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

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Hitchabout to a casting call for a political satire TV show filmed in Albuquerque, NM

It was a remarkably successful hitchhiking journey to ABQ and back to Taos, with the generous help of friends, who made my sojourn to Albuquerque to answer a casting call job for a day. I write about it because I learned a lot from talking with each of the drivers. Props for hitchhiking, in which one comes across locals who more than likely are delighted to share information about their own region and its history, as well as stories about their own family. The driver’s were white and various shades of brown; Native American and Spanish, representing each race that live together in this region.

Pueblos of the Southwest

Pueblos of the Southwest

I turned down the first 3 rides, intuitively, and took a fourth to the edge of town, to a better place for people to stop.

While in the process of doing the final research, edits and writing and illustrating of my eBook in the final countdown, I received a phone call. It was from a casting company I had registered with a couple months ago, knowing that both of my sources of employment were going to end with the season: in this case, ski and school. I accepted the job, even though with a slight disappointment, it wasn’t going to take place in Santa Fe, New Mexico, a one hour and a half drive, but Albuquerque, NM, adding another hour; a 133 mile drive.

My only choice to get there, hitch. Upon speaking with the representative of the casting company about the potential call time, I realized that I would have to hitch there the day prior, and figure out how to get to the TV shooting site (yet to be announced), by 6am, or earlier.

Turns out that by contacting my friend living there, who was out of town visiting her home town, she responded immediately, gave me the phone number of her husband who then responded and gratuitously and generously gave me his time and the transport and shelter that I needed.

I only wanted to mention the hitches:

It is the second time in my life that I have turned down rides. Both times occurred in New Mexico. Typically, I feel quite comfortable with those who have stopped to offer a ride. I turned down the first 3 rides, trusting my instincts. Another I trusted to give me a lift to a better departing place with more room for a car to pull over. Within a minute of that ride which was welcomed, a man stopped with whom I had a great conversation the entire time. It was my Albuquerque sign in the early afternoon in Taos, that drew his attention, since he was returning to there after coming to Taos to do mold testing on a structure. As I’ve said before, typically the people who do stop for hitchhikers, are as interested in telling their stories as they are in hearing yours. So we chatted about many topics. I learned about his sons, their projects and several fun stories about their characters, among all sorts of things that we discussed.

Turns out the filming of a political satire TV show, Graves went from 5:45am to 10:30pm, lots of waiting time and repeated filming of the same scenes. Regarding takes, I almost felt I could have been a stand-in after several hours, having heard the lines so often. I opted to stay again in ABQ that night and join my host and his son, driving to Santa Fe the following morning to go to Meow Wolf.

drought, southwest, wikipedia

drought southwest wikipedia

On the ride back, I had one after another great ride. First, a gentle, soft-spoken Native American man who is a jeweler who presents his crafts among other Native American artists 5 days a week in the Santa Fe playa. He explained that he was born in Northern Arizona, and I assume that he is Navaho. He said that his parents moved from there, because there was no work. Several times he mentioned the fact that there is no water. He said that one makes a presumption about water coming out of a faucet. They didn’t have that luxury. He said he attended 7 different schools between his junior and senior high school years, because his parents kept having to move to find employment; from Arizona to California to New Mexico. Each of them are deserts which have experienced droughts. He emphatically stated when I asked if he was coming from work, “no, I work for himself, making jewelry. He says he lives behind the hill of Pojoaque where he let me off, happily with his Pug.

The next ride was with a man and his 11 year old son. Anglo, mixed ethnic (Mexican mother) son, he mentioned all of the different pueblos in the area.

He was driving an exceptionally beat-up Suburu, still running like a charm. I went with them on a few errands on their way home. I accompanied them to the Pojoaque

Pojoaque Pueblo, New Mexico

Pojoaque Pueblo New Mexico

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pojoaque,_New_Mexico . There, the son enthusiastically bound into the library to pick up the books he ordered, several pounds of these slender Japanese hardcover Manga (漫画? Manga) books, part of a series, whose storyline just keeps going.
Considering the fact that I’m in the final edits of my own eBook geared towards kids and young (and any age adults), it is quite impressive to see this enthusiasm bordering obsession with this genre. Having taught in more than 2 dozen schools this past year in the Santa Fe public school system, I saw middle and high school students both embracing anime books (pronounced an i mae).

