Thursday, June 16, 2011

You don't have to go home...

...but you can't stay here.

Which is fortunate, because as discussed I haven't much of a home, really :-).

I'm kicked out of Nepal, but I suppose that's fine. It's time to move on anyways. I have been in Nepal for 10 months. So it's time to say goodbye to...

All the beautiful plants I never understood.

The Nepali villages, where kids harass you for money and chocolate, which is annoying at first. But once you realize they just want to interact with you and that's all they know how to do, ask for stuff or say hello, it's OK. Goodbye to the Nepali boy who asked me for chocolate, and when I asked him back said, simply, "No, I haven't any chocolate," as if he would share it for sure if he did. The village full of both subsistence farmers and gangsters. The gangsters who carry swords and like Puslar motorcycles the best because they look fierce. The gangsters who would steal your last penny and not know what to do with it after they have it, who used to wear Britney Spears tshirts or maybe still do. The tax office which you have to bribe if you want to pay some tax. The bus which you have to ride on the roof of, but it's OK because that's the most comfortable place anyways.

Goats! Always so cute and tolerant of being tied up all the time. You could chew through your rope in a minute if you bothered, but you never really seem to bother.

To the newly planted apple trees. I'm proud of you and I think you're safe now that the rain is coming :-). And the comfrey too.

To the Annapurna Sanctuary. You're not as famous as Everest but I think you're more beautiful and I suspect so do Korean people. You're more accessible, more sacred and more dangerous, for better or for worse. This photo is my third an final visit :-).

To all the great people I met whose homes I stayed at, who gave me advice. Who taught me what I came to learn and also what I didn't.

"Thou hast made me known to a friend whom I knew not. Thou hast given me seats in homes not my own. Thou hast brought the distant near, and made a brother of the stranger.

I am uneasy at heart when I have to leave my accustomed shelter; I forget that there abides the old in the new, and that there also thou abidest..."- Tagore

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

The Way Of The White Cloud

I cannot help but notice that there are many travellers like me. As I reflect on the idea of having roots and a sense of place, I have to wonder why I haven’t persued this idea. Wendell Berry, Thoreau and others write convincingly about sense of place. They say that it’s important to stay in one place. To build something good there. To connect to the ecosystem and the society in one place.

So why, then, have I do I travel so much if I am so inspired by these writers? What is it with us? We who travel, and may be tired of it in many ways yet continue. Do we share a common identity? Will we become an archetype, like the Flower Children of the ‘60’s? The Drifters of the New Millennium?

I imagine that we are the baseless ones. We are the internationally homeless. We drift through the world looking for a home that we will probably never find. Tramps that drifts between countries, being kicked out from one, then another. Bumped along like a bum being run out of town again and again. Without legal status. Without the “right” to work. For every new destination there is a time limit. We are told, “You don’t have to go home, but you can’t stay here”. The only reason I'm even allowed into countries at all is because I am given protection from The Canadian Club that, in my heart, I don't even recognize.

For people from North America, we come from a race of invaders. Where I come from was stolen from others generations ago. Awakened to a sense of justice, what place then can I legitimately call my home? Northern Turtle Island is my original place. But I know that it was stolen from someone else. I know that the race of people that I come from were allowed to stay on conditions that they have since violated.

I can’t convince myself that just because time has passed since the theft, that the issue is moot. I can see that the people who allowed Europeans to stay are not happy with their presence. The struggle continues.

I am not welcome back to Europe except for a visit. Even if I was, I do not belong there. I am not familiar with the space. I have no family there, no history that I know anything about. I have never been to England, Scotland, Estonia or Ireland.

Perhaps I could seek a real invitation from the indigenous groups of Turtle Island. Ask if they could make an exception for me, so that I can stay, even though the race of people I came from have broken all agreements of their stay. That could be one way to find a legitimate home. But I am embarassed. How can I ask after hearing the story of Looking Glass? How can you ask to stay in someone's house when your relations have killed their sons and daughters?

This is my lot in life. These are the cards I was dealt. To be without a legitimate home. As they say in Nepal, Ke Garne? What to do? What to do if I have no home?

Look for one, I guess. Or not.