EchoActivate | Education, Communication & Fun | Working Side-by-Side, Empowering through Participating | Cleaning, Reusing, Planting & Restoring Habitats for All Creatures | Global Climate Action Summit

If India was able to plant 66 million trees in twelve hours with a million + people side by side doing it, this same action could happen around the world towards any environmental movement.

https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/asia/india-plant-66-million-trees-12-hours-environment-campaign-madhya-pradesh-global-warming-climate-a7820416.html

actions, EChOACTiVate

Word cloud of involved actions in EChOACTiVate

I meditate daily and ask the four forces – earth, air, water and plasma – practicing heart rhythm meditation. My intent is to carry my voice to peoples’ platforms I can participate in and for information and guidance to be carried to me. It’s an intuitive process of trusting in the intelligence and consciousness of the universal force. I feel that many things that appear to ‘happen’ serendipitously, arrive because of intention to connect to this information. Magic? Today, for the first time i clicked on and read this info from this community that I learned of while taking courses when living in Pennsylvania. Interfaith Power & Light: A Religious Response to Global Warming. I’d go to multidisciplinary talks with religious leaders from all these different faiths putting forth their viewpoint on various questions. Opening it, i found out about this, http://globalclimateactionsummit.org/. The Global Climate Action Summit happens to be taking place in San Francisco, September 12th to 14th. Just a week before the ccc reunion.

lets mots, les activité
pour EChOACTIvate

It seems to be an excellent place to continue to disseminate my idea. The idea started years ago, imagined actually right before the COP21 Paris climate talks, which I went to, to Paris for two weeks with 20 dollars.

Previously I named the idea Eco Revolution, then EcoActivate, because the first was taken.

https://carolkeiter.wordpress.com/2015/11/21/calling-for-echoactivate-partners-core-team-refugee-manpower-best-weapon-is-education-and-empowerment/

https://digesthis.wordpress.com/2015/11/21/calling-for-echoactivate-partners-core-team-corporate-sponsors-government-subsidies/

lo que tu puedes hacer con EChOACTiVate

The idea is to bring the information to the people, through a cyber portal of information, and a mobile unit that comes to a community with needs that people perceive or perhaps aren’t aware of at all, that they can then do together to clean up and build sustainable energy, transportation and to plant community gardens, bee and butterfly highways, plant trees and build animals bridges…

The idea is to bring people together in a celebratory, participatory way. With the knowledge they need to create, transform and participate in greening their own environment.

Education is the tool. People power is the engine.

was EChOACTiVate ist

was EChOACTiVate ist

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I need some guidance about how to Market my eBook to Educational Material Brokers: private/public/home schools/charter/expeditionary learning..

Hello there,

Any parents, teachers, home-schoolers, educational book publishers, agents, promotors out there who have a clue about who to contact in the arena of educational material brokers? In other words, I need help knowing where to start in the marketing end, to get my book into schools as auxiliary learning digital reading material? When I was a substitute teacher in Santa Fe, New Mexico all the elementary school students had iPads, and the middle and high school kids all had laptops. So that’s the gist of it and the arena I’m aiming for!

I’m writing an educational ebook for kids & young adults; i.e. private/public/charter/home schools/autistic/accelerated/expeditionary learning | 2018-19 year | I need help marketing it to educational material brokers. I am (92%) completed and really excited about it. I haven’t had any council about how to go about doing this: agent, marketing, self-publishing?

It’s designed as a learning tool. My intent is to market it to kids and young adults (home schoolers, autistic/accelerated students, public/private/charter and expeditionary learning schools.

I’ve designed it uniquely as an eBook for digital audiences, I’d never get away with the cost of printing, with almost every page featuring a color image. For the most part the book,

“Adora & Vitali: A Spin on the Matter of Motion”

delves into the world of energy and information, electromagnetism and systems theory. It’s a tale incorporating a great deal of information about physics and the interconnectedness of life. The subjects evolve as the characters unveil them. It is an interplay of art, science and spirituality.

Adora & Vitali: A Spin on the Matter of Motion

As said, there are images on most of the (circa 180) pages, most in color. Many feature my artwork illustrating characters as well as graphs and images with documented sources, which illustrate the subject matter.

Each ‘chapter’ is a page. The table of contents is a searchable index of subjects. The book can  either be read from the beginning to end, or the reader can skip to different subjects; to focus on that topic or contents for a day, or week. I’ve designed the bibliography in google docs to enable the links to be cross-referenced alphabetically.

I have never done this before. I do not have an agent, nor any tentacles in writing groups or marketing channels. I am doing the research, writing, illustration and editing myself. I intended initially to market it myself, however certainly there are people who specialize in specifically connecting educators with educational material – through educational market brokers.

It will be completed by this summer. Now wait, that’s technically 4 weeks. Yes, I could conceivably pull that off!  Yet, the specific market I’m aiming for is the coming academic school year of 2018/2019. I have no income or sources of revenue presently and am in credit debt. That’s why I’m commuting to the library by bicycle every day: in order to have a desk, electricity, WiFi and an extraordinarily pleasant place to work. (I can’t afford to sit in a cafe and purchase an Americano every day to linger and loiter there….it ads up.

I would appreciate any advice or leads. Naturally, detailed information about the contents of the book are readily available. I’m so excited, hardly anyone has even taken a peak at this. Wow, and it’s been at various bursts, my baby. I’m ready to give this little body of work a life of its own and  share it (at a price) with the world. Hey, I share all the information in the blogs I write, for free, giving the information away. I do foresee wanting to do a lot more writing and music, and do have to pay rent and things like that. Presently, I’ve been camping in a room in the state of Rhode Island. I couldn’t stay in France, no VISA presently. I am so excited to hear the responses and really believe in what I’ve been crafting. As I’ve heard other writer’s say, at some points I feel like the book is writing itself.

I look forward to guidance about what my next step is in bringing this to the appropriate recipients; buyers.

Carol Keiter
carolkeiter@gmail.com
(720) 243-2953

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Carol Keiter aka nomadbeatz welcomes donations for her writing, photography, illustrations, eBook & music composition

carol the blogger March 24th, 2017 in New Mexico

carol the blogger March 24th, 2017 in New Mexico

Carol Keiter contact

Carol Keiter contact

False Dichotomy | Separate from Self | Gabor Maté | Michael Gregor | Shift

Unprecedented this time around with each of the blogs, is my intention to connect the two in meaning. Describing in each case an illness born of separation, and the prescribed means of emerging from this separation with an anecdotal film. Each contain points that will be woven into my book. I’ve created a connection between this and the other blog which I’m sending out to cyberspace – double happiness.

The spiritual and collective social bankruptcy is evident with the continued violence and addictions that stem from a separation from self.

On the frontier of ‘systems theory’, the Hungarian-born Canadian physician Dr. Gabor Maté recognizes that many conditions which people find themselves in are the direct result of their behavior – coping mechanisms – from what they experienced in their infancy.
Maté has masterful insights into the human condition.

Gabor Maté talks of the intelligence of the body When the Body Says No.
— Caring for ourselves while caring for others.

Gabor Maté When the Body Says No

Gabor Maté When the Body Says No intelligence of the body

He states that all physical and mental illness, misaligned behavior, criminality…comes from the trauma a person had in childhood. That ultimately every child entering the world needs to feel the security of attachment, a connection to another human being which extends into a feeling of belonging, together with a sense that they are being and doing ‘who they are’, true to their authentic self.

Maté suggests that most human malfeasance is related to a person’s experience as an infant, due to either not having a sense of security through not having had a significant attachment to another person (parent/caregiver) or having been prevented from expressing who one is. The latter for example, told to keep quiet, that you are in the way, your opinion doesn’t matter, criticized for each move one makes.