Anime charicters with tattoos

Anime charicters with tattoos

As the father smilingly responded, you have to have a story that the kids are interested in reading! He spoke about how miserable he was working at a local Casino, and that he makes far better wages and engages with all sorts of people who are friendly and kind, in the hotel in which he now works in Santa Fe.

The third ride was with a young Spanish man, who is 3rd or 4th generation Taoseño. He described the struggle that his great grandparents had when prior to New Mexico being declared a territory in the early part of this century, that previously in the late 19th century, the United States came in and basically just kicked people off of their land, who had been living there prior to the discovery by Columbus. Perhaps this coincided or was subsequent to Mexico territory becoming that of the US. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mexican_Cession His great grandfather and a group of others pulled their finances together to purchase acres by land they valued very much, by El Salto. This they did not to develop, but to protect it from development, to preserve the wilderness, beauty and the habitat of animals there, for all to enjoy. We talked continuously. I learned that with his carpentry skills, he is widening doors and making his home wheel chair accessible for his step son, who has cerebral palsy. I said, so you must indeed have made the commitment in this relationship. He is happy to do this, loves his son and is proud of his daughter by his first marriage, who will now work as a dentil hygienist for a female dentist entrepreneur who rolled into Taos, an eccentric and imaginative woman, who has resurrected and improved a number of local dental practices by incorporating state-of-the-art technology. The dentist woman rides a harley apparently. The technology they use, rather than exposing patients to potentially harmful x-rays, is audio sound technology, so that one can image the cavities and so forth through sound waves. Pretty interesting. It’s called ultrasound technology. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23706922

As I said at the beginning, the neat thing about hitchhiking, is that one comes across locals who more than likely are delighted to share information about their own region and its history, as well as stories about their own family.

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Carol Keiter aka nomadbeatz ~ As an avid blogger who is presently picking up where I left off with my eBook to complete it and and beginning again to compose music, I ask you rather unambiguously and unabashedly to please donate, if you are able. !-))

Carol Keiter le_blogger, writer & illustrator, musician & composer

Carol Keiter le_blogger, writer & illustrator, musician & composer

Marketing my own eBook > Thinking it appropriate as an auxiliary learning tool for Charter High Schools

I believe this eBook will build enthusiasm and intrigue for multiple subjects, It is a science reference book, cloaked in a science fantasy adventure; replete with real science and resplendent illustrations; with graphs, charts and links for further investigation.

Entitled,“Adora & Vitali: A Spin on the Matter of Motion”, it is best suited for high school students and accelerated middle schoolers. I believe it will entice kids to learn about a multitude of different subjects, augment the schools academic curriculum.

Here’ s the trailer: https://spinonmatter.carbonmade.com/projects/4800092

Adora & Vitali: A Spin on the Matter of Motion

Adora & Vitali: A Spin on the Matter of Motion

I just decided to post this letter of introduction which I’m sending to Charter Schools, to each of my blogs, since perhaps someone who’s involved in education, eBook marketing and publishing, with an affiliation with Charter Schools or knows-how in marketing an educational eBook, to provide me with advice or send someone my way!

It’s not finished, but I thought I’d start with the back-end, or front-end, getting it out there.

…I’m looking for the appropriate person/department (academic materials, material acquisition) to market my eBook, which I believe will be of interest to students as an auxiliary learning tool.

This science fantasy adventure involves a spiritual quest (no religious affiliation), full of art and science. The adventure involves the quest of a young woman and the characters she meets in her journey, into an upside-down world. Not really upside down, but a place affected by electromagnetism that has lower gravity levels as one climbs to this place. The people there, where the main character is journeying to, have a correspondingly intrinsic capacity of transparent thought. They are conscious of each others’ thoughts and consequently incapable of telling lies. Yet most of the story takes place as Adora journeys there – as there could be sequels!

