Tuesday, October 22, 2013


Well that is it, I'm flying home tomorrow.
Frisbee - done,
Colombia - done,
Italy - done,
Wedding - done.
Montana, Denver, Florida - done,
New York, Detroit, California - done,
Canyons, canyons, Vegas - done,
Trip - done, almost.

I'm flying to Brisbane and then Canberra tomorrow. Make a few connections, play a little frisbee, make some reconnections then head on home.

I was thinking a day ago, as I was completing a great hike in Bryce Canyon, that walking has been a significant part of this trip. I've walked in some incredible physical places and i've walked in some significant emotional states as well.

I walked in Rome, I walked in solitude and in company.
I walked in Florence, I walked in loneliness and in connection.
I walked in Glacier National park, I walked in jubilation and in distress.
I walked in the ocean, I walked in relief and in freedom.
I walked in New York City, I walked in pain and in optimism.
I walked in Zion National park, I walked in positivity and in hope.
I walked in Bryce Canyon, I walked in reflection and in remembrance.

I walked in these, and other emotional states through these and other physical places. I looked at sights and I felt things. My physical location changed and my emotional experience followed. I haven't been on a walk this trip that didn't involve some kind of emotional shift or journey. Some changing slightly, others dramatically. Forwards and backwards, sometimes combining laps of emotions with laps of a city.

I've had some really positive and joyful emotions out here on this adventure and I've felt some exquisite distress. When I look back I can recall various emotional experiences in a similar way to remembering physical destinations. Just like each stop on this fairly long trip has been different, unique and valuable as a part of the whole, so too i think each changing emotional condition has contributed to my overall current optimistic sensation.  

Walking though the world both internally and externally have been excellent aspects of this large and complicated adventure. Some of my treasured moments have involved me, some thoughts and some distance to cover.

The walkabout is over for now as i'm coming home. I have no doubt though that the journey will continue, and i'm very hopeful that I'll take all those great walks along with me as I go.              

Thanks to Shannon and Maggie for some great walking photos.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

A big view

What is it about a massive vista that makes the viewer feel so strongly?

The size, the age, the beauty. It's like when you look out onto a landscape that is vast and majestic, almost to the point that it becomes difficult to comprehend, something happens. Something happens within, a change surrounding emotion and perspective.

Perhaps when you realise that a physical space is so large and beautiful that your mind can't really grasp or understand it, peace is found in the knowledge that other incomprehensible issues might be beautiful too. Why do bad things.....? What does it mean when......? How can suffering be so.....? What is the reason for....? Who would deserve......?

The answer to many of these kinds of questions are "I don't know", or something vague enough to actually mean I don't know: "there is a plan", "luck I guess", "everything happens for a reason", "when a door closes a window opens", "I don't know".

It seems to me that some things in life are well beyond our ability to explain, understand, categorise and even really sense effectively. What is love? Why am I here? Where will I go when I die? When will I understand life?

I think there is value in becoming comfortable with not knowing. Accepting that understanding life and the world isn't what it is all about. This is easy in times of happiness and peace. How lovely to say that right now I feel excellent and I don't really even know why. In times of strife however we seem to frantically search for a grasp on the why. This may not actually be helpful.

When I look at an epic view that includes shapes, structures, light and movement I feel a peaceful acceptance that the space before me is too significant, too magnificent for me to ever truly understand. I give up attempting to evaluate and categorise, label and know. Simply the task is just to look and feel wonder, smile and breath in the calm sensation of acceptance.

The lesson is directly before us, parts of the world and my life are clearly beyond my understanding. How beautiful to be able shift all that energy and effort towards appreciation and finding value.

The world is wonderful and terrible, knowing why does not change that.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Impressions, exchanges, travel - Zion

Today was a pumping day with a hike up the virgin river to The Narrows. It is cold and slippery and awesome. As the sand, water and dirt accumulate in overwhelmed shoes, so too the feeling of peace and joy accumulate in the heart. To enter a pure, and in actuality as well as name, virgin place it is difficult not to be internally affected.

Walking directly up the river has the powerful affect of creating a feeling of connection with the environment, possibly even a feeling of change. Each visitor is not simply strolling by, or walking over a track or mountain. To enter the Virgin river is to enter into a mutual interaction with the country. Water rushes into shoes and over shorts, rocks press and roll beneath searching feet. The walls close around heavily occupied vision and the river pulls at invigorated skin.

Striding up the canyon into the Narrows takes the traveller away from civilisation and into nature. The river claims the attention and the canyon walls surge forwards to earn it back. Small sandy banks and islands become as a forgotten home or a long lost friend. Sanctuaries from the relentless cold reach of the rushing water.

The river is at one moment an enemy to be avoided and escaped as soon as possible, then quickly transforms into a companion. A fellow traveller moving through the ancient rock kingdom. Briefly enjoying the mighty scale and inspiring shapes of the canyon walls, then hastily flowing on to new sights and furthur turmoil. It doesn't flow alone.

With every step a stone is turned or rolled, sand is kicked and scattered, water is splashed and shifted. The river and canyon are permanently altered by the awkward stumbling presence of human visitors. Each new passage slightly changes the pristine landscape.

It is however highly likely that the affect is repaid in full with the river leaving its cold, sandy and magnificent impression firmly on its fast moving and temporary canyon companions.  

I was a willing and joyful companion yesterday. The word spectacular describes more than Utah's Zion National Park, today it reaches to describe my buoyant spirit and fast flowing sense of optimism.

Friday, October 4, 2013

Beyond me, but maybe not Walt

I'm nearing the end of a week in New York City. It has been a wonderful time as I revisit and rediscover this city that at times feels familiar and for the majority seems beyond my comprehension and recollection.

I suspect my remaining five days will continue to delight and propagate development.

It truly is an amazing city and I'm thankful for the opportunity to visit here with exellent contacts and friends, both old and new. This man seems to have a fair handle on describing an almost undescribable city;

"It avails not, neither time or place—distance avails not;  20
I am with you, you men and women of a generation, or ever so many generations hence;
I project myself—also I return—I am with you, and know how it is.
Just as you feel when you look on the river and sky, so I felt;
Just as any of you is one of a living crowd, I was one of a crowd;
Just as you are refresh’d by the gladness of the river and the bright flow, I was refresh’d;  25
Just as you stand and lean on the rail, yet hurry with the swift current, I stood, yet was hurried;
Just as you look on the numberless masts of ships, and the thick-stem’d pipes of steamboats, I look’d."

Walt Whitman