Monday, November 29, 2010

Big Props to ViaWest

I just wrote an email to many friends that I work with at ViaWest letting them know how grateful I am that the company is allowing me to take 3 months off and maybe even more important, they want me to come back.   In an economy where people are begging for jobs,  I don't run into many people who work in the corporate world that can just step away completely for a full quarter.

I am fortunate that ViaWest is giving me this opportunity.   Thank you!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Love You Moon

My dear friend, Moon, passed on late last night. She was  fighting for her life for a few days following a car accident that severely injured her husband and killed their unborn child.

When I heard about their child, I spent some time in the garden planting bulbs.  I felt like I was replanting the seed, the energy of life lost back into the universe so something new and beautiful can grow.

Today is a warm, sunny day.  I walked down to the river and enjoyed the radiating beauty of the afternoon.  I am so grateful that I was able to share life with you,  Moon.  Thank you for being...

Monday, November 22, 2010

Not My First Rodeo

In preparing for new trips one cannot help but take a peek back at the journeys of yore.  I have been blessed with some amazing opportunities to live and visit are the world.  My folks are the instigators, dare I use the word enablers, of much of my travels.

I grew up in Evergreen Colorado which is a beautiful forested mountain town in the foothills which was like living in a vacation as it was.  I spent the summer until I was 12 in norther Montana, primarily near Glacier Park or Flathead Lake.  Much of that time was spend camping and hiking.  There could be no greater childhood.

When I was 13 my parents took me on the "family vacation" through Europe.  In order to keep the words short in this post I will just say;  It was absolutely a super experience planting the seed of travel intrigue.  We hit most of Europe just short of Scandinavia and Greece.  (looking forward to getting there).  Counting the micro city state that are considered countries, which I proudly did, I think we hit 25 countries.  My memory may be exaggerating. 

I was sent to live on live for the summer on a small island just outside of Cannes, France.  That didn't suck.  The island had a mid-evil walled castle, once containing the man in the iron mask back in them historical days, that was now converted into a Euro-teen summer camp for French, German, Italian, and Dutch kids ages 15-18.  They were all sent to learn one of the following,  Sailing, Scuba diving, windsurfing, and of all things, modern dance which enlisted most of the exotic young girls that dominated the island.    Oh, the other class the camp taught was French.  That is what my parents signed me up for.  There were other things I learned that they did not sign up for.  Like a kid finds a candy store...

I kind of gambled at the prodding of my parents to see if I had the "je ne sais quoi" it takes to be a high school exchange student.  It's takes some combination of GPA, extra curricular endeavors (the positive kind),  writing a good "why I'd be a good exchange student" paper, personal charm and whatnot to be sent abroad and sponsored.  After 3 rounds of interviews without being dismissed (kind of like some reality competition) I was shocked to be selected to spend my senior year in Brazil.  They must put more weight on the charm part because I was not what you call a stellar student.  Again, I'll save space on this post by saying I could not be more grateful for my experience in Brazil.  Another experience that I have no doubt helped form me into who I am today.

After slipping through high school I planned went to visit my parents who now lived in Ankara, Turkey.  My plan was to stay a month and check out Turkey.  While there I was flipping through the Stars and Stripes newspaper (a paper for put out for the US military living abroad) when I came across and advertisement for the University of Maryland Munich Branch in southern Germany.  Rather than just visiting Turkey for a bit I ended up staying in Europe for 2 years, much to the chagrin of my girlfriend I left in Colorado.  Outside of the amazing experiences and meeting some of the greatest friend going to that school I also was able to hop about more of Europe including the freshly open eastern block.  1989-1991 was a crazy time to visit Berlin, Prague (still then Czechoslovakia), and Budapest.  We ran down to the Italian Riviera, Switzerland, and frequented Amsterdam on long weekends.  I even got 2 credits for going down to Egypt for 2 weeks of touring their epic history.  My collage years in Germany were the kind you get to look back on and just say, "what a lucky frinkin' guy I am!"

My collage graduation gift from my parents, which was eventually  from CU in 1994,  was a 5 week backpacking trip with my father through Costa Rica.  I love that country.  Still think I'd like to live there.  Oddly enough I went back with Asiana in 2008 to show the place off and were quickly relieved of our cash, passports, credit cards, bank cards, camera , travel books,  ipod...all the things you'd like to have with you for a comfortable vacation.  Lesson learned - always be careful of your shit it can be stolen behind a mask of complete kindness not just in the bad part of town.

And for over the past decade I've run down to Mexico, ahh Mexico, to Scuba and marinate in the sun at least once a year, sometime more often.   I use to own a little piece of Caribbean looks-like-a -corona-commercial beach... alas nothing lasts forever.

Of all the traveling I've done I feel like this one to Asia may involve the most movement and the most challenging communication.  Most other places I've been I could get the gist and at least fumble my way in communication.  I cannot even pronounce many of our destination spots much less have any clue about anything concerning general vocabulary and much much less about how to form a sentence.

I have been reluctant to leave many moment before take off from the comforts of Colorado.  I have never regretted any journeys.  Each has liberated some part of me.  What will this one bring?

Friday, November 19, 2010

Chokin' Up a Bit

As I am getting closer to take off time, I find the frequency of chokin' up and getting teary eyed is rising dramatically.

I often run off for a week or two many times during the year, but never have I been away from my daughter, Indigo,  for 3 months - a quarter of the year.  Of all the challenges I may face, missing my little sweetheart may nearly killing me.  Indigo will be turning 11 years old just days after I leave.   We will be spending the previous weekend at a condo in Steamboat enjoying Strawberry Park Hot Springs with her friend for an early birthday celebration and it will be the last time I will see her until spring.  (excuse me while I dry my eyes again)

I am so grateful that I have such an amazing little girl, mature beyond her years, that understands that daddy is called to live a life of adventure and excitement.   Even with her wholehearted blessings, I am going to miss her more that I've missed anybody in my life.  I love you Indigo!