Frankly, as of June 1st (almost two weeks since posting this), after editing and moving around information as well as researching and editing bibliography sources, the information below has been updated, and still is no longer current! Nevertheless, you get the gist of the contents! I’ve been working hard within a strict time limit – a really good thing.

Here are the first two pages of the Table of Contents (subject to change) but giving you a gist of the contents.

1st page Table of Contents

1st page Table of Contents

2nd page Table of Contents

2nd page Table of Contents

The approximately 150 page eBook (Completion end of June, 2017), is designed to be read from beginning to end, or to be read in segments. Almost every page introduces a particular subject; including graphs, charts and links to further investigation of that topic. The online Table of Contents and Bibliography allow the reader to choose from various educational subjects, ranging from biology, climatology, and geography to physics, These scientific topics of inquiry are introduced as they arise in the story; with the inference that these hypothetical events in a fantastical environment, could actually transpire.

Here are a few pages of the bibliography, also subject to change. I’m using google docs in order to also alphabetize the bibliography by subject.

Bibliography created in google docs to feature alphabetical listing by subject.

Bibliography created in google docs to feature alphabetical listing by subject

Bibliography created in google docs to feature alphabetical listing by subject.

Adora & Vitali: A Spin on the Matter of Motion has a plethora of art accompanying the science links, providing the reader with the capability to further investigate a topic. It is a colorful and refreshing learning tool for students and adults. The eBook is a stepping stone of intrigue for subsequent exploration into a multitude of scientific topics.

character name meanings and association with elements

character name meanings and association with elements

I’m an independent contractor who has been writing two blogs since 2009, I’m particularly interested in environmental sustainability, renewable energy, (DIY) do-it-yourself practices to reduce one’s carbon footprint, reinvesting in the community and especially the topics of wildlife and animal habitat preservation. I participated in a 2 week educational forum about the environment in Paris, during the COP21 Climate Talks in Paris, http://www.placetob.org/en/ As a writer, artist, musician and composer, I have no umbrella organization presently supporting me financially. I welcome any suggestions you may have regarding the eBook world of publishing, as I have yet to approach any publishers. I can provide you with additional sections of the book to view its layout and presentation.

carolkeiter@gmail.com
(520) 891 1466
PayPal: carolkeiter@gmail.com

ebook trailer:
https://carolkeiter.wordpress.com/2013/05/23/final-metamorphosis-of-the-ebook-trailer-for-adora-vitali-a-spin-on-the-matter-of-motion/

http://spinonmatter.carbonmade.com/projects/4800092#1

blogs:
https://carolkeiter.wordpress.com/
http://digesthis.wordpress.com/

podcast:
https://deliciousmedicinalfood.wordpress.com

art portfolio:
https://carolkeiter.wordpress.com/2010/11/23/parcel-of-my-portfolio
https://carolkeiter.wordpress.com/2015/10/23/carols-artwork-discovered-in-sketchbooks-journals/
https://www.flickr.com/photos/21261638@N03/albums/72157673189438823
https://www.flickr.com/photos/21261638@N03/albums/72157681167409025

music composition:
https://soundcloud.com/you/collection
http://www.reverbnation.com/nomadbeatz

Carol Keiter Contact card

Carol Keiter Contact card

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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

Future Generations: Sorry Prince Ea | Stand for Trees | Severn Suzuki | Anjali Appadurai

I just came across these messages which echo in their empathy for the inhabitants of the earth affected by their environment and for the habitat loss of species; it’s about what we can and must do to actively engage in changes.

Dear Future Generations, Sorry, Prince Ea

Dear Future Generations: Sorry Prince Ea

Prince Ea describes what a future generation may come across, when the Amazon Rain Forest becomes the Amazon desert…or when a tree is a thing of the past, yet stops himself to beckon the audience that it is not too late.

Dear Future Generations, Sorry, Prince Ea, I am not sorry, error does not become a mistake until you refuse to correct it

He urges to “look at the root, not at the branches of government…..we must globally warm our hearts….If we don’t all work together to save the environment, we will be equally extinct.”

Dear Future Generations: Sorry Prince Ea. If we do nothing, regardless of racism, sexism, inequality... we will be Equally Extