The Unknown City

When you look at this picture,

do you know where it is? Can you guess? Those are clearly the hills of Tuscany tucking in a timid town not far from the Mediterranean. Or, it’s a secret city, gem of the South American Country side, El Dorado. Would you believe me if I said this place no longer existed because it has been destroyed in the heart of the long-embroiled Middle East?

I arrived at night. It was colder then I expected as I hauled my pack out of the taxi and helped my friends with theirs. We didn’t know where the hostel was so we started walking. The only logical thing to do when you’re lost. Continue reading

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Editor’s note: As mentioned, we will be taking submissions from folks all over the world. All contributors will be given biographical information, including links to pages, other projects, etc. We also respect people’s right to privacy and anonymity if so desired. To give readers some clarity each blog will acknowledge the author at the end of the piece, even if that it is simply Anonymous. For more information please see our Submissions page.

Geese are already flying north…

They’re in the fields and parks. It seems strange to see them already. Well I guess it’s about April, but they’ve been here since February. Washington seems pretty far north for a migratory bird running from winter, in the heart of winter. Maybe it’s global warming, or maybe they’re just confused like the rest of us. Shoot, I wouldn’t be in Washington in February if it wasn’t for heaters. I don’t imagine many of the other 3 million in this city would be here either. Then maybe Chief Sealth, his name wasn’t even Seattle you know, maybe he could finally rest in peace. I heard that the native folks from up around here were known to have taken their dug-out boats as far south as present day Los Angeles. Whoeee that’s far for a little podunk tree-trunk of a boat. But I guess they had a good reason. Can’t imagine why, what with the salmon gushing out of the rivers like blood from a wound back then.

I don’t know, but thought you might like to hear that, since this is all about not being about travel, or whatever. Continue reading

Editor’s Note

It doesn’t matter much what one believes, humans have primarily had a nomadic lifestyle during their residency on this planet. Or at least as far as I can tell. Despite centuries of attempted domestication humans have still not been able to overthrow this instinct, inclination, what-have-you. On a daily basis millions of people temporarily displace themselves from their place of residence to jobs, schools, and all other tedious activities. In fact, we have reached a state of out-sourced consumption that we no longer source food, clothing, or household items within walking distance of our homes*.

A lot of families don’t give birth in or near their own homes. The first breath is often taken in an overly sterilized, foreign environment.

Yet many have lost their understanding of travel. It has been allocated to the week and a half of paid vacation allowed by an employer. While that employer spends months of the year away from their home on business trips, paid for by the labor of others. While still others are forced to relocate, finding their traditional, familial lands polluted and untenable. Immigrating from the horror of losing everything they’ve known for generations, only to be reprimanded and criminalized once they make it past invisible lines drawn long ago.

There are many words in the English language for those who travel.

Traveler. Raconteur. Hobo. Sojourner. Globe-trotter. Wanderer. Vagabond. Drifter. Nomad. Immigrant. Tourist. Rambler. Expatriate. Chauffeur. Pilot. Business Executive. Vagrant.

It happens by choice. It happens by chance. Some run from a problem, while others run towards a solution.

This is not a travel blog. It’s not going to tell you where the best place to eat in Austin, TX is. Or which neighborhood won’t be as “scary” (read: low-income community of color) in Paris. You might get some insights on the places, but only as secondary bits of information included to give you a more holistic view of the people.

Writing should be a tool. One that is used to strengthen our understanding of the world around us and our fellow inhabitants. Don’t read this if you come to judge. Read to learn. This will be an unfolding discussion from people of all walks of life about why they travel. Whether it is only miles in a day to and from work, or train-hopping across a continent to see the sun rise on the Atlantic.

I am not a “travel expert.” You will learn more about me, and why I travel, as time goes by. For those who care about numbers, I am a 24 year-old who has been to 27 United States, Mexico, Japan, and Canada over the last 5 years. The last time I paid rent was May 2013, and I am used to living off of $3,000 or less per year.

I come from a place of U.S. educated cis-gender male privilege. I do my best to acknowledge that. In acknowledging that I aim to make myself accountable to the accesses I do have, and making it clear that this will not be the only voice heard here. I will use this platform to empower those voices often ignored in these spaces. All are invited to contribute, and those without access to a computer, or internet will be given it through interviews.

As editor I am committed to this in order to ensure this is the most inclusive and informative space possible.

J.D.

*That is a generalization, of course, one informed by 24 years of life coming from a privileged upbringing in the United States.