The Traveler Ego
Traveling is beautiful, no doubt. It opens your soul to the beauties of the world and the people that inhabit it (well that’s if you are open up to it.)
But once it becomes an escape it becomes super dangerous and addictive.Travel is a tool to open one up to many many experiences and lessons but like any tool it must be used wisely.
Travel has the tendency to make one super critical and judgmental of everyone else that is not a so called traveler. I’ve had to catch myself a bunch of times from saying, ” Oh you are such a tourist” or ”That’s such a tourist not traveler thing to do.”
We walk around with a chip on our shoulder thinking since we have experienced more than everyone else (!!!),we know more than everyone and thus instead of being open we are more closed and set in our opinions and ways . One must be so careful of the traveler ego. It easily creeps up on you and hard to recognize when you are surrounded by other travelers as they have the same thing going on. I am not saying that all travelers are like this but the tendency of having the traveler ego is very high as per my observations(a personal opinion).
The other tendency more rampant among travelers is that because they aren’t working the regular 9-5 jobs they are not part of the system and very proud of it somehow.Ironically they are if not more but equally contributing and taking from the society as everyone else.They are as much part of the system as us mere mortals. I have much respect for all of those who make a real effort to live a self sustained life.But I laugh at those who bitch about the system yet are 24/7 on their i Phones,wearing the latest travel fashion and travel constantly using guess what fuel consuming airplanes (yes this is my judgmental side- and to add to it I am a critical Virgo - bad combination)
I have so much respect for the every day Joe who is working hard and surviving in this mad world making ends meet for himself and his family instead of sitting and having endless discussions about how fucked up the system is yet being completely part of it.I truly respect those who can be a part of the system and contribute positively and maintain love and compassion for others while doing it.I have insane amounts of respect for those who can survive in the midst of this chaotic world.People who put their desires and pleasures aside for the greater good of others- take for example your parents.I feel my parents are the most enlightened beings and are practicing meditation/compassion every waking second without having to escape to a cave in the Himalayas. That is real time 21st century enlightenment more than one smoking a joint and talking endlessly about peace,love,respect and unity.
Last new year a dear friend of mine made me aware of the traveler ego that had crept up on my silently and I was not conscious of it at all. I was in denial in the beginning but the more I became aware of my actions of body , speech and mind I realized there might be a tad truth to it.
The more I travel the more I realize that I am just a speck of dust in the grand scheme of things. Yes I do have strong opinions on various topics and probably being well traveled has made me more knowledgeable on certain topics yet I have to constantly remind myself to be open and at all times to everyone and everything. And to look within and only judge one-self. Difficult practices but most do.
On Joy And Sorrow
Your joy is your sorrow unmasked.
And the selfsame well from which your laughter rises was oftentimes filled with your tears.
And how else can it be?
The deeper that sorrow carves into your being, the more joy you can contain.
Is not the cup that holds your wine the very cup that was burned in the potter’s oven?
And is not the lute that soothes your spirit, the very wood that was hollowed with knives?
When you are joyous, look deep into your heart and you shall find it is only that which has given you sorrow that is giving you joy.
When you are sorrowful look again in your heart, and you shall see that in truth you are weeping for that which has been your delight.
Some of you say, “Joy is greater thar sorrow,” and others say, “Nay, sorrow is the greater.”
But I say unto you, they are inseparable.
Together they come, and when one sits, alone with you at your board, remember that the other is asleep upon your bed.
Verily you are suspended like scales between your sorrow and your joy.
Only when you are empty are you at standstill and balanced.
When the treasure-keeper lifts you to weigh his gold and his silver, needs must your joy or your sorrow rise or fall.
I am not sensitive , you are an asshole.
I struggle with letting go of people and relationships even if they have become super unhealthy, run their course or become a plain waste of time and energy.
I’ve been wondering why is it so hard for me to realize and accept this reality and move on. I wonder if its because I have no roots or attachment to anything else other than people.I love people and it really hurts me so bad and I find it hard to put into words how difficult the process is for me. I wish I was stronger but I almost invariably stay in all types of relationships mainly with the hope that things will change for the better. I still can’t fully grab the concept of how things can change so drastically between people who love each other whether it be friends, partners, family. Like everything does love also go from one stage to another lessening or increasing in strength depending on circumstances..yes probably but how does it come to the point of not wanting to have anything to do with the other or just cutting people off. Sometimes that is the best thing to do so that both parties can move on but I would rather be in a relationship that stinks because letting go seems worse. Since nothing else is consistent in my life I want at least for the relationships to last even when they are way passed the maturity date. I am struggling with this and really it boils down again to the concept of self worth, self love that I also can’t get my head around fully.
