in search of that perfect piece of Eden, I can say, without hesitation, that travel has profoundly changed my world view. People everywhere are the same but oh so different in the way they take in their lives. As I pull onto one of the interstates we Americans take for granted, I often wonder  what visitors think of the massive scale of America when they arrive at the Magic Kingdom or ponder the Grand Canyon. I think they are just as taken with the vastness and uniqueness of America as contrasted with their own homeland, as we are when we take a train through the hills of Tuscany  or marvel at the ruins of Rome. It is not in my nature to "go with the flow", but, when in Venice or Paris or  Seattle, I really try to allow myself to be taken in by the unique cultures created by the people and their history. Talking with the artist/architect owners of the Lumani Guesthouse in Avignon about the love they felt for their repurposed place, their art and their lives in this small ancient city in Southeastern France is just one simple experience that convinces me that travel is ultimately about being curious, listening and learning about a world that is different from your own.
So, the next time you feel like life is not up to your expectations, don't just sit there, get up and go! And try to boldly go where no man (or woman) and your own significant others have gone before. Travel to parts unknown will lighten your step, sharpen your vision and hone your directional skills as a True Nomad when you come to that next fork in the road. Trust me - You'll know what to do.
Livin La Vida Loca

Travel Quote of The Week - Unless you try to do something beyond what you have already mastered, you will never grow. - Ralph Waldo Emerson

Video Artist of The Week - Grace Potter & The Nocturnals. The band's really good, but Grace Potter can just flat out sing .

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