The Scariest Part of Traveling, Part II

I don’t know which is scarier, the idea of ending my travels or saying goodbye…

The art of leaving. It takes a delicate touch saying goodbye.

People will tell you about the multitude of cultures that have no way of saying goodbye, as if it means leaving doesn’t exist to them. But it does. Leaving is human nature. And sometimes human nature is difficult. Human history has been one long practice in leaving.

It only takes one breath.

Two syllables.

Goodbye

I’ve become almost too accustomed to leaving. Saying goodbye. That’s what travel can do to a person. First it hurt. Deep, deep down it hurt to say, to leave. The hurt came from the immersion into impermanence it is to travel. Leaving a place is the acceptance of a different presence, one void of the familiarity one knows. Leaving might mean forever. That’s a long time. And that’s scary. Continue reading

A Seminarian, runner and traveler walk into a bar . . .

No, I’m not setting up a joke . . .

This is my life. When Jack asked me if I was interested in writing a piece about the intersection of religion, running and travel, I thought long and hard about what I could say.  Well, it turns out that I actually have a lot to say.

Besides my wife and family, the three greatest loves of my life are theology, running and traveling. These three things have been a part of my life for as long as I can remember, but to varying degrees at different times of my life. It’s only been in the last year that I’ve had the opportunity to experience all three of these at a heightened level. This has made me feel more alive than at any other time in my life. And it has helped me see how connected all three of these really are for me.

Continue reading

5 Reasons Not to Call Yourself a “Gypsy”

Odds are if you are reading this you aren’t a Gypsy . . .

Not because Roma People (those referred to as Gypsy in English) don’t use computers or aren’t into what I have to say. It’s simply because by high estimates there are around 15 million Roma worldwide, or roughly .21% of the world population. So, if the number of people who visit this website is in any way indicative of the broader world that would mean 1.11 of you are Roma. The rest are not.

Here at Vagrant Anonymous we are in no way anti-Roma. In fact, we find the culture to be fascinating. A group of nomadic people, coming from a mysterious beginning in India, and slowly dispersing around the rest of the world over centuries is very interesting. The Roma have a unique story, history, and culture which I know very little about.

What I do know mostly comes from the internet, and it reminds me that the Roma have been subjected to forced assimilation, sterilization, and genocide; something all too reminiscent of the fate of many indigenous people from the ‘Americas’. Continue reading

New York City Part 1, or Excursive Exhaustion

I could write something really contrived . . .

It would probably be about Brooklyn. A remark on finally arriving in New York City for the first time in my life; a place I have seen recreated more then enough times on a screen. I’d also include that I’ve already eaten pizza twice in the four hours since I’ve arrived.

It rose from the flat deciduous delirium that is New Jersey. That much was clear from the $7 front row, upper deck seat on the bus from Washington D.C. I struggled to stay awake at the beginning of the trip–that’s what happens when you’re at the whim of your hosts, stay up 20 hours the day before, walk all around D.C., go to two concerts, and get to sleep at 4am-ish. Almost like an accident, the skyscrapers disrupt the continuity. Continue reading

Crowd Sourced Capers

A pithy confession . . .

I don’t read blogs. It is a medium I often don’t find myself drawn to. That is part of the reason for the insistence that this is not a travel blog. The reason my colleague and I started this website was in order to create an open, accessible space for all to discuss the deeper elements of travel. In addition it is very self-serving. It is a place where M. A. Chavez and myself can publish our own original thoughts while developing a voice within this popular medium that is blogging.

I normally write spoken word poetry, incisive observations of our society, and may have been caught in the somewhat obsessive attempt to use the written word to portray that which I’ve seen. I’m outspoken. Hence why I get on a stage with a mic and yell my feelings at an audience.

This is where M. A. Chavez and myself diverge. He is a refined artist, a wordworker, purveyor of prose. yes, he does contribute pieces to this website, but he also spends months developing story lines, characters, and themes. At a rather young age (something I am not at liberty to divulge) he has one novel manuscript completed, and the impressive beginnings of a second, in addition to multiple short stories, poetry, and essays. Where I admittedly crave the snaps, claps, and cheers of the stage, he has little desire for that. His fulfillment lies in the months of work it can take to describe one scene.

In short; he’s a recluse, and I’m a shameless exhibitionist.

This is why I will be the one making the journey to New York City on a one way ticket this week. The goal of this trip–albeit a rather audacious goal–is to make contacts in the literary world to work on publishing M. A. Chavez’s debut novel. Do I know anyone in the publishing world? No. That’s the reason I’m making the literal literary pilgrimage to one of the Meccas of publishing in the United States. Also, I want to eat some really good pizza.

This will be my first time to New York City. I find it funny because everyone has an opinion about the place, even if they’ve never been. They all have some advice for me while I’m there, but they don’t actually know the first thing about it. Maybe because of the amount of traveling I’ve done I am going into this trip with very few preconceptions. I know the city is big, really big. But so were Tokyo and Mexico City. And really, I’m a human, a lot of things are bigger then me. It’s less the city that intimidates me, and more the idea of finding someone, one out of millions, that wants to publish my literary partner’s work. I have spent much time watching the development of M. A. Chavez’s characters and stories. If a character is a writer’s child they almost feel like my god-children, or even nieces and nephews. It’s important to me to see the stories spread to a broad audience, but honestly the man is a hopeless hermit. That’s where I come in.

Of course, that is not the only thing I will do in the city. I plan to visit friends, attend spoken word events, and learn more about the city I’ve heard so much about. Then who know where I’ll head, I have more then enough friends along the East Coast and curiosity to support the endeavor. Who knows, if NYC doesn’t work maybe I’ll try the publishing microcosm that is Boston.

 

Now, let’s try something. We have a good amount of loyal readers, and plenty of folks who have stumbled across this website in the past. And I would wager that more then one of you knows someone involved in the publishing industry. So, I am going to ask if you have enjoyed the work of M. A. Chavez and myself thus far, and would like to see a wonderful writer become a published author, that you share this post with your social circle. Let’s see if we can crowd-source a debut novel for M. A. Chavez. I think that would be pretty cool, and that I would have a lot more free time to explore the Big Apple.

All I’m asking for is a novel, or at the very least a good slice of pizza.

 


Jack Dawkins

is a spoken word artist and writer who has been traveling North America for the last five years. He has worked as a tour manager, ride operator, caretaker, and salmon canner, along with attending some college and many different social/environmental justice summits, conferences, and camps.

       Do you have any suggestions for Jack while he’s in NYC or want to show him around your city? Know anybody that might be able to help with publishing?

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