He believes that Western medicine continues to reinforce this dichotomy between the body and mind as well as the individual from the social and familial context. This concept of a false separation is what instigated me to correlate the topic with my digesthis blog, in the context of believing that we are separate from our environment.

https://digesthis.wordpress.com/2018/04/26/false-dichotomy-separate-from-environment-zero-point-energy-john-searl-brian-oleary-thrive/ This false sense of separation is what has lead to a mass unconsciousness about who we are and how much we are physically, spiritually and emotionally inextricably a part of our environment.

Maté mentions that this ‘separateness’ point of view interferes with the way that intellects accept information. They stand above what they are describing “behind their intellectual armor”, detached and removed. In their silos of research, they have a difficult time separating themselves from the structure of how they see things from what they’ve studied, to see a larger picture. Caught up in looking through the screen of what they know and have already adhered to as the correct picture, it’s difficult for them to envision a particular disease or symptom as the result of behavior that the child adopted (repeatedly) to compensate for the connection they lacked or being sidelined from being themselves. And that the repetition (like building a muscle or letting it atrophy) embedded in behavior as a coping mechanism, is what leads to substance or food abuse, negligence, suppression of feelings, continual anger or fear, or continued disillusionment and frustration from being obstructed from follow one’s own voice and dreams, is ultimately what makes a person ill. Completely connecting the gut, heart, mind and body…which can best be remedied through connecting all of these in the healing process.

Thich Nhat Hanh Guarding Knowledge is not a good way to understand. Understanding means to throw away your knowledge.

Thich Nhat Hanh
Guarding Knowledge is not a good way to understand. Understanding means to throw away your knowledge.

The emotional centers in the brain are wired for attachment. They are connected to the nervous system electrically. A hormonal immune system, with chemical messengers that travel to other organs; the brain reads what’s happening to the body. The gut has more neurons than the brain, and is sending messages continually to the brain. The gut feelings read the body language of a person. The heart also impacts our brain and physiology.

Many of us have been taught to override our gut feelings with what our intellect, our thoughts and conditioning have told us is more important to believe, when in fact there are plenty more neurons in the gut to bring that wealth of insight.

An infant picks up on signals of body language that translate emotions, with gestures, voice tones that attune them with the message. Even though they have not learned language, they can grasp the truth. He talks of the vast network of neurons connecting the brain, heart, gut, bones and immune system; more neurons are delivering messages from the gut and heart to the brain than the reverse.

Brain develops under the impact of the environment. Wiring the brain is a long-term trait, from a state of the brain to a habitual response. The pharmaceutical industry comes along and brings out pills that treat the symptoms, but do nothing for brain or psychological development. They just increase levels of hormones like dopamine, that has been diminished in the child due to stress. In fact Maté claims that these are not genetic disorders but the result of transgenerational transpersonal familial and cultural patterns are transferred from one generation to the next. One can’t blame a parent when in fact the parent is the result of how his or her parent were as a child. He mentions also Thich Nhat Khan interbeing.

Gabor Maté Attachment, Disease and Addition

In this shorter video on Attachment, Disease, and Addiction he mentions that though the classical Western worldview separates the body from the mind and the individual from the familial and social context, we need a cross disciplinary bio-psycho-social model. He talks of the fact that in traditional medicine, specialists study a type of cancer on a cellular level, yet are dramatically overlooking the obvious, that a cell lives inside a body, within a system relaying chemical, biological, emotional, psychological and social information. One can not separate the cell or the immune system from the stresses that may be occurring physically, socially and emotionally. Trying to understand the biology without understanding the psychological and social relationship is futile. “You can’t study cancer in a cell without seeing the whole relationship. It’s like studying a traffic jam by looking under the hood at the engine of a particular car.”

“When you live in a society that objectifies people, you have to ignore their fundamental emotional and spiritual needs. We live in a society with a pathology of normalcy. The ideological blinders that keep us from looking at the really simple realities of human relationship. Emotional denial serves a broad political and economic perspective, so that the mainstream culture focuses on diversions rather than genuine investigations, which threaten the very foundation of the society.”

One of the points Gabor Maté brings up in this second talk is how one can distance oneself from really seeing a situation, particularly if one is responding on an emotional level that contradicts what knowledge base they have been building.

• Thoughts are eclipsed by emotions.
• The better trained one is at looking at something through the intellectual scaffolding that they’ve built, the less open they are to new perspectives. They can remain shrouded by the intellect. When in fact the heart, gut and immune system of the body are constantly sending out messages.
• Meaning comes through an emotional response. In terms of addictive behavior, once you begin to ask why, you are already opening the door to find answers. That is, once you become aware.

pharmaceutical have nothing to do with it, it is nutrition and diet

Gregor describes that nutrition is what leads to health.

One of the crucial distinctions we have to begin making, is that what we eat is inseparable from our health or illness. Incredulously, the American Medical Association and other government health offices as well as the majority of medical schools across the country, do not even offer classes in nutrition, nor do doctors talk about the subject to their patients, as Dr. Michael Gregor points out in his talk. Doctors are seduced by pharmaceutical companies to hand out prescription medicine, yet not to talk about diet, when the food that people consume is the leading cause of death due to ‘impoverished’ diets.Dr. Michael Gregor talks of Food as Medicine.

Gregor talking about nutrition, specifically a plant-based diet


The movie “The Shift” put together by Collective Evolution, also talks about meaning conveyed through events that have a strong impact. They talk of 911 as one of the collective onsets of a shift in perspective. The old worldview of people as a commodity and as expendable, and view that the end justifies the means, just isn’t working any more.

The Collective Evolution III: The Shift | Official Release 2014, To change the state of our world, we have to change the state of consciousness that is within us.

The Collective Evolution III: The Shift | Official Release 2014

According to the Collective Evolution’s movie Shift:

“We’re seeing the disintegration of the old worldview and moving into a new one that hasn’t quite constellated yet, it’s been apparent as a growing movement; a political, economic, spiritual awakening, new thought paradigms, that starts with the self realization of looking fearlessly that embraces it.

What can we do?

1) continue learning, continue to research & spread the word to others.
2) vote with your dollars. use your money to show your support of the type of world you support; stop buying needlessly, organic and local foods, instead of industries that maintain this system
3) use the power of numbers; get together with others, join a cause, raise awareness to things that can reshape our world, having larger numbers shows the power that we hold over the elite
4) get together with those in your community to create change; community projects, get to know those around you, break down the illusion of barriers that create separation around us
5) opt out of the system in any way that you can; our system requires our participation and support to keep going; recognize the power that we have
6) start with you; reflect on your worldview and your consciousness; is the world you see today really the world you want to live in? we can think about why it is the way it is

The most suppressed technology is our higher consciousness

Our state of consciousness, or world view, needs to change in order to change the world.”

Donations for Carol Keiter’s writing, eBook, music composition and art, gratefully accepted!

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The Scary Truth About What’s Hurting Our Kids by Becky Mansfield

I am reposting this article because I believe that it is a very important read.

The Scary Truth About What’s Hurting Our Kids by Becky Mansfield

According to Victoria Prooday, Occupational Therapist & writer at YourOT.com, “There is a silent tragedy developing right now, in our homes, and it concerns our most precious jewels – our children… Researchers have been releasing alarming statistics on a sharp and steady increase in kids’ mental illness, which is now reaching epidemic proportions:

Scary Truth About What is Hurting Our Kids

Scary Truth About What is Hurting Our Kids

•  1 in 5 children has mental health problems
•  43% increase in ADHD
• 37% increase in teen depression
• 200% increase in suicide rate in kids 10-14 years old“

She goes on to say that “Today’s children are being deprived of the fundamentals of a healthy childhood:

• Emotionally available parents
• Clearly defined limits and guidance
• Responsibilities
• Balanced nutrition and adequate sleep
• Movement and outdoors
• Creative play, social interaction, opportunities for unstructured times and boredom

Instead, children are being served with:

• Digitally distracted parents
• Indulgent parents who let kids “Rule the world”
• Sense of entitlement rather than responsibility
• Inadequate sleep and unbalanced nutrition
• Sedentary indoor lifestyle
• Endless stimulation, technological babysitters, instant gratification, and absence of dull moments”
• How true… and how sad.

