A Night in the Life of a Long-Term Traveler: Istanbul Graveyard Shift

It was for this reason that I found myself squished between three paramedics in the front seat of an Turkish ambulance at 1am en route to pick up an old man who’d tumbled down a flight of stairs somewhere in the outskirts of Istanbul….

 

Read the rest at Bootsnall

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A Day in the Life of a Long-Term Traveler: 30 Hour Train Ride in China

The moment I enter the Turpan train station, I know the next 30 hours are going to be rough.

The whole station is absurdly crowded, full of umbrellas and wet people and families huddled together and men smoking and stray dogs. The aisles are all muddy and clogged with luggage and the seats are all full and the signs are all in Mandarin.

I move through the crowd, making my way towards the lady behind what I assume is the information window, a lady who seems to grow increasingly nervous as I near her. When I finally reach the front I ask her how to find the train to Kashgar.

Read the rest at Bootsnall.

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Flaneur 14: Artists in Residence

What happens when you take ten artists and put them for a month in a creaky wooden house with no electricity in an obscure Himalayan valley in northern India?

This is what Shazeb S. Arif and Hashim Qayoom had in mind when they organized the Karma Yatri Travel and Art (KYTA) artist-in-residence program in Kalga – a tiny village in the Parvati Valley where marijuana grows wild, giant firs and deodars tower over the mountainsides and the sky is framed by snow-capped peaks. Throw them together — all from vastly different cultural and artistic backgrounds — and see what happens.

Read the rest in Nowhere Magazine.

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Todd’s Mom – Poem published in The Rag

Read it here:

Todd’s Mom in The Rag

 

Buy issue 6 of The Rag here.

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Flaneur 13: Familiarity and Distance

This flat land haunts me. Yet here I am again, arraigned to stand trial with the past.

A personal history looms before me: the birds and landscapes are as familiar as my own reflection, but through years of distance we have othered each other, and now gaze at each other across the chasm of memory.

It has been so long since I’ve driven a car. Just sliding behind the wheel reignites thrills unfelt since adolescence – those first freedoms, being out on the endless roads of the midwest, a loner, an individual, full of American dreams and desires. I lower the windows, step on the accelerator and speed through the wheat fields, through pastures filled with grazing cattle and oil derricks under the Oklahoma sky.

It is only through alienation that I have come to see the holiness of American highways, so vast and full of dreams… The immensity and futility of all that concrete… So many finely constructed roads leading so hastefully to nowhere…

Read the rest in Nowhere Magazine.

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Flaneur 12: Concerning Borders

Simple lines
that are not simply lines
but severances of worlds inseparable –
tricks of the mind:
the dance of deluded curtains
strung on the unitary air.

What we were
never was;
what we are
never is,
and never will be.

But what then is it
making this breath
so revolutionarily different
from
the
last?

I watch the vast lung of the Arabian Sea
exhaling wave after foaming wave,
undivided, reasonless,
beyond our confusion,
beyond our borders,
and see the horizon
is a swinging door
we ourselves slam shut.

Karnataka. February 2014.

Read more in Nowhere Magazine.

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Flaneur 11: The Cows of India, a Photo Essay

To most Westerners the cow is seen as little more than a sentient steak, but to India’s millions of Hindus the cow is a holy animal that should not be harmed in any way.

In India, the cow is seen as a symbol of the earth (giving so much, asking nothing in return), as well as a source of milk and religious inspiration. The Mahabharata, an ancient Sanskrit epic, says: “Cows represent sacrifice. Without them, there can be no sacrifice… Cows are guileless in their behavior and from them flow sacrifices… and milk and curds and butter. Hence cows are sacred.” Mahatma Gandhi once wrote, “If someone were to ask me what the most important outward manifestation of Hinduism was, I would suggest that it was the idea of cow protection.” Such is the reverence for the bovine that India offered to take in millions of cows waiting to be slaughtered in Britain as a result of the beef production crisis in 1996.

Read the rest in Nowhere Magazine.

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