An experiment with experiential learning
Brought me back
Seven years had passed
Since I called Tokyo my home
Like an ex-lover
Familiar but different
A flood of memories
In the streets, big and small
The love and the hate I once felt
for the city, for the culture and for a boy
A different self, many life times ago
Filled with paradoxes
Racism to extremes
Celebritised or despised
Aliens swimming in a foreign sea
of manicured faces
Designer top to toe
Toy cars, Read more [...]
On Tuesday 18 June, I shook hands and looked into the eyes of the man who seems to be the happiest man in the world—His Holiness Tenzin Gyatso, the 14th Dalai Lama of Tibet. More than meeting him, at the end of our event I received a blessing from him. It was very real but also surreal.
As one might imagine, it takes a lot of work and preparation, and a bit of stress. Ok, a lot of stress. Every detail must be taken care of. Every person must have a seat, but no seat should be empty. This Read more [...]
On 7th day of the 7th month, 2007, I met a person who would inspire a change in my life. He lit a spark of creativity inside me, and pointed to the possibilities that exist if you just fucking go. Soon after our chance encounter (and kiss), I stumbled across his blog www.nyc2rio.com:
On September 13th, 2007 we’re driving out of New York City on an adventure through Central and South America, en-route to Rio De Janeiro.
Aside from making it there in one piece, our journey is about the experience Read more [...]
On 2 May 2013, in Paris, my colleagues and I represented the Sydney Peace Foundation at the Australian Ambassador's Residence in Paris, where we awarded a posthumous Gold Medal for Human Rights to Stéphane Hessel for his life-long contribution to building a more peaceful and just society.
Stéphane Hessel was a German born Jew whose family fled to France who became a fighter in the French Resistance where he was captured, tortured and escaped execution by the Nazis. On returning to Paris Read more [...]
"If you’re aiming for a goal that isn’t your destiny, you will always be swimming against the current... Find out what your destiny is and the river will carry you."—Men Who Stare At Goats.
Nicola's comment on my 2010 blog post on Optimal Trajectory reminded me of this philosophy. As I blogged last week, there are times in life where you are "in the flow", and times when you are swimming against the tide.
When your destiny is carrying you, it can feel as if there are green lights all Read more [...]
I am far too aware of my being-towards-death. While Heidegger calls this "authenticity", I call it "frick'n annoying" and a "tad bit depressing". But it's too late now.
My ignorance is gone and like when you see a huge zit on someone's face, it's hard to then go back to ignoring it.
For all it's frustrations there may be something to it: an awareness of death leads to more conscious decisions in the way you live life.
Awareness of death makes you reflect on what you care about, and encourages Read more [...]
Willowy and wanting
by stretching to the time
of high expectations,
which the contented and closed
would never wish to see,
you are a beautiful model
of curious discontent
who like a magnet draws
the lively and the lustful.
Willowy and wanting
to realize the promise
of so many customs,
you mix the ingredients
of epicureans and hedonists,
cartwheel through life’s carnivals
yet know the need
to trim the sails,
feel Read more [...]
"I obviously support gay marriage under the principle that why should only heterosexuals suffer." Jeffrey Eugenides.
“In thickening thighs and boring anecdotes, I now pronounce you man and wife...” Kathy Lette.
Watching the Writers Festival panelists on Q&A discuss the question of marriage, I was reminded of some old musings. I thought I'd already blogged them, but discovered I hadn't...
There are two very different uses of the word marriage, which I think we often confuse: the socio-legal Read more [...]
102 days, 6 countries, 3 girls, x boys & 1 kombi named Betty.
So I've mentioned "my book" a million and one times, the travel memoir I've been working on every since my trip to South America some three years ago now. Think Eat Pray Love with a twist. As described in one of my proposals:
"Beginning by following others, and chasing love, Juliet finds herself travelling down a long and winding road to Brazil — through Paris, Japan and Christianity — the so-called “first world” that Read more [...]
In the scheme of things when you spend two hours in traffic each work day, or half an hour waiting in line for a coffee, or forty hours a year gathering together your receipts and filling out your tax return, what % of your life are you spending doing things you don't want to be doing?
[A deleted scene from My Brazilian]:
At a restaurant in Argentina, after many-a glasses of Malbec and chocolate fondue, I found myself in an existentially mathematically reflective mood.
"How many hours Read more [...]
A month ago I passed through Costa Rica for two reasons (1) to check out the University for Peace and (2) being stingy (bargain flights to LA). I was pleasantly surprised to discover that, like bear statues in Berlin a few years ago, and elephants in Copenhagen last year, San José was spotted with colourful statues of doves...
It is probably no surprise Costa Rica was hosting a "Parade for Peace" considering it also:
(1) has no army (abolished permanently in 1949)
(2) is considered Read more [...]
The word "encuentros" translates in English to "meeting" or "to encounter". Or as my friend translates it "Encuentros is a Meeting Point.” The philosophy behind this restaurant/bar/cafe in Granada, Nicaragua, is that it is a place to "meet the world".
Having travelled the world making documentaries (as well as doing a Master in Peace and Conflict Studies in Sydney) Erik Hof, with the help of his dad Rob Hof, set up this unique fusion of world food, cocktails, culture and conversation, with pool Read more [...]