Kids Using Phone Apps to Be Mean to One Another

Kids Using Phone Apps to Be Mean to One Another

What You Can Do About It 1

What You Can Do About It 1


What You Can Do About It 2

What You Can Do About It 2


What You Can Do About It 3

What You Can Do About It 3

One reader, Susanne Lorentzen, commented at the end of the article: “The brain reacts when we get physical with our children and dopamine and other neurotransmitters do the same. This can counteract depression in a natural way.

And – we need more hugs, kisses and in general more contact between people of all ages.”

tags: technology overload, limit technology, depression, mental health, teen depression, ADHD, kid suicide rates, nutrition, sleep, outdoor play, movement, entitlement, sedentary lifestyle, technological babysitterss, instant gratification, sadness, emotionally healthy, emotionally available parents, hugs, kisses, contact, dopamine

Power of Addiction & Addiction to Power TEDx Gabor Maté | We Can’t Wait for Those in Power to Make Changes

I’ve taken notes and paraphrased Gabor Maté’s speech. The Power of Addiction and The Addiction to Power: Gabor Maté at TEDxRio+20

Gabor Maté, an erudite doctor, describes in his TEDx talk in Rio the reasons for addiction.

Gabor Maté, speaks, Power of Addiction and Addiction fo Power, TEDx, Rio de Janeiro

Gabor Maté speaks about the Power of Addiction and Addiction fo Power at a TEDx in Rio de Janeiro

What are the addicts getting from their addictions? Calmness, soothing, a sense of control.

Many of these addictive substances are pain killers, taking away pain.

Why the pain?

He states that Keith Richard’s in his autobiography – a long time heroin addict – mentions the contortions that we go through just to avoid being ourselves for a few hours.

Gabor mentions that the psychiatrist R.D. Laing states:

There are three main things people are afraid of: death, other people and their own minds.

Both brilliant and unconventional, RD Laing pioneered the humane treatment of the mentally ill. But as a father, clinically depressed and alcoholic, Laing bequeathed his 10 children and his two wives a more chequered legacy.

Maté mentions his own previous addiction to shopping. Like any addict, he would lie about it.

His definition of addiction is any behavior that gives you temporary relief and temporary pleasure, yet in the long term causes negative consequences which one can’t give up.

There are many different types of addictions: the addictions to drugs, the addiction to consumerism, sex, the internet, shopping, food.

The Buddhists have the idea of the ‘hungry ghosts’; creatures with large empty bellies and small scrawny necks and tiny little mouths, so they can never get enough. They can never fill this emptiness inside of themselves.

We are all hungry ghosts. And so many of us are trying to fill that emptiness, from the outside.

Gabor Maté is a Hungarian-born Canadian physician

Gabor Maté is a Hungarian-born Canadian physician

When you are looking at the emptiness of people, you can’t look at the genetics but you have to look at it from the outside.

It is very clear why many addicts are in pain. They’ve been abused all their lives. Hundreds of his patients had been physically or sexually abused, abandoned, emotionally hurt over and over again.

Don’t look for the people in power to change things, in terms of environmental degradation, global warming, the pollution of the oceans, rivers and skies. Don’t look to the people in power to change the immigration and social injustices. The people in power are very often the emptiest people in the world, suffering from their addiction to power. We have to do this ourselves. We have to find that light within ourselves. We have to find that light within communities. We have to begin being an active democracy of the commons; with our own wisdom and creativity. We can’t wait for the people in power to make things better for us because they are never going to. Not unless we make them. They say that human nature is competitive, aggressive and selfish. In fact it’s the opposite. Human nature is cooperative, generous and community minded. TED talks are examples of human nature, people committed to learning and contributing to a better world. If we find that light within, we will be kinder to ourselves, kinder to other people and kinder to nature.

The human brain develops an interaction with the environment. The kind of interaction a child has with the environment can shape the development of the brain. Dopamine is the incentive, motivation chemical. Dopamine flows whenever we are motivated, excited, curious, vital, vibrant. Without the dopamine, we have no motivation.

The addict gets a hit of dopamine in the brain. Drugs are not by themselves addictive? Drugs are not by themselves addictive. Some people become addictive to drugs, but many do not. Food is not addictive, but to some people it is. Shopping is not in itself addictive, but to some people it is. Television is not addictive, but to some people it is.

Why the susceptibility? Genetically the receptors, chemical binding sites in the brain for endorphins, morphine like substances, that make possible the feeling of love and attachment to the parent.

Heroine and morphine act on the endorphin system. For abused children, those circuits don’t develop. When you don’t have love and connection in your life when you are very young, you don’t develop those receptors.

As a baby of Jewish parents in an Eastern European country as Hitler was gaining power – the speaker Gabor Maté was picking up on the stresses and terrors of his mother, which were shaping the child’s brain. Children get the message that ‘my mother must not want me’ if she is not happy around the child.

So he becomes a workaholic because if his mother doesn’t want me, then he wants to be needed. Yet because he’s responding in this way by working so much and not being available for his own children, his children receive the same message, that the parent must not want him.

In this way humans pass on the trauma and unconscious patterns from one generation to the next.

Each person feels the emptiness in a different way, stemming back to when they are very small.

We may all point the finger to the ‘addicts’, yet look at what we’re doing to the earth? We are injecting all of these terrible things into the earth, the environment, the air, water.

A man was killed in Brazil for protecting the rain forest. As in Brazil, many of the indigenous people in Canada are the ones who are heavily addicted after suffering the trauma of losing their land, being side-lined and disregarded.

The people on the opposite side of this, who are crushing the Native American territories and destroying pristine nature, are those addicted to wealth and power.

Many of the historical figures who were extremely addicted to power, Stalin, Napoleon, were people of physically small stature. They were outsiders, coming from a population outside of the mainstream. Their sense of insecurity and inferiority came from emptiness they were trying to fill from the outside.

In each of the stories of Buddha and Jesus, both were tempted by the devil for power. Each said no, because they had the power within themselves. They wanted to teach people through soft words, wisdom and their actions.

Jesus: “The power is within. The kingdom of god is within.”

Buddha: “Don’t mourn me and don’t worship me. Find the lamp inside yourself. Find the light within.”

I’m bringing up his point twice, because it is so vital. “Don’t look for the people in power to change things, in terms of environmental degradation, global warming, the pollution of the oceans, rivers and skies. Don’t look to the people in power to change the immigration and social injustices. The people in power are very often the emptiest people in the world, suffering from their addiction to power. We have to do this ourselves. We have to find that light within ourselves. We have to find that light within communities. We have to begin being an active democracy of the commons; with our own wisdom and creativity. We can’t wait for the people in power to make things better for us because they are never going to. Not unless we make them. They say that human nature is competitive, aggressive and selfish. In fact it’s the opposite. Human nature is cooperative, generous and community minded. TED talks are examples of human nature, people committed to learning and contributing to a better world. If we find that light within, we will be kinder to ourselves, kinder to other people and kinder to nature.”

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Carol Keiter aka nomadbeatz welcomes donations for her writing, photography, illustrations, eBook & music composition

Carol Keiter, nomadbeatz, donations, writing, photography, illustrations, eBook, music composition

Carol Keiter aka nomadbeatz welcomes donations for her writing, photography, illustrations, eBook & music composition

Carol Keiter le_blogger, writer & illustrator, musician & composer

Carol Keiter le_blogger, writer & illustrator, musician & composer

eVISA rejection of US citizen at Delhi-deported upon arrival

This post was removed from Trip Advisor.

