Thursday, January 31, 2008

Season of the Fool

(Tioman Island, Malaysia, I've been scuba diving here!!)

"He will cease from what is base and frivolous in his life, and be content with all places and with any service he can render. He will calmly front the morrow in the negligence of that trust which carries God with it, and so hath already the whole future in the bottom of his heart.

The conditions are hard but equal. Thou shalt leave the world, and know the muse only. Thou shalt not know any longer the times, customs, graces, politics or opinions of men, but shalt take all from the muse. For the time of towns is tolled from the world by funeral chimes, but in nature the universal hours are counted by succeeding tribes of animals and plants and by growth of joy on joy. The world is full of renunciations and apprenticeships, and this is thine; thou must pass for a fool, and a churl for a long season. And this is the reward; that the ideal shall be real to thee, and the impressions of the actual world shall fall like summer rain, copious, but not troublesome, to thy invulnerable essence."

~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

(Kuching, Sarawak, East Malaysia (Sarawak River) where I used to live.)

Traveling is sacred; mankind has traveled ever since the dawn of time, in search of hunting and grazing ground, or milder climates. Very few men manage to understand the world without leaving their home towns. When you travel - and I am not speaking of tourism, but of the solitary experience of a journey - four important things occur in your life:

a] one is in a different place, so the protective barriers no longer exist. To begin with this can be alarming, but soon one gets used to it and starts understanding how many interesting things there are beyond the walls of one's garden.

b] since solitude can be great and oppressive, one is more open to people one would not normally exchange a single word with, back home - waiters, other travelers, hotel staff, the passenger in the next seat in the bus.

c] one starts depending on others for everything: finding a hotel, buying something, knowing how to catch the next train. One begins to realize that there is nothing wrong with depending on others - on the contrary, it is a blessing.

d] one speaks in a language one doesn't understand, uses money whose worth one does not know, and wanders down streets for the very first time. One knows the old I, with all it learned, is completely useless in the face of these new challenges - and begins discovering that, buried deep down in one's unconscious, there is something far more interesting, adventurous, open to the world and to new experiences.

(Sarawak, Borneo Highlands, near where I used to live.)

"To travel is the experience of ceasing to be the person you are trying to be, and becoming the person you really are."

Much love and Namaste.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Getting Political - State of the Union Address 2008

Yes. Yes. Indeed I cannot refrain any longer, I must in fact "get political".

On Monday afternoon,, our one-stop shopping site for neutral-colored residences, posted this important update on the proceedings:
“President Bush will deliver his State of the Union address on January 28, 2008. Whatever the form, content, delivery method or broadcast medium, the President’s annual address is a backdrop for national unity.”

My guesses — and please bear in mind that I am neither pundit nor a smart person — were (my assumptions previous to the speech were as follows):

Form: Macaroni collage
Content: In-depth analysis of monumentally important human-animal hybrid controversy
Delivery Method: Ice Cream Truck
Broadcast Medium: Tin cans, string

So the speech wasn't so bad. Delivery was decent, his skills have in fact, yep I'm saying it, improved! I think he's trying to leave us on perhaps a "good note" with the impression that he is trying to make positive changes in our economy, national security, global war on terror, education system (No Child Left Behind), health care, immigration, etc., but I fear it's too late for his "attempts to change for the better" to win over American's hearts and minds. No coasting into finish for Dubya. But here is a summary of his speech:

Form: Speech
Content: Economic stuff, Incentive stuff, Legacy stuff
Delivery Method: Mouth
Broadcast Medium: TV

Truly, the address was a firm, sure-footed and resounding proclamation that even our 43rd president himself was surprised he had to do another of these things.

9:06: The President arrives, fashionably late, and fashionably attired in a blue tie the exact shade of America’s current malaise. After much hand-shaking, he takes his place at the rostrum, in front of Dick Cheney, a human-zombie hybrid, and Nancy Pelosi, a human-woman hybrid.

9:07: Bush gets down to business right away, talking about the economy, his stimulus plan, etc. Obviously, he’s saving human-animal hybrids for later in the speech.

9:12: Tax relief. No mention of how human-animal hybrids could affect it.

9:22: Human-alcohol hybrid Ted Kennedy checks his program, trying to figure out who the guy in the blue tie behind the podium is, and if there’s an intermission.

9:29: “I call on Congress to ban unethical practices such as…” This is it! “…the buying, selling, patenting, or cloning of human life.” Human-animal hybrids, here we —
Um. Hello? He’s just moved on to “matters of justice.” Matters of justice!? How about the injustice of not discussing human-animal hybrids?!

9:30: Okay, now I'm ticked.

9:33: America is responding to immigration by “deploying fences.” If we had human-animal hybrids, we could line them up along the Mexican border. They would be dangerous, yet understanding. Does nobody see this?

9:40: Iraq.

9:53: Iran.

9:55: Wiretapping.

10:00: Wow. He’s really not even going to mention them.

10:01: “…And the state of our union will remain strong.” “God bless America.”

Yes, we’re a little shocked right now.

But in a way, I'm almost glad President Bush didn’t discuss human-animal hybrids in this year’s State of the Union. Perhaps he understood that, with only one year left, they’re simply too big for him to take on. (Some are, quite literally. Especially if the human is tall to begin with, and then the animal it’s fused with is like a rhino or a blue whale.)
We look forward to next year, when the State of the Union is delivered by someone else. Someone more attuned to the plight of the human-animal. Maybe a centaur.
Thank you Topical Satire Initiative.

