Let’s Talk About Sex(ual Assault)

Trigger Warning: Sexual Assault, Depression, Self-Harm

This might be a little messy, in fact, part of me hopes it is.  . . .

I have spent a lot of time traveling and performing my art in various communities. So last year when I moved to a new city, I was excited to find that there was a fresh art scene just starting to take hold. A scene that I could become a part of and contribute to. After just a few months organizing with them, I showed up to an event. I was distraught because my most recent foray into dating had ended essentially before it began. The piece I had prepared was about repetition. How after you hear something enough times it starts to lose it’s meaning, like the word zipper, or the phrase, “it’s not you it’s me.” I was annoyed and frustrated that over the years of traveling I had become more accustomed to saying goodbye to people I love than to actually holding onto those people before I left. A little bit after I shared my piece and feeling some closure someone else came up to the mic. They shared a poem about identity, being cast as the other, being asked where you’re from because of melanin and other’s lack thereof, and about indigenous roots. The poem struck me because of the content, but also because of the poet. They were mesmerizing. Gorgeous, enthralling, handsome, so fierce and passionate it almost scared me. Continue reading

Culture

I guess that’s why they call it shock, because it feels like. . .

It’s hard to say. Other than your whole body is involved. Every sense is taken aback, put in it’s place. From the delectable tastes to the smells. And the sounds. The rain patters in a different dialect. White noise of crowds is even more indiscernible and now slightly off-putting. The reason culture shock is so powerful is because we so often feel immune to it. We think that we’ve seen it all. Nothing can phase us. And that is exactly when it does.
Since I was a child I always had an image of a Japanese airport in my mind. Looking back now I know that this airport was really a place to store stereotypes that I was accumulating as a misinformed Western youth. The place was full of neon colors and you could find anything you wanted in this or that vending machine. It was extravagant. For some reason there was an excessive amount of conveyor belts as well. My stereotype of Japan never left he airport. For some reason I never really imagined what it would be like there.

Getting off of the plane at Tokyo Narita Airport the most shocking thing was that it looked like every other airport I have ever been in. Sanitized seats, walls, floors. Brightly lit. Something of a dull drone was delicately draped over the excitement of being in a new place. But perhaps that was the remnant from 12 plus hours in planes.

The language divide is different. When traveling in a country of other Romantic speakers there is an underlying commonality. Signs, while ambiguous can still at least  be sounded out. This is not the case in Japan (although there is a fair amount of Latin alphabet usage in public spaces). You look at a sign with symbols, and can recognize it as that, but only that.

It makes me wonder, above and beyond human nature, what are shared commonalities between cultures; and how much off my culture do I carry with me despite my personal attempts to delineate from it? I find myself critical of my culture often, sometimes in the realm of hyper-critical. To find flaw within your culture and voice it is no different then to notice you don’t like the way the furniture is arranged at home. I have reached the point in conversations multiple times where someone will reproach my critical nature and say something akin to “well if you don’t like it so much maybe you should move to (insert far-off sounding country here).” I’m not sure if this is because I’m being a little too worrisome about where the sofa is, or if they are too attached to it’s location. Either way, culture, and our attachment or aversion to it, is a very divisive topic.

Maybe what is most shocking is the realization that I am so deeply ingrained in, and attached to, my culture, despite my criticism.

It isn’t because people are different from place to place. They actually aren’t. Leather bags, food and water goes in, excrement comes out, that’s about it. It’s what they do that varies. It is what they do, and how they do it that will make your eyes widen at the sight of the same food you’ve eaten a hundred times at home, change the smell of a city from acrid to intriguing, and even make the call of a bird sound that much different. Almost like it has an accent.


Marco Pollo

When was your worst case of culture shock? How do you manage it when it occurs?

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An Homage to Impermanence

I can think of very few things that bring more delight then packing for the next adventure . . .

It is a reminder of the past. For a new journey cannot begin until the previous has finished. But with that ending you are now more knowledgeable, better equipped for the next. Each mistake from the past is packed neatly along with your clothes. Tucked into each fold you can find wrong turns righted, and rightful preparations wronged. Each delicate experience is examined, in order to properly prepare for the next.

It is a token of appreciation, a sacrifice to the Travel Gods. To improperly pack is to expose yourself to discomfort, dread, or even danger. It takes an understanding of where you will be, what you will do, and who you truly are. You need to know yourself on a level deeper then most, because if you don’t the Gods of Travel will not be satisfied. They will not be appeased, and will punish you for your immature lack of forethought and in-sight.

To pack for a trip is to pay homage to impermanence. You know this experience will end, that is why you are packing for it. You know your previous experiences were not permanent, just as this will not either. You know that life is a continuous series of dis-continguous experiences that creates the illusion of permanence. You know this because you can almost smell, feel, hear, taste, see your bags packed the way they were at the beginning of your last trip. But they aren’t. Because nothing lasts forever, and you are just now beginning to pack. Again.


Anonymous 2

The author is in the process of packing for a short trip over this holiday weekend, and another longer trip coming up. But if you couldn’t tell the author was inspired by packing, maybe you should reread the piece. 

     What do you do you think about packing? Tell us some of your packing tips for all of the novices out there that don’t want to anger the Travel Gods.

Let us know what you think: Leave us a comment, connect with us on Twitter (@VagrantAnon), Instagram (@VagrantAnonymous), or email us at VagrantAnonymous@gmail.com.

Traffic Lights are Just Training Wheels

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