Had filled everything out properly, with the exception of the pdf file pic of my passport being too fuzzy. After correcting the problem by going back to re-scan it with the proper proportions, my 3rd attempt to upload the correct size was met with an auto-response “already uploaded”. Would not let me upload again. Contacted the email link to the Indian gov to explain the complication, sending all documentation and the attached ‘correct’ pdf file size. Was rejected. Sensed that this was a small technical functionality error of the online form and assumed that I would be able to resolve it upon arrival. I was wrong.

Either over a bad mood or a sense of duty, this 2nd person called to my attention was discontent with my error in judgement. When yet a higher boss arrived, the rigid man explained the situation in an accusatory tone, inciting his boss with his tone of condemnation. The boss gave me 15 min. to decide where to go and book the flight. No WiFi, only a laptop, he sent a guy with his phone to relay the wifi. Having taken time to deliberate what should be my next move, I hadn’t yet booked a flight to Nepal, which according to them accepts ‘visa upon arrival’; figured it was the closest place where I intended to go anyway. When I hadn’t yet booked this flight within the 15 minutes (literally), I was told I was being sent back to my departure point, Frankfurt, Germany. The particular person who was assigned to accompany me to the gate, holding my passport, was a young friendly guy, who asked if I was on FB and I’d given him my card to check out my blogs. In other words, it can be a matter of who is working that day or night, and this was a late arrival, maybe these guys were getting tired and cranky, annoyed that they work on the night shift and perhaps get points for doing their duty to the T. Was treated kindly by the crew of Kuwait Airways, and basically upon being deported, was told I wouldn’t have to pay for the flight. The 2nd leg of the flight- a 777- the jet was a quarter empty. I was pretty surprised that this occurred but wasn’t putting up any argument. I assumed that a single, white, kind female from the States with no record, would have no problem negotiating. Wow, not so.

There wasn’t a great deal of diplomacy among the Indian staff, felt like I was being scolded. So much for attempting a bold adventure as a budget traveler who already had lined up my first stopping point and investigated train travel, street smart travel information about what to avoid, had investigated what electronics I would need; adapter, that the French power surge protector would work with 240 V. and that I would get a voltage regulator in addition. Excited for my first exploration of Asia, east of Eastern Europe. Had lined up my first workaway host and worked out the transport from the Delhi airport to the necessary train connections, timetables to Rajasthan. Had even found a pretty cool map that alerts one to pollution levels real-time, internationally. Intention was to be in nature, learn their culture, intent to volunteer at an elephant sanctuary or elephant village. Love nature and life, don’t love the way humans alienate one another. I’ll be commenting about my immigration problems in Frankfurt Germany shortly, which felt an awful lot like extortion-using intimidation, power and the perfect circumstances to leverage authority and extract large sums of money. 🙂

US citizen departing Frankfurt airport, forced by immigration to pay €1,000 cash, for a fine that accrued interest over 5 years, for not paying a €2.50 U-Bahn public transport ticket

I originally posted this last night on Trip Advisor, however it was deemed not appropriate, and removed.

US citizen departing Frankfurt airport forced by immigration to pay €1,000 cash, for a fine that accrued interest over 5 years, for not paying a €2.50 U-Bahn public transport ticket

Arriving at the Frankfurt airport in time to investigate duty free electronic stores for an electrical adapter and voltage swing protector, I was halted by a 25 year old officer who, observing his computer screen unsmilingly, asked in German something a train in Berlin. I lived there years earlier, and I figured that he was alluding to a time I was caught on the U-Bahn without a ticket, 3, 5 or 7 years ago. Having left the country abruptly right before Christmas 2012, I wasn’t aware that this was accruing interest. I guess in our electronic world in which these records endure, they weren’t able to contact me by email to inform me, that would have been to, uh, sophisticated.

I explained in my best German that I hadn’t been living in the country, and in fact can prove with residence and employment records where I’ve been living the last few years. This information was disregarded. He would not listen to any explanation. I was treated with hostility, almost aggression. I guess that being a frugal artist/writer and enjoying pouring time into creativity is not permissible, in a world that is looking one-dimensionally in terms of the GDP instead of quality. The officer walked into a room among 6 or so other colleagues and to my astonishment, through the glass wall I saw him laughing and smirking. Towards me he was cold and threatening, using intimidation. He told me I either must hand him €1,000 in cash from the ATM, conveniently located several yards away, or go to jail for 15 days. So the fine for riding without a €2.50 train ticket, rose with interest through the years to an easy, rounded number of €1,000. Since then I discovered that with the exchange rate to USD and $66 transaction fee at that ATM and additional $39 foreign transaction fee at this same ATM, added up to costing 1,431.19 USD. As I watched them laughing with one another,  I took a photograph. Another young officer dashed out of the office at first demanding my phone, and receded when I deleted it before him. Considering the fact that the other option was jail (which I would have done as the frugal artist that I am), it isn’t really an option. It’s like complete coercion. The traveler has no choice. When one has planned, prepared and paid for an anticipated travel, it’s sort of the perfect situation to extract this money with ease. Extortion was the word that came to mind; using intimidation and authority in circumstances that almost 99.99% of the time passengers would prefer to hand over the requested exorbitant amount of cash. Little alternative, in addition to paying for an eTicket and Indian eVISA. I was ultimately deported, for a pdf file of my passport being fuzzy, due to the fact that it was initially scanned improperly at the copy shop, and I hadn’t stated the 1st time what dimensions it needed to be, another language barrier and naiveté on my part. I was making this trip to ultimately follow my passion, complete a book I’m writing and to continue to write blogs, compose music…Poverty is punished in the modern world of globalization and finance. So the budget traveler with 2 small backpacks, sleeping bag and intention to volunteer with elephants and do work/living exchanges with people through workaway, now is $2,000 dollars in debt. And absolutely delighted with the experience I had with charming and bright people who enriched my world through our conversations and realizing that resilience and value of experience over material acquisition, is of great value. Appreciation of all of the nuances that life offers and value of the natural wonders of the world, made for a delightful trip of 7 days of travel for a 1.5 hour visit to India. 🙂 Delhi was intoxicatingly polluted, with 12 foot visibility. So nice that our world opts for measuring worth with the GDP, as we ruin the planet, are filled with fear and fueled with a desire to extract and consume, rather than to protect and strive for a harmonious relationship with the earth and all life. Just sayin’.

The Eloquently and Elegantly stated Truth

Nothing is more important than reading this. And then reading it again.

The most elegant and eloquent presentation of the facts, that anyone who can understand words, must be persuaded to hear and respond to emotionally and intuitively as the truth.

I have merely copied and pasted the text of this writing within the link below (minus the original links within it), feeling it to be the utterly most important statement of vast insight, that everyone must read. And continue to talk.

-.—.—-.—–.——.-.—.—-.—–.——.-.—.—-.—–.——.-.—.—-.—–.—-.-.—.–.-

http://www.grenzbegriff.com/2017/10/leaving.html

 

these are my words at the time of writing — I am more like tree than rock — as I bend to reach the sunlight

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Leaving

Hi friends,

I’m leaving Google at the end of next week.

There’s too much I want to say.  🙂

I spent the summer away from work, outdoors in Oregon, awash in beauty.  I learned a lot.  I wept at how we’re treating the earth, as I rode past mile after mile of logged forests, polluted streams, and lifeless monocrop fields.

I got to be part of what I’ll call “alternative culture”, to explore ways of meeting all of our human needs through local community alternatives to basically everything we currently use money for.  I wrote some about this time here on this blog.  I barely scratched the surface though.  More and more people, perhaps millions now even in the West, are devoting their lives to new (and sometimes ancient) ways of living in healthy relationship with each other and with the earth.  While they are usually partly within the current system, when all of these new ways of living come together, the current system becomes obsolete.  I see joyous glimpses of this everywhere.

