This is the fourth of five posts about travel that celebrate the launch of my online class, Manifest Money for Spiritual Travel.
The follies of youth never hurt when you are living them, its when you look back and see how incredibly stupid you were that the real pain sets in. Reliving how careless you were with the gift of a good, easy life is enough to make you blush with embarrassment. Yet, deep in that red hot ball of shame are the embers of fearlessness, which is what got you in all that trouble in the first place.
I was 20 years old, living in a frat house on the MIT campus for the summer, and funded by a research grant from my lovely Alma Matter Miami of Ohio. In between shifts at HMV, daily runs along the Charles River, and evening soaks in the rooftop hot tub, I was interviewing social service agencies and collecting data on how welfare reform had impacted their clients. (This was 2000, five years after Wisconsin Works had been introduced by Tommy Thompson and was spreading nationwide). I was taking the bus all around Suffolk County, equipped with a legal pad, a few pens, and a backpack full of naivete.
Naturally, I was lost like 95% of the time during these research trips. One time, flustered after getting off on the bus at the wrong stop, I walked into a Dunkin’ Donuts and asked directions. The cashier had no idea how to help me, and I was feeling hopeless.
This is the third of five posts about travel that celebrate the launch of my online class, Manifest Money for Spiritual Travel.
Traveling back home after a long absence can be as disorienting as leaving felt in the first place. Everything seems different, but you are stuck wishing it felt familiar.
When Diene and I traveled back to Senegal last, it was the first time he had been back home since he moved to Wisconsin. In most ways, he seemed as at home as he did when I first met him. But a few things had changed: he was more hurried then before, our pace of life having picked up dramatically in the US, and it was taking both of us a few days to shake that off. Impatience, a relatively American quality, was something we both had to work on overcoming now.
His family was doing some home improvement projects which required us to make several trips to neighboring cities for supplies. We rented a neighbor’s car to go to Mbour to get wire casing, but they didn’t have the wires we needed. So we continued on to Saly, where we got the wires, but came up short on the mortar. A trip to Joseman proved fruitless and by this time, it was too late and we’d have to continue tomorrow. The next day, we made four different stops before we found all the paint we needed. Continue reading
This is the second of five posts about travel that celebrate the launch of my online class, Manifest Money for Spiritual Travel.
I saw the Americans walk through the orphanage’s gate and my need to express myself was as strong as the thirst that plagues a dessert nomad when he spots an oasis. It had been weeks since I’d had a full conversation in my native language, and I could hardly contain my excitement at the prospect. Representatives from an American NGO were visiting the orphanage in India where I’d been volunteering full-time, teaching English to the boys that lived there. I had learned Hindi quickly out of necessity: there was only one other person at the orphanage who spoke English and she was only there a few hours each weekday, while I lived there 24/7 for nearly two months. So, I found myself playing games with eight-year-olds, whose fascination with me never weakened. You’d be amazed how much vocabulary you can pick up playing Crazy Eights and Sorry.
I knew the Americans would love the orphanage. It was easy to be charmed by the hope embodied by the boys. They were smart, optimistic, and despite their troubled childhoods, determined to enjoy life. The NGO staff (whose organization provided a large amount of funding to the orphanage) were being shown around the place, their guide describing (in English) the numerous ways the orphanage provided a new start. Education, three square meals a day, a chance to escape the horrible working conditions many of them had been forced into by their poor families. The boys were sitting in the classroom, drawing with brand new colored pencils on brand new sketch pads, both donated by the charitable visitors.
“Here you can see where the students learn English,” said the guide, pointing to the blackboard where the remnants of my earlier lesson remained. Continue reading
This is the first of five posts about travel that celebrate the launch of my online class, Manifest Money for Spiritual Travel.
There is nothing like the open road to clear your mind. One summer when I was in between chapters of my life (and likely in between international trips) I was living at my parents’ house and my favorite passtime was driving around with my 15-year-old brother who had recently been granted his learner’s permit. With him behind the wheel, I’d buckle my seat belt and remind him to do the same, and then we’d just drive around for hours. No destination, no purpose, no hurry. Just him and me, the road and the occasionally run stop sign. We would talk in a way that was made possible by the fact that we never had to look at each other, we could keep our eyes focused on the road. Conversations get so interesting that way. Almost ten years later and my sharpest memories from that summer are of driving the streets of Wauwatosa with my brother.
I recently took a road trip with my Dad and it was just as awesome. We covered so much territory (Wisconsin to NC) and so many conversation topics (from the iPhone to the future of natural gas). There is something so relaxing about the rhythm of the car, the closeness of the others, and the paradox of mostly stillness (of your own body) coupled with incredible speed (of the auto’s body).
I am grateful for road trips and the discovery they bring.
Did you know that some people make money while on a road trip? I’m serious! Lesson 4 in my online course covers driveaways as a way to make money traveling. I myself have never used this method to fund travel, but I know others who have. The closest I ever came to a profitable road trip was letting my Dad pay for the insane amount of junk food consumed at all the pitstops from WI to NC. Learn how to make money traveling. Enroll in the course today.