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?

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.

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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

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.