Meanwhile our dominant civilization is killing its own foundation: the healthy web of life on earth.  Through deforestation and pollution we are destroying the ability of the planet to support all forms of life.  We can see this in the oceans where the fish populations are collapsing, the silent fields that were once thriving forests, and the deserts where millions of people go hungry in drought.  This ecological crisis can’t be solved simply by swapping oil for solar panels.  I’m no longer optimistic that we will soon fix these problems with some new technology.  It’s quite possible that climate change is exacerbating the storms and droughts and fires, and that these will continue to become more severe in the next years.

The effects are not evenly distributed.  The unhoused breathe wildfire smoke while many of the housed have filtered air.  Some of us see our homes flooded or burnt while for others business continues as usual.  Most communities in the country and increasingly in the world have lost the ability to sustain themselves from their land, and now must import almost everything they need from elsewhere, which becomes precarious when those importing the goods see no profit in it (food deserts), or when disaster breaks down the supply line like in Puerto Rico.  Many communities no longer have access to clean water, or are losing it as I write.  On Monday I listened to a man from Guatemala talk about a new silver mine near his home that is polluting and drying up the water supply for many villages there.  Almost all silver is used to produce electronics, and demand is rising.  In Oregon this summer, ancient trees thousands of years old were cleared for fire breaks.  The entire planet is being saturated with chemicals that we ought never to have created.  These kinds of damage cannot be undone or fixed by technology.  The story for other species is even worse, as most wild animal populations have died off and we pack billions of animals in cages in horrific factory farms.  The coral reefs, the rhinos, the ancient forests, the whales, and even the insects… who speaks for them?  Some people do, and they end up in jail if their actions threaten profits.  Profits are made at the expense of Life.

And within our civilization, we have more prisoners and refugees, more drugs and anxiety and depression and stress and addiction than ever.  Even in wealthy regions, most people don’t like the work they do all day.  It’s also not physically healthy to be indoors or using a computer or riding in vehicles for as many hours as many of us who are “successful” do.  What is happening to us?

It seems the leaders of our world are apathetic or powerless, as they fight over the most gaudy deck chairs on this titanic.  While it pains me, I don’t hate them for this; their actions are the product of a traumatic history that touches all of us.  They don’t know what they’re doing.

I envision a more beautiful world where humans have a healthy part to play, to love and respect the earth, not to dominate and exploit it.  I see many people living that vision already, and want to live my life in service to it.  I see the extremes of both ugliness and beauty grow more stark.  Ugliness as we close down and protect ourselves from the ‘other’, beauty as we come together in community, in love with mother earth.  Will “society” as a whole make some kind of transition, or continue the march into dystopia and eventual chaos?  I don’t know.  It will be both at the same time.  Some people are already in an obvious dystopia, some are in a beautiful place yet in the shadow of a collapsing ecosystem.  To hope for a peaceful transition would be to ignore the incredible violence on which the current system lives.  It will be violent because it already is.  May we learn to be kind to each other as these changes unfold.

It’s been said that we need the darkness to see the stars.  We can open ourselves to what is happening, feel and honor our pain, grieve what is lost, and revel in our deep gratitude for the beauty of life.  I don’t mean to be a downer pointing at all this ugliness.  I feel that we have a deep need to see it and acknowledge it.  It makes the beauty that much more precious and worth living for.

“Tell me, what else should I have done?
Doesn’t everything die at last, and too soon?
Tell me, what is it you plan to do
With your one wild and precious life?”
-Mary Oliver

What should we do then?

I don’t know exactly what we should do.  I don’t have a rational “here’s what everyone needs to do” that will resolve all of these crises.  I want to let go of my need to control what happens, because I’m really not in control.  At the same time, even if I let go and accept whatever comes, I am a human being and it is natural for me to care and want to help, to serve what I love.  I will not deny that part of me either.  So I find myself thinking about how to help, even if it seems “hopeless” overall.  I need not stress about the outcomes, but I will still act.  What else would I do with my few short years here?

So what might I do to be practical?

I don’t believe our technology is serving us well.  We, the wealthy humans near the top of the power hierarchy may see it as indispensable, but if we consider the animals or the fish or the trees or the laborers in the sweatshops and mines and plantations, it’s not working out so well.  Yes, our technology relieves some suffering in some places, but at what cost?  We simply do not, and probably cannot, count the costs of development.  I am not enthusiastic that further technological progress will heal us.

I also don’t believe that our problems are mostly due to money being in the wrong hands.  Measuring everything by monetary value seems to me one of the roots of the crises.  The mentality that values money over life drives much of the pollution and resource extraction and oppression around the world, since humans first accumulated “property” and enslaved each other.  I don’t feel that getting as much money as I can and giving it to the non-profit side of the system is the best way for me to serve what I love.  I feel that the money abstraction and the distance it puts between us and the effects of our actions makes us feel disconnected and alone.

I also don’t like our culture’s valuing of measurable impact over everything else.  Much of what is precious to me cannot be measured.  What’s the measurable value of a 5000 year old yew tree?  What’s the measurable value of caring for a disabled child?

“May what I do flow from me like a river
no forcing
and no holding back
the way it is with children.”
-Rilke

So I don’t know what we all should do exactly, and I don’t know what I will do beyond the short term.  I’m skeptical of money and the dominant culture’s value system.  I want to trust what makes me feel alive over our culture’s normal stories that usually are rooted in fear.  I recognize that I’m one of the most privileged people in the world.  I know most people do not have the options that I have.  I don’t mean to judge, only to encourage.

Right now what’s happening is I’ve been living in a homeless protest encampment in Berkeley the last couple months, which has given me still another perspective on our society.  It got interesting this weekend and we’re fighting eviction, hoping to benefit and inspire homeless communities around the country.  With all of the disaster and war refugees today, and housing crises in many places, there are more and more people who can’t have regular housing, and we could learn to live together with more kindness and understanding.  I’m also involved with the community here in other ways like Food Not Bombs.  I expect soon I’ll be moving on to other places, to learn and to live in service to what I love.  To restore soil and help plants grow and be community.

I’ve learned I don’t need much money to live well myself, so I don’t need to earn it for myself.  Perhaps my perspective on money and impact will change and I’ll eventually decide that earning money and supporting my many friends who don’t have much money in their various causes is the best way to contribute, and then I might return to a job, but we’ll see.  “It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society.”

Wherever I am, I’ll be with some kind of community learning how to live in healthier relationship with each other and with the earth.  There’ll be dark moments and joyous moments, and this is life.  Life is good.  Whatever comes, I will give attention to the beauty around me, the beauty of community and of nature and of every form.  Beauty everywhere begs our attention.

“An eye is meant to see things.
The soul is here for its own joy.

A head has one use: For loving a true love.
Feet: To chase after.

Rumi quote Spirit Mind

Rumi quote Spirit Mind

carol return hitch from Taos, New Mexico

carol the blogger on her return hitch from Taos, New Mexico to Santa Fe. One side of my sign said Santa Fe, the other, Fanta Se

Hitchabout Nice – Antibes – Aix-en-Provence – Arles | back to Montpellier

I think it was the fastest I’ve ever gotten rides in my entire hitchhiking experience. Residing in Montpellier, France, I had decided to hitch to Nice, the day before. I had anticipated it, knowing that my sister and her British husband go there regularly to escape the York, England chill. It was these two who had visited Montpellier several years earlier on a regular basis. That put this town on the map for me. I liked the sound of it. When I’d googled the town back when I suddenly had the proposition to go to the East coast from Taos, New Mexico, I learned that it’s the fastest growing city in France, of which 25% are students that emerge during the academic year. I sort of made the decision to go there in particular, and base myself . I was actually still deliberating on whether Portugal might be a less expensive and lively place to live while I was purchasing the bus ticket from Paris for Montpellier. At some point I decided I wanted to be closer to other countries in Europe and also where I have a semblance of knowledge of the language.