Ofcourse I understand that nothing remains the same and impermanence is the name of the game , and I am totally comfortable with change but the thing that I need to really put myself into is getting out of relationships that are not worth holding on to and realizing that letting go is the best way to have some peace and happiness for both parties involved.
"Thinking will not overcome fear, but action will. "
As I get older I find I’m getting more scared.I used to be pretty fearless within my own capacity but now I don’t take the chances. Well apart from in relationships and still get royally fucked over! I envy the lives of those who have a home especially pretty homes and settled lives.And they in turn envy me.The grass is greener on the other side sort of thing.I also feel I am becoming more complacent as I get older. Always thinking and feeling that things will fall into place but they won’t unless I create the circumstances for them to. I have always believed in the power of intention.But there are way too many intentions/ideas in my head.Most of these options sometimes just remain as ideas and some of them are not even valid. But I need to be able to put ideas into action to feel unstuck. To be able to move forward I must get out of this vicious cycle of just thinking and fear.
“The mind has more projections than there are dust motes in a sunbeam”- Milrepa
(Leo who died last year, NYC)
One year ago I lost a dear friend of mine to an accident in NYC. Earlier this year I lost another friend in another accident in India. Two young, talented, beautiful men whose time came to soon. I had not spoken to either of them in a long time so the reality hit me very hard. They were gone just like that. Both these deaths shook me to the core. It made me question almost everything about my life: the choices I was making, the way I was living, how I was treating the people I loved and was close to….everything! Was I taking this life for granted? Was I being overly selfish in making life choices that only made me happy without taking into consideration other people? My time on this planet just like everyone’s is limited and was I living it in total awareness of all my actions not only of body but also speech and mind?
I was in a state of suffering and I was trying to be my own psychologist, trying to unravel all the causes to my despair. What was the root of it all? And the deeper I got into trying to figure it out, the more I examined the numerous factors that were causing me to feel like shit, the more I started to see the magnitude of layers and factors. It could be due to karma, hormonal imbalance, culture, diet, my stars and planets, genetic reasons etc .
There are all these dimensions and realities that were causing me to feel /act/think/ behave in a certain way and the mind is just an overload of these influences. (Well in essence the mind is clear if you just let it settle like water with dirt.) So maybe the sadness was just a constant movement of all these layers and factors and some present reasons as well. Oh how complicated I am. And the more I “thought” about this, the more I realized that the primary cause of my unhappiness might not really be the situation but my thoughts on it! Oh it just gets more complex.
But coming back to the topic of death and I am confronted again with impermanence which has been my focus topic of 2013 since I have had to deal with it constantly. So if impermanence is really a principle of reality than if I could just stop struggling against it I would be in alignment with reality a bit more?
I am on the road for the past month almost and this time without a camera…..my camera is kaput and I haven´t been able to fix it or make the decision to buy a new one.
its strange to be without a camera but I seem to be taking note of things alot more than before . there have been many times when I have reached into my bag wanting to pull out my camera and capture a moment and I cant. So I have decided instead to be fully present in the moment and try to enjoy it with all my senses and make a photo of it in my mind..its not always easy but I am trying.
Sorry about this guys..but until I sort of out my camera, I will have to keep taking these memory photos.
Big hugs from India
I am …..
(Firangi: Indian slang for a foreigner.)
Hope this finds you well unless you are suffering from a serious case of Delhi belly or other stomach issues common while traveling in India.
I am so glad you decided to come and travel in this incredible ,one of a kind country- and I am sure you have discovered how amazing it is, apart from discovering your amazing self as well. *wink wink*
When you had some free time from finding yourself and the peace within I am sure you went out to see the real India and meet some real Indians like me. I have been traveling around my beloved country for many years now and I have come across many of you amazing people! It has been such a pleasure. But many of you find me strange….not a “real” Indian…So I am going to try and clear your confusion and tell you there is not one real Indian…it is not the image you have conjured of a dhoti clad swami floating in mid air with a snake coiled around his neck, smoking a chillum.” SURPRISE SURPRISE”
So next time you meet me please don’t ask me if I am “REALLY” an Indian and try to fit me into a box full of labels of who you think a real Indian is.
-I am Indian, even if I speak English with my family and friends.
-I am Indian, even though I don’t know all the yoga poses.
-I am Indian, even if I have never heard of Malana and Parvati valley.
- I am Indian even if I have not taken a dip in the holy Ganga.
-I am Indian even though I don’t wear a sari everyday.
-I am Indian even though I can’t make my own fire with cowdung and make perfect round chapatis.