This journey would never happen without the support of Indigo's mother, Tree, whom I dearly love and will miss as well.  As one of my closest friends and a great parental  co-conspirator, Tree is gracious enough to take on the role of a single parent for 3 months.  I cannot thank you enough.  (especially if you take care of our cat and plants too)

Although I will not miss working, I find there is a bond created with the people you work closely with.  Hell, we sometimes spend more of our waking life with them then anyone else.  I've been friends with my boss from even before I got him a job at Viawest 11 years ago.  I totally dig my team and will probably go through some weird withdrawal.  (hope I don't freak out and call into a video conference just to hear their voices.  Anyway, I'll be missing my peeps at Viawest.

My elder daughter, Blythe, lives outside LA working on getting here career started now that she's finished school at Boston U.  We already have a nutty communication schedule or should I say a lack of one.  We love each other and have a healthy friendship, but don't need to prop it up with much communication.  We can easily go 3 months without saying a word to each other as it is and we are totally comfortable with it.  Hell, if I didn't tell her about this trip, she would probably not notice I was checked out.  Even though we don't directly interact in each others lives there is something about being on the complete other side of the earth with a vast ocean separating us that seems like I will energetically miss Blythe.  (she will probably be the only person  reading this blog - ironically giving us the opportunity to be more in touch than normal)

My parents are very concerned for my well being on this trip and that is putting very lightly.  I receive articles nearly every other day outlining the dangers that await us at many of our destinations - even the ones you'd think they know I would never be involved in.  I'm not sure why I'm getting warned about growing problems with child prostitution in Cambodia.  I can't imagine they think that when I'm searching for a hooker in the back ally of some 3rd would country that I need to be conscious of checking the drivers license for their age.  I guess my point about my parent is... I will miss them very much as well  and at the same time I will be in constant communication with them via email to ease their worried minds.  Anytime I have some sort of interweb connectivity I will be updating then on my health and whereabouts.   Maybe I'll take pictures of the older prostitutes to cheer up my 82 year old father.

Finally, I am amazingly fortunate to be surrounded by and engaged in the lives of so many wonderful friends.  There are people in our community that I see weekly while other less often and I'm sure I will be holding them all in my heart as I trek around the other side of the earth.  Ever since I was a child I found my friendships to be my lifeblood. You are the reflection that allows me to understand myself and the greatest vehicle for growth... and just about the funnest frickin' crew of people in the world.  I know we will all be celebrating life together no matter where we are.  And with that I say - "so long suckers!"

Monday, November 15, 2010

What to Pack

Got to go lighter than ever. I always overpack. Most of those are for trips under two weeks and to places where I didn't need to tote if about. 3 months of living out of a bag. I have to remember that I can buy most anything I need.

I normally wear cotton loose things that all come from where Im heading. I could fly out in my under ware and buy everything in Bangkok including the Thai wrap pants which is what I'd bring if they it weren't shredded.

The only clothing I specifically bought for the trip is a pair of Keens for my feet. They don't really look as cool as I like, but comfort and versatility win. Thinking about throwing in my flipflops as well. I'll start with one pari of pants,Pacha Play Pants, that you can roll up to make shorts. My speedo trunks. A wrap/scarf. Avatar jacket. Couple shirts, probably from India originally. Three pair of socks and a ton of under ware.

Got a basic first aid kit, earplugs, headlamp, travel towel and sleep liner (to keep the bed bugs away), universal sink stopper, and drying cord. That whole bit is small and light. If this is all I bring then I will be traveling light.

I thought i might try and rough it as far as technology goes. My first purchase we a kindle digital book reader. I figured it would be better than lugging around five lonely planets and a bunch of other reading. Next I bought a new camera, Canon G10. My crappy point and click camera is getting repaired for the third time and I have no confidence it will not crap out on this trip. After, looking up flights, train schedules, hotel sites, and just good old basic information on the interweb, I realized I might save the that crazy time resource by purchasing an iPad. Along with my phone which I hope to not use except as my alarm clock I will be carrying a bunch of electric cables and chargers and shit.

I think getting the iPad is the reason I'll even be blogging.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010


Upon our meeting, Asiana and I always talked about our dreams of checking out parts of the world we have not seen.  I have been drawn to visit Southeast Asia, more specifically Cambodia for more than a decade.  Asiana, being a Yoga facilitator, body worker, and into Ayurveda, has held experiencing India close to her heart for a long time. 

A year ago we started taking action to make this journey manifest.  On December 6 2010 we are flying out of Colorado to travel for 3 months to India, Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, and Vietnam.  If we have the resources we will be attempting to sneak into Nepal and maybe kick it in Bali before heading home.

I'm starting this blog (my first blog ever) more as a journal of this journey rather than a broadcast for everyone.  (look what I can do!)  I'd like to track where I've been and what I did and since I cannot count on my memory to retain much these days it looks like blogging is the answer. 

Once again I seem short of understanding my intentions of this trip.  Just to "check shit out" seems pretty weak.  Yet, expecting some monumental transformation in my entire spiritual being is a bit assuming.  At this point my intentions are directed on how I hope to work with the entire movement.  I hope to be adventurous.  I hope to be accepting.  I hope to see the beauty in the small and mundane. I hope to be patient (not just act patient but feel patient).  I hope to be understanding, open minded, and graceful collaborating with my beloved travel partner, Asiana.  I hope I can remember to be grateful for the opportunity, grateful for the experience, and grateful for existence at every step of the journey.  In the end, I hope to win!