Mont_Saint-Victoire Paul Cézanne

Mont Saint-Victoire notoriously painted by Paul Cézanne among others

Nice, didn’t appear to have any available couches to surf on. The weather which has been continually warm and sunny, dropped about 10 degrees with predicted rain. I decided to go anyway. My bicycle had just been stolen 4 days earlier in the middle of the day around the corner from the cafe I was working in. After the initial discovery, I decided it was a gift for whoever took it. They not only got bad karma, but also a bike that didn’t work. It was hurting my knees because the gears basically didn’t move and I had to get off frequently, to walk up hills. Montpellier is full of them. Many at gradients of 55ª angles.

When I’d arrived in Montpellier the first day I asked a woman sitting on the tram near me “where is the mont”? She discussed it with her friend and decided that she didn’t know. My guess is that the whole town is so hilly that they decided to call it Montpellier, which means mountain. So, the missing bike precluded transport into town outside of the tram TAM, so it was as good a time as any to check out some other places along the Mediterranean. Nice, France is really close to Italy and Switzerland. By the time I finally left the house after consulting google maps to know what destinations to write on a sign, it was going on 2pm. The drive is a little over 3 and a half hours.

I strolled to the end of these outdoor tables with people seated there where I spotted a large white clean piece of cardboard tossed on the ground beyond the tables. I was already steering myself towards this cafe to ask for cardboard. Nice start, I had markers. The entrance to the highway was basically right there. This area was a short walk from where I’d currently been living, conveniently on the edge of town. I noticed several cheap bus lines departing from there, Sabine. I incidentally had been told two days previously that I needed to move out by the end of the month, a day after the bike theft. I had two weeks to decide my next moves. That was another reason to make this trip, a few pairs of ears to discuss my options. I was now less convinced that I wanted to stay in Montpellier. The housing situations had been a challenge.

I watched traffic stopping and starting at a traffic light, and was standing right before an indentation in the road for busses, perfect for cars to pull over. I had written Nice on one side of the sign and was starting to write Aix-en Provence on the other, flipping it up for cars to read both sides, when the first small truck pulled over after only a few lights. I hadn’t been there more than 10 minutes. He’d been working in Montpellier for the day and was on his way to Aix. He’s an Albanian man from Kosovo, his name packed with consonants, Xhemil Iveseldaj.  He’s been living in Aix-en Provence among other members of his family, for 40 years. He was returning from his work week in Montpellier where he stays in a hotel. His boss pays for that, along with his tolls and I guess all travel expenses. He works in such a specialized field, that he’s been accustomed to these long commutes for years, sometimes sweeping countrywide. He’d previously commuted to Paris from Aix, and before that by plane to another town. I learned a fair amount about his life and his two sons. He is one of 7 siblings, five brothers and two sisters. He said in Albania the families tend to be even larger. He said he doesn’t believe in a ‘God’ but in nature. We agreed about that, ‘Nature’ is our ‘god’. I asked if he believes in climate change. We discussed it for quite a while along with other topics.

He had missed his turnoff and I was wondering if I was going to be dropped off in the middle of the highway at an inconvenient place, but he then went back through toll booths, and tracked back to the highway where we were now still heading towards Aix-en-Provence en route to Nice. He’d seen the Aix on my sign. Works every time to have a sign. Xhemil always seemed a bit impatient when coming to any toll, as if seconds shaved off his time were going to critically screw up his day. I guess he was simply in a big hurry to get back home at the end of his workweek. He brought me to a good place where all traffic was heading in the direction of Nice.

I was happy to find a bathroom next to an odd parking garage area where on one side there were buses, ironically, one on its way to Nice. I had covered half the distance already and didn’t bother to approach the bus to ask the driver, preferring to hitch. Someone saw my signs and was yelling out to me from the top story of this large round parking garage building. I ignored him/them. It took about 6 minutes, maybe less, for a car to stop. I heard the responses from above as I was getting into the vehicle. The driver was Olivier, a local who lived in a little town with a great view of this mountain outcropping Saint Vincent from one side. He was on his way to Cannes for the evening. Olivier is an engineer, specifically works on plane engines. He lived in Paris for a stint, said he learned a lot working for Air Bus. He still works for them, and was relieved to move back to his home ground.

Mont Saint-Victoire, Paul Cézanne

Olivier says this landmark outcropping of rock Mont Sainte-Victoire, changes color frequently and has been a feature of many painters.

He and I had a nice rapport. We talked the entire time and really had a lot of similar points of view about the quality of simple things in life that give it value. He dropped me off at a very convenient location at the entrance to highways from Cannes. I was sorry to see him go.

My next ride was with a professional chauffeur, John Christopher. He had made sort of a precarious stop to pick me up. I guess as a local he knows what he can get away with. He was going to pick up his clients on this late afternoon to take them to a fundraiser gala event, hosted for wealthy families who were donating money to hurricane victims in Saint Martin, a French island in the Caribbean. He has worked for this same family exclusively for 15 years. He said that this event was perhaps at a hidden location. He knew that football stars, actors and actresses were going to be there among the very wealthy patrons. He described what these evenings could be like, and how he had to always be available for and and all things that might occur. He might have to make the commute over the bridge to pick up one item left behind, or drop off kids at different places. I enjoyed this little scope into the lives of the upper crust there, from the chauffeur’s point of view. A very gentle guy, he left me off before taking his route to the home of his employer. We left with smiles lingering.

Nice, France first shots - pastry and me

A bridge separated me between where I stood where everyone seemed to be racing to their next destination. I’m guessing I was at St.-Laurent du Var by this bridge. I wondered how long this ride would take, since now I was extraordinarily ‘out of place’. A hitchhiker with a backpack among demonstratively expensive cars and high income drivers. Surprisingly, a car stopped. It was Raphael a medical student in Nice, where he also was raised. He looked distinctively Spanish or Italian. He did me the courtesy of using his phone to dial my contact number and drop me off after crossing into Nice to a very familiar cement way lined with Palm trees before the beach. The Promenade des Anglais is where a demented man drove a truck moving down pedestrians on Bastille Day on the evening of 14 July 2016. The Nice attack killed 86 people and injured 458. Sound familiar? The whole area has since been reinforced to block vehicular traffic, involving bringing in full-grown palm trees with cranes.

historical Nice, France and cemetary

I wound up spending several days in Nice, endowed with lovely weather. Took various local rides ferried to different parts on cool excursions with family into the hills looking back down over the city. I had particularly wanted to see Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat.

Nice page 1 of second group inlaid stones

Nice, France inlaid stones

When it came time to leave, I finally noticed a text message on my cheap French phone, an invitation from a friend I’d met years earlier, who had actually invited me to stay at her and her boyfriend’s place. I texted her back explaining I’d missed seeing her text. In a little while I made my way to make a start, found some cardboard and what appeared to be the entrance to highways. I stood there a short time up in the hills. I saw a dread-headed girl across the street who when she crossed, approached to tell me she’s hitched a lot, and if I’m going to Aix-en-Provence, I’d have better luck down standing down by the water – once again before the Promenade des Anglais. I thanked her and walked down the hill. When I turned the corner I saw a group of people waiting for a bus a hundred yards away. I thought to myself, they’re probably wondering about what I was doing. Within several minutes, my first ride stopped. A smartly dressed man in a nice car on his way to Aix-en-Provence. I laughed to myself at how easy I made it look for the people standing there waiting for a bus. He made a phone call to his wife indicating he was on his way. I mentioned that I’d come from Montpellier to Nice and still was trying to figure out where to land. He mentioned that for using English, Aix-en-Provence would have better opportunities than Montpellier due to its larger influx of British because of the nearby seaport. He convinced me in fact. He said forget Montpellier, it’s mostly a college town, whereas Aix has an English speaking presence and a sophisticated flair.

mazza

mazza

 

Manu

Manu

The text was from a woman whom I’d met with her boyfriend 5 years earlier in Krakow, Poland. I was now getting out of the car upon receiving the text, only half an hour or so from Nice and 100’s of km before where I thought I was going. That was a great timed text, minutes before the Antibes exit. I had a splendid visit with these friends and their wonderful feline creatures. It was the therapy I needed, the playful cats along with friendly and inspiring conversation and inclusion.