-I am Indian even though I am not Hindu and don’t know much about Shiva and his chillum power.
- I am Indian, even though I don’t meditate everyday.
- I am Indian even if I dont wobble my head around while speaking.
- I am Indian even if I eat at McDonalds or KFC.
- I am Indian even though I don’t know any shlokas/mantras by heart.
- I am Indian even if I speak to unknown men.
- I am Indian even if I can talk about sex, drugs and rock n roll openly.
- I am Indian even though I wasn’t taught the kamasutra at school.
- I am Indian even though I don’t speak Indian.
- I am Indian even if I don’t have an arranged marriage and actually fall in love and have a live in relationship.
- I am Indian even if I don’t work in the IT sector.
- I am Indian even if I eat beef and am not vegetarian.
- I am still Indian even if I can’t eat raw green chilies and all the spice in the world.
- I am Indian even though I don’t pee on the street and throw trash around.
- I am Indian even if I am still not used to the pollution and the garbage in my country.
- I am Indian even if I don’t think all cows are holy.
(this list is still under construction)
And please for the sake of the Holy Cow stop telling me about how hard the Indian tourist visa process has become. I don’t even want to start with what I have to go through to get a European or American visa. If you with your dreadlocks, tattoos , piercings and non existent bank account can get a 3/6 month Indian visa- then that’s a pretty sweet easy deal.
Love from the road,
Thank you for the movies!
It is a wrap! Thank you Abu Dhabi Film Festival 2011.
But most of all thank you to all the amazing filmmakers who keep doing what they believe in. Without you I would not have a job and would never get to watch some of the most beautiful films that open my eyes to so much and more. Thank you!
My list of movies to check out this year:
Almost In Love
Bobby Fisher Against the World
Chicken with Plums
The City Dark
Eco Pirate : The story of Paul Watson
Fleurs du Mal (flowers of evil)
Les Hommes Libres (Free Men)
Kiseki (I Wish)
If a Tree Falls : A Story of Earth Liberation Front
Position Among The Stars
Historias Que So Existem Quando Lembradas (Stories only exist when remembered)
The Tiniest Place
We need to talk about Kevin
Taste the Waste
This Narrow Place
Hwang-Hae (The Yellow Sea)
How do you choose to see it?
I watched Revolutionary Road for the second time last night and there is this part in the film where DiCaprio asks Winslet if she wants out and she replies no I want in. I want into life and to live again.
This is just exactly what I told my manager in September 2009 when I quit my amazing job in NYC. I told him how much I loved my work and city and that I didn’t want out from it all but I wanted IN. I wanted my life to have more meaning and not feel like a machine going to work during the week and meeting friends over the weekend and doing special things here and there.I wanted everyday to be special where I marveled at the sunrise, the sunset, the breath and my existence.
I wanted to find myself and the truth for myself and this was possible for me only by leaving behind all the commotion in my heart and head, leaving behind everything that was comfortable and known to me and going on this journey.
I had to let go of it all and just watch how life works by stepping outside the madness.
Yes it was hard..very hard ..I left behind my life, my friends, my love but now two years down the line I look back and it was totally worth it.
I am here now and I am IN! I am living my life with all its imperfections yes but it is mine and it resembles me.
And I can assure you , its a very exciting place to be in.
Quality vs. Quantity
When I quit my job two years ago, I decided to travel the world and live as far away as possible from the corporate system. I wanted to travel to as many places and see as much as I could.
But then I realized it is not about the number of stamps on my passporte but more about the time I spent in each place to feel a part of the local life and its movement. It stopped to become a race to see as much as I could…..but a slow pace of enjoying the sights and sounds of each place and trying to be a part of it somehow.
I am lucky to have time on my side when it comes to travel. Doing things slowly means you really do them well and enjoy the process so much more…and this holds true for traveling as well.
When I started backpacking around South East Asia, the first country I went to was Vietnam.I was rushing around the country trying to see everything and be everywhere. It was insane and tiring on my body. In one month I was trying to cover way too much and I realized I was being a typical tourist who wants to see all the touristic spots but without getting a feel the country and its people. The pace completely changed when I arrived at a monastery in southern Vietnam. I ended up staying at the monastery for more than a week practicing meditation as
well as working. You could choose to work on the mulberry fields, in the garden or kitchen during your free time. It was amazing picking mulberries with nuns high up on the hills away from the noise and bustle of the cities. After this experience I just stayed in one place as long as it felt good without trying to see everything but trying more to understand the country I was visiting and its people. I have learnt to go with the flow and enjoy each day without rushing through it. Being present both mentally and physically in all I did became so essential.
Love N Light