The room was packed and dim. The dusty ads for cigarettes and ice cream that papered the walls took on a new life and the people crammed into the small room looked less like people waiting at a train station and more like an audience, ready for the music to begin. Jonah Tolchin warmed up, noodling on his guitar before diving into his first tune.
unknown territory Posts
The day had been a long one. Almost 10 hours hitching from Amsterdam to Brück
“The end of the journey is not quite in sight. We are sitting in a bar that has Native American/old-time-y American theme. Flags, posters are reminiscent of the American West and American flags, bows, and arrows, and cowboy paraphernalia. Interspersed with all of this are lacy window hangings and Waldorf-like dioramas on the windowsills. Nothing like stepping into a bar and seeing little statues of lambs and other animals nestled in evergreen branches. Another giveaway that this bar is not someplace in the US, at least in this time period, is the indoor smoking and bright lights. The live music band is doing a decent job, though, reminiscent of a coffee house and small music gatherings I have been to in the states, covering classic rock to bluegrass-y tunes.
No longer are there cameras in every shop and on every store front. No longer are there soldiers, weapons strapped across there chest, standing at every other street corner. On crowded sidewalks, there isn’t a fear of being run over by three children piled on electric bikes weaving drunken lines on the crowded walkways. On any given day it is no longer common to hear conversations in at least three different languages not my own. In line at the store, or waiting for a ticket I can now doze without the fear that someone will cut me in line. The sidewalks here, (Northern New England), have cracks like lightning bolts cut through the hilly concrete. There are no more long bus rides. The cold this winter is slow to arrive, nonetheless, the feeling of the season makes reflecting all the easier.
Look for your courage,
take a tablespoon of this but not so heaping,
you don’t want it to cloud your common sense.
Take twice as much self-esteem
than you think you need.
Your self-esteem might be torn to tatters,
best to have a few extra just in case.
But in your hiking pack,
be sure to leave the biggest pocket empty
for your mind
that is open for each an every new experience;
you’ll need all the energy from this as you can get,
because nowhere else is like your own home,
and this is the beauty of travel!
A brief adventure away from Hava ve Adam became an adventure through some of the most beautiful landscapes between Jerusalem and Eilat. I found myself in a crew guiding around 160 bikers on this journey. Though not a very quick trip, time moved so differently than time on the farm. Working with the Arava Institute again also brought up many good memories.
Today the rains came. Or, I suppose it would be more correct to day, in the very early hours of the morning, the rains came. I now live in a yurt with two other people. We were very thankful for the tarp we took the time to fling over our skylight window. There is nothing like people under 5’5″ trying to get a piece of plastic over a steep roof 15’+ up. Others, we heard, were not so lucky and woke up to a 3am rainfall in the middle of their home. The yurt, like any other tent, makes the rain sound so much louder and more intense than it really is. Even so, when I woke up at 3, 4 and 5am I didn’t feel any inclination to get out of my nice warm bed to check. This was the first night I felt cold at night. On the upside, there were no biting insects.
Note: This poem is result of a skill-share creative writing class. The prompt was “first day of school”. During the writing of this piece the facilitators would shout out words that we were to incorporate into our stories/poems.
Eyes shiny & bright,
full of energy
& highly caffeinated,
your mom has tears in her eyes,
you are the baby,
flying the nest,
even though this is your second year away.
Hostels are the best. Not only are they cheaper than hotels (usually), they also turn up in places that no developer would dare build a hotel without a turn over of the neighborhood. I am not trying to insinuate that this place was ugly or rundown (ok, maybe a bit rundown), but it is located next to a long strip of car garages. There was broken auto glass on the ground but this didn’t stop people from walking barefoot though.
I really enjoy travelling because I get the opportunity to walk outside my comfort zone. Opportunity, perhaps, is not the right word. I am dumped out of my comfort zone surrounded with life boats that don’t always speak English and I don’t always know how to utilize. But it works out, I learn to adapt and the greatest thing, I have to talk and put my trust in strangers. I learn to find those kind and helpful beings who take a moment out of their lives to help a traveler. I am forever thankful. As a child I don’t think I was ever told never to talk to strangers but somewhere along the line there was instilled in me this fear of doing so. Perhaps it came from reading so many books, or maybe movies. Half of the time “stranger danger” as portrayed in these types of media are a joke, I wonder how often this then translates into a subconscious fear. At home you are in familiar territory and you can rely completely on yourself. That is not as easy to do abroad. Travelling reminds you how to ask for help.