Edwige and Bernards in Antibes

Edwige and Bernards in Antibes

 

Edwige, Antibes

Edwige in Antibes

Edwige and Carol Antibes

Edwige and Carol Antibe

I departed from my friends and the kitties in Antibes who I was already missing. Once again I got fantastic rides, two rides from Antibes. A young baker, boulanger, who told me stories of his life and his wife and 2 kids. At the moment that I noticed a sign for a rest stop I asked him whether there was another like it prior to where he was going. He wound up immediately pulling over, because he in fact was getting off soon, where the town was so small he explained I’d probably have very fewer ride possibilities than here at this highway stop. I parted farewell from this sweet guy and was walking into the rest-stop restaurant and showed my signs to the people as I was walking by them. They were a couple, and happened to be driving to Montpellier. I said that that’s where I live, but am going to Aix-en-Provence. They said they could take me there, it’s on the way. I hung with them a bit at the outdoor tables after I returned. We had a few interesting exchanges before getting in the car. A huge lovely white dog accompanied by a man entered the picture. I said, ‘elle est belle’, and the girl laughed, saying she has exactly the same type of dog, whose name is Belle. It’s unusual for a couple to offer a ride, very rare. They have to be really confident with one another, and these two were. Thomas and Gwendoline were very animated. At one point I mentioned out of the blue that I’d like to go to Istanbul, and they laughed, saying they’re going there next Thursday. They each engaged in conversation the entire time. We really connected. He owns 2 businesses in (IT), one which he originally started doing web design and the other advising companies on how to work more efficiently. She isn’t currently working. We talked the whole time, They were on their way to Montpellier to visit his father, and in fact he drove me into the center of Aix-en-Provence which he loves, and Gwendoline had never been.

Eight weeks earlier I wouldn’t have been able to understand but a quarter of what they were saying, now 8/10th percent. She spoke some English cuz she lived a year in New Zealand doing a WWOOF with baby sheep! She visited Australia too. She joked that she’s probably more conservative politically than he. He described that he believed the French president Macron would have more possibility to take a center stage in the global political arena. As we were driving into Aix from the highway, I commented that I believe trees may be more conscious than we are. To my surprise, Thomas the computer guy, heartily agreed, saying that he despises that people believe that they’re at the top of the pyramid of life, when in fact all life forms have intelligence. Thomas so much admires the town, that I decided after walking around a bit that for my saturday night, I’ll stay in Aix-en-Provence, regardless of where I may or may not sleep.

Aix-en-Provence, France

On this late summer Saturday afternoon in the street of Aix-en-Provence  I came upon a group of woman doing a spontaneous dance exercise; an an all female dance troupe. They were doing an improvisation exercise in their practice. I sort of guessed that this is what they were doing. Later when they were less involved in any presentations, I asked a few. One woman with eye that met mine with a sparkle in her eyes and large smile approached me and handed me a flyer.

She was in fact the director who organized this theatrical dance art group. http://cie-mariehelenedesmaris.com

I had decided to stay there regardless of not having looked for couchsurfers. It was a Saturday evening, it’ll be fun. I asked the right couple on my walk, who described several different options, pointing to areas on a map I had of specific areas to find things going on.

I went to a cafe to catch up on writing and organizing my pictures, and wound up hanging there into the late hours, with co-workers and guests. As the evening progressed, I was invited not only to stay that evening, but for an extended length of time, if I was demonstrating that I was doing the work I needed to do. I could now stay at this apartment there in Aix-en-Provence with these two brothers. However that vanquished at the point that the one breached my trust, and caused me to launch myself out back into the streets of Aix with the approaching dawn. It seemed like it might have been the semblance of a good thing, if not for the immediate security violation. One of the brothers was already in bed, it appeared. I was ushered into a room, fine, ah, but wait, no lock on the door. I waited before getting into bed with my pully and pack on by the door. listening for a few moments, when suddenly the door swung open, with me standing right there. I’m sure it surprised him as much as it did me; bursting into the room allegedly having misplaced his cell phone. Not only did this maneuver make me feel quite uncomfortable with the thought of sleeping there, but it also immediately dissolved that opportunity. So, I was heading out from Aix that morning, and still not sure what would define my future. This town hadn’t particularly welcomed me; no couch surfers, no housing possibilities and no tolerance for an opening in a bachelor den that was the epitome of neglect.

 

Arles, France, Nice, hitchabout

I hitched to Arles from Aix-en-Provence that morning. Maybe I’d go to Nimes (Roman ruins in both towns) on the same day.  The two cities located in the Occitanie region of southern France, were an important outpost of the Roman Empire. Nimes is known for its well-preserved monuments such as the Arena of Nîmes, a double-tiered circa-70 A.D. amphitheater still in use for concerts and bullfights. Its Maison Carrée white limestone Roman temple and Pont du Gard tri-level aqueduct are around 2,000 years old. I wound up staying in Arles instead.

Shortly after arriving at a good departure point in Aix, a woman stopped in her sleek car. I assumed the boy of about 11 sitting in the passenger seat was her son. She was an attractive, well dressed, middle aged woman who appeared professional, everything intact.  She was on her way to Nimes. The song that was playing on the alternative rock station was fairly pop, and each of the songs became progressively more hard-edged. The music didn’t seem to go with her appearance at all. The volume was so high that it impeded the ability to talk. When I asked, she staccato answered that she lives in Aix. That was my first and last question in an attempt to engage them in conversation. Her son and she didn’t say a word to one another the entire time.  She drove very fast and agilely on the highway on her way to Nimes, maneuvering efficiently. I was surprised she picked me up at all.  I pictured that she was dropping her son off at a midway point in an agreement with her ex, as they trade time with the child since divorcing. I decided that she was annoyed to have to drive him there, the hour and a half, now wait, 3 hour journey altogether to drop him off in Nimes and return; an invasion on any other activities she might have wanted to do on that Sunday. I didn’t ask. I let them ‘not talk’ to one another or me. I felt sorry for the kid. The music was quite loud. The silence was fierce.

Michael Jackson T-shirt, Always Be Yourself

Michael Jackson T-shirt
Always Be Yourself

I’m sitting in a cafe putting these pages together, sitting near the bathroom entrance. Many people flow by. One guy was waiting in line, a tall Arab guy, I saw in between the edges of his jacket a skeleton, and I said pointing, “is that Michael Jackson”? He said, yes and opened his jacket. I said, trying as I could in French, after multiple plastic surgeries that destroyed his cartilage, he’s now a skeleton. He said, exactly. He and I were both laughing pretty hard at this point as he was now walking into the bathroom, since it wasn’t supposed to be that obvious. I asked him when he came out to get a shot of the shirt, which is even more hilarious, saying below the image ‘Always Be Yourself‘.

In Arles I met a man whose eyes met mine from where he was perched on a balcony of this cloister.  I was like, what, are you WORKing there or what? Later we met on the stairs where he offered me an extra ticket to the last day of the photo exhibit there. He’s local. So, he’d waited until the last day of the exhibit to finally go see it. I had the impression that in this town that flowed regularly for most months of the year with tourists, that it was well stocked with woman accessories.  I wondered whether he took advantage of this, and lead a sort of double life. I was sort of expecting that we’d hang out together more, but he had other plans, probably a dinner gathering, or going home to dinner with his family. He bade his farewell and disappeared into the dusk, cutting through this building. Perhaps I seemed too risky, an American woman who happened into the town and didn’t know where she was going to sleep that night.  It was a nice exhibit. I wound up wandering away from the middle aged man who vanished to walk up a hill to find myself watching bats fluttering about and looking out over the valley, and instead talking to some young North African teenagers.