There was a girl who hated being bored. She hated boredom so much that she liked to do the unexpected. She almost killed herself diving into the deep end, time and time again. It was an intense way of life. It had its benefits. It also took its tolls.
Surprise surprise, that girl is me: I’m home. As in, my home in Sydney, “Surprise!”
I feel like the boy-who-cried-wolf, but with surprises. It is the second time I’ve turned up in Sydney unannounced. I’ve booked tickets that transport Read more [...]
I love it when Spanish words resemble their English equivalent. Madrigal's Magic Key to Spanish, illustrated by Andy Warhol, is a cheat code for English speakers to learn Spanish. Carried out with a sense of humour too. See if you can guess these words: diferente; conveniente; elefante; producto; intereste; nación; universidad; usé... I've been recommending this book to so many people that I figure I should share it on here.
Some the cheat code:
Words that end in ‘or’ are often Read more [...]
Ok, given my travels, my book, and living with Latinos most of this year, I should know more Spanish than I do. And considering the “peace” and "environmentalist" stereotype it may shock you to find out I’m (A) not a vegetarian (which really has nothing to do with this post), and (B) that in Granada I had my first ever experience with volunteer work.
Given volunteering in Granada didn't cost money (in case you didn't know, most volunteering projects do) and the bonus discount it gave for Read more [...]
Colour fills the streets: the houses, the clothes, the people, the air. Excitement. A familiar joy. Why did it take so long for me to return?
Even the smell is familiar — a raw combination of trees, humidity, food, and dirt.
The sound of scooters, olden-day cars, horses trotting, children playing, salsa music and a sea of Spanish words — music to my ears.
Every day is the same: the sun rises at 6, sets at 6, 25-30 degrees — mi paradiso.
It’s been almost three years. I fell in Read more [...]
Do you ever tell yourself to “just relax” and then continue to do the very opposite? Or tell yourself to “forget it”. Or “frick’n focus!” And then find it impossible? Well that what happened to me today. Then it reversed itself in a way I didn't expect.
It started with a 75-minute hot yoga class at Y Yoga, my health retreat since arriving in Vancouver. Today was different: a hundred and one thoughts frolicked through my mind — which means today I was not doing yoga. I was stretching, Read more [...]
As a New Year approaches it is tradition to evaluate the year past and plan the one ahead. The problem is I find it hard enough to distinguish between a week ago and a month ago, let alone ten months ago from two years ago. This blog keeps track of my life for me. It’s my therapy. It’s my timeline. It’s the closest access I have to how I have felt in my past. It tracks my stories, however I wanted to tell them at the time. So, when it comes to evaluating a year gone by, this blog is where I Read more [...]
On Tuesday I leave Hickory for two weeks traveling through New York, Seattle, Vancouver, and home to Sydney. After all the mishaps this year, I have a request… I would really like to make it home safe, in one piece. No more freak accidents, please!
If you have a moment to say a short prayer or breath in and out a positive meditation for me… I very much appreciate it…
For my Storytelling class today we experimented with using Spoken Word Poetry to inspire students' creativity and as a fun way to tell some stories...
Sarah Kay set the scene:
Then I asked students:
1. Write down ten things you know to be true
2. Share and see what you learn from others' lists (optional)
3. Go outside and write a poem
4. Practice with a friend
5. Share with the class
Raving success! Using poetry every student shared a story about themselves, Read more [...]
Forty minutes into the 12-hour drive to Chicago I was yelling "STOP!!!" with my hands on the dashboard and a frozen car getting closer and closer BANG!!!!!! We hit. The car crumbled. Totalled. Thanks to some guardian angels that (thank God) seem to follow me around the world, no one was hurt.
The next thing I knew I was in the front seat of a cop car. Not in trouble for anything, I'm way too goody goody for that. The cop gave us a lift to the car wrecker yard in a town sporting a single taxi, Read more [...]
In DC on Tuesday 18th October, I had a chance to observe and talk directly with protestors, learning more about what they are really about. Camps and protests have been spreading throughout the city, I came across two of them. Each were occupied by a mixed age group, mainly students, retirees, and unemployed. Some had been there a couple of days, others a couple of weeks. Some supporters I met who have jobs join the protest even if just for an afternoon, to show their support.
At the first Occupy Read more [...]
What is #OccupyWallSt? Who are the 1%? Why did it take the media so long to report on it? What do protestor's want? Are they trying to bring down The Pyramid? Will they succeed?
I am teaching a class on the Philosophy of War and Peace in North Carolina, with a specific focus on the Arab Spring. Yet here in America I might be witnessing the greatest revolution of them all: the "OccupyWallSt" movement, and its children.
When I showed RapNews to students a few weeks ago, I had no idea that it Read more [...]
What are you looking for? What do you want? If you don't know, how will you know when you have it?
This was a problem faced after eating a mushroom in Amsterdam. We were walking around aimlessly. We didn't know what we were looking for! My friend through up her arms, "How are we going to get anywhere if we don't know where we want to go?!"
A bridge pose wasn't much of a solution...
I think I've been facing a similar problem with my life: how do bridge toward a future without knowing where that Read more [...]