Okay now go watch his speech if you missed it at:
and read these numbers:
The Real State of the Union 2008 By the Numbers

Number of Americans living in poverty in 2001: 31.6 million
Number of Americans living in poverty in 2008: 36.5 million

Percentage increase in home foreclosures, November 2006-December 2007: 68%

Yearly average number of new private sector jobs created from 1992-2000: 1.76 million
Yearly average number of new private sector jobs created from 2001-2008: 369,000
Average price of a gallon of gasoline on January 3, 2000: $1.59
Average price of a gallon of gasoline on January 7, 2008: $3.14

Forget Cloverfield, where were our warnings before this one? ;)

It was my pleasure.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Extra! Extra! Read All About It!

(Inisheer on Aran Island, Ireland)

Have some new and exciting news for everyone!!! Amber is coming to Ireland with me! She bought her ticket tonight (and managed to get seats next to me the whole way!) YAY! Sara is also coming over from England to meet us in Dublin!! YAY! Wow! I am so excited! I know we will have the best time ever! I promised Amber that if she comes to Ireland with me that I'll get a shamrock tattoo, so now that her ticket is bought it's my turn to get a tattoo! YAY! haha! So now I just need to save, save, save!!!
(Irish Castle)

(new tattoo?)

Thursday, January 17, 2008

The Pursuit of Happiness

(Forty shades of green...the Irish countryside. Kilkenny, Ireland.)

The ticket has been booked! It's no backing out of this one! I leave on March 1st from Nashville (have an 8 hour layover in Chicago) and arrive in Dublin, Ireland on March 2nd at 8:35am! I will return home on March 8th. I know, I all voted otherwise, most of yas on South America, but I could not find a ticket under $1,000 to any location in SA plus I saw P.S. I Love You this week (with my ladies: CJ, Kelly, and Dusty....cried like mad!) and it inspired me to go!

YAYYYY! I am so excited, beyond words, sooo excited! My friend Courtney went to Ireland last year and she is making a list of places for me to visit, I'd like to spend most of my time in the country-side, though I am visiting both Dublin and Belfast. I'm staying at hostels and couchsurfing is a possibility (see Are you all excited for me? Hopefully I'll meet a sexy lepruchaun to show me around :-) or Gerard Butler or Jeffrey Dean Morgan (though he's actually Scottish) (see

In other news! I watched Juno with Kelly on Monday!! One of the best movies I've ever seen! Also, I am back in school now and busy as ever!!!! I have school three days a week, work three days a week and then am about to start teaching sunday school with Kelly, have church, and community group on Sunday's! My life is really busy right now and I love every bit of it! I love staying busy, I feel so responsible and somewhat proud of myself, not only for work, school, and church but for also in a way...finding my way and having the courage to finally book a trip off on my own! I get to put that expensive Gregory Palisade backpack to good use now (see right-hand picture)!!! :-)

Okay, I'll stop bragging on myself now. I must go study for my math quiz tomorrow and get some shut eye.
With undefended love.
(Cliffs of Moher, Ireland)

Friday, January 4, 2008

Uttanasana and New Beginnings

(this photo is of the salt flats aka Salar de Uyuni in Bolivia)

Bonne année everyone!! Hope everyone had a wonderful and safe new years! I went to CJ and Clint's house for a friendly gathering, played Scene It (us girls beat the boys, yes I know my Nicholas Cage but apparently not my Michael Palin whom I had just finished watching a documentary literally 3 hours before the question!) Anyways, we also played Wii boxing and bowling, my arms have killed since! It was wonderful to be with my closest friends, I had a great time!

Also, I was lucky enough to see the Trans-Siberian Orchestra from like the 7th row (it snowed on us!) on Sunday night thanks to Clint and CJ who knows the tour manager and offered Dusty and I two of their tickets. I have to say it was THE best concert I've ever been to! Thank you two so much! I love you both. This Sunday I start community bible study! Also, this Sunday we are celebrating CJ's birthday! Happy early Birthday CJ!

This week I've taken some big steps toward making my trip a reality, I put more money into my savings and also started an IRA (yes it's a retirement account but I'm investing in a medium-risk mutual fund which hopefully will make me some money rather than lose it!).

I've also started an exercise regiment, I try my best to run everyday, I've started with a mile and am building up to 5 to 6 miles! I also do yoga every night before I head to bed, it's incredibly relaxing! After I do it I feel so calm and peaceful, after reading about 5 pages I passed out and slept great! I feel really good all day the following day too! Today I received the always precious compliment that I looked "skinny", I love it.

I've looked into taking a little "pre-trip" this spring break! I feel the need to gauge my travel capabilities and have found a few prices on flights at the beginning of March to Ireland and South America. If I don't go to Ireland to explore (both North and South) then I'd like to fly into Buenos Aires and head down to Patagonia (well, Punta Arenas) for a week of hiking around the glaciers and Ushuaia! What do you all think? I've found some cheap prices and I think it'll not only satisfy my eagerness and impatience to travel (for a little while at least!) but help me understand my limits, I'll be staying in hostels and traveling as cheaply as possible.

I received a lot of great comments on my previous blog, after work tomorrow I'll try to reply to them all! Thank you all so much for your input, I love to see that people are reading my blog and those experienced travelers are sharing their information with me (Adam, Steve, etc.) as I'm totally clueless when it comes to all of this stuff! Yay for comments! Yay for travel! Yay for flippin' life! =) I'm truly blessed.

Well I'm off now to do some yoga and get some shut eye, I've made a promise to my 11 o'clock buddies at work that I'd make an appearance (in other words work 11-8 with them)!

Much love and Namaste my friends.

(lengthening in yoga, I can dooo it!)