I had wandered around the periphery of the olympic Roman stadium and along streets in the town looking at the sites. I had gone into a lovely church where I learned some history. It was later, much later that my bed found me.  I was walking around a building and saw this little sort of fenced in courtyard that was merely following the contours of the rounded building. There was a low decorative iron fence around a small curved plot of soil, encasing a few bushes and a tree or two. I spotted large pieces of cardboard neatly wrapped up and tied together stacked vertically on the outside of this area. I learned years ago from a French (North African) truck driver that cardboard can be used to insulate from the cold. (Who I wound up driving with through Italy to Germany where during Ramadan, he’d chain smoke and start drinking his coffee before the sun came up or went down, and had packed a delightful gourmet assortment of foods home-made by his wife who packed them for his holiday fasting). I picked up the cardboard, pulled the pieces out, saw that they weren’t soiled and laid them out to form a platform to lay on. I had no sleeping bag. It wasn’t cold. I felt quite safe there and happy to not have to carry my backpack any more.  A pretty ‘sleepy’ town, I didn’t sense that anyone was going to look for me there. I didn’t sleep, but was comfortable. The night before in Aix-en-Provence I hadn’t slept at all.

I had already decided to stay in Arles that night. It was still pretty warm, September 25th, 2017. Later that evening, my resting place found me.

Arles rockin an auberge cardboard style at the hidden concave of a building

It was the last ride, Phillippe Lu, (great grandparents or grandmother came from China to Cambodia, where his parents were from. It was the intelligent conversation I had with him and his power of persuasion, which now convinced me after all that I should in fact plant myself in Montpellier; offering English courses with all the university separate buildings spreading over the north of town. He said I could make €15 to 20 per lesson. He texted his son to get the coordinates of an umbrella organization for all the universities called CROUS. He helped to give me some wording for a sign to put up. I since had looked up C.R.O.U.S. and gone there several times to get as much information as I could from what I’d written down while riding with him. They had info about housing, the university of lettres (languages) and basically I followed through and later wandered the labyrinthe of different buildings that a part of the university, that spreads across the north part of town that had been 50 years ago, fields. When I’d returned to Montpellier I was now homeless and searching through many different sources, mostly online, for housing. It was on the eve of the beginning of the month that one friend pointed out a site I’d already disregarded, judging that it was too expensive. I told him I’d already looked at that one, and it tends towards more expensive listings. I noticed that my friend had fr.fr in the beginning of the web address and mine us.fr, because I had first viewed it from the United States (I started viewing housing listings from the moment I booked an inexpensive flight). Turns out the subtle difference in the website made a huge difference in what was offered. The local listings offered a category unto themselves, anglophone families looking for English native speakers to live with them for reduced rent in exchange for some prerequisite time and activities. I’ve since found the most remarkably perfect situation, a win-win.

my signs for the return trip

my signs for the return trip

Montpellier Zoo, Jardin des Plantes

Montpellier Zoo Jardin des Plantes and street pics

It started, or rather was continuing a year ago in another desert, in the high desert of New Mexico, bordering Colorado. Luna was Bill Light’s dog, who built his home in the canyon 5,000 feet above Santa Fe, New Mexico en route to the ski area. His wife had died a few years earlier. I stayed for several months in a cabin adjacent to his home which he built for his daughter. I lived there in the autumn of 2016.

I quickly became a fan of going on walks with his dog Luna. She was a fan of walks as well, and would actually come over to the cabin and tap on the door with her foot. Wow! She absolutely loved the excursion off the property and a long a path cutting through a narrow valley to the National Forest land. In the late summer twice with Luna, I was exposed to bears. It was because Luna discovered them, and barked them into submission.

 

Luna, Bill Light's, Santa Fe New Mexico 2015

Luna my friend at Bill Light’s cabin in Santa Fe New Mexico 2015

I lived in the cabin next to Bill Light’s home in my first months above Santa Fe, New Mexico where my nice landings began. Luna and I would cut through trails up to the National Forest land and then either move further into the canyon’s or launch up to the ridge. These became my sketching/water color excursions. Luna launched and climbed the hill with ease and I followed.

Bill who had an earlier bought with cancer which had gone into recess, got it again, and died from pneumonia since I had moved out. It’s a strange thing that he was there and actively doing all sorts of things, and now gone. I don’t know what happened with Luna, certainly she was completely at home in the mountains. I hope a neighbor took her in. Besides seeing lots of deer in the late summer and the few incidences with Luna barking a bear and her cubs up a tree, I would mt. bike into town from there, regularly. I cycled 7 miles up 5,000 feet to get to the property. I never used any bike lights or reflectors, despite the fact that there were no street lamps. My eyes would adjust whether it was a new or full moon. i figured it was a good way to balance out staring into a computer screen. I find a bike wherever I go and also animals that I love. Now there are stray cats where I am, and I’ve just landed, with muscle and sweat and help with several bike mechanics, a bike that I am delighted to ride.

Now there’s no dog present like in Santa Fe and the ones I affectionately grew acquainted with and loved immediately in Taos, New Mexico the following spring. There are a bunch of stray cats however here in Montpellier. It occurred to me to look for a used bike at this place I’d become a member of months earlier. Le Vieux Biclou. After asking a guy in the street when I knew I was in the vicinity of the bike shop if he knew of where it’s located, it turned out he was on his way there. There I spotted the mt. bike I wanted, and the following day during opening hours learned of its one major obstacle; a seat post jammed all the way down that wouldn’t budge. Several technicians, pounding and myself instructed to scrape off the rust of the now ejected post, and a day later going to another bike shop to get a lock appropriate for the rampant bike thievery in this town, I purchased bolts to replace the quick release wheels and seat, and was assisted in mounting the lock to the frame. After riding it the second time i realized that this bike runs flawlessly, enabling me to climb any steep slope with ease. Stoked!

I’ve since made my signs and printed them and edited my contact cards. I wanted to get this blog out, put up the signs in various excursions, and begin today on a singular path to complete my book between my father and mother’s birthdays. That’s pretty immediate. The difference, no noose around my neck to pay a rent that squelches my time and psyche.

And as is typical, I ask for donations. Thanks! PayPal Donate Button  Carol Keiter aka nomadbeatz welcomes donations for her writing, photography, illustrations, eBook & music composition

carol keiter, blogger, Nice

blogger in Nice

Climate Change for Skeptics or Believers | Sam Harris Interviews Climate Expert Joseph Romm

 

Two hours of attentive listening. Make the Time. It is so well worth it!

This two hour podcast is extremely informative. Sam Harris directs the questions in a very intelligible manner. His guest, Joseph Romm, an author, blogger, physicist and climate expert, is fantastically eloquent and articulate. Each word he uses, each sentence is jam-packed with information; displaying his knowledge about the subject of science, human behavior, economics and the politics of power and persuasion.

Sam Harris podcast, audio interview with Climate Expert, Joseph Romm

Sam Harris podcast audio interview with Climate Expert Joseph Romm

Sam Harris podcast, audio interview with Climate Expert, Joseph Romm

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It is especially for people who don’t believe that Climate Change is caused through the actions of human beings. Yet is even more persuasive and full of facts for those of you who are already convinced that man’s actions are inextricably linked to Climate Destruction. His guest who wrote the book “What you Need to Know about Climate Change”

LISTEN to inform yourself, regardless of what your opinion is.

 

Carol Keiter aka nomadbeatz, blogger, currently completing by first eBook, musician and composer, has no income, zero. I spend time communicating these things, reading, researching, writing, conversing, because I am passionately interested in the subjects of in particular, saving the environment and habitats of animals from human greed and destruction. I have the time to ponder and consider these things, because my world is not centralized around an immediate family; I am single, and ready to engage in any task employing my language and communication skills, anywhere presently.

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carol keiter squinting in the Montpellier, France sun

carol keiter blogger card

carol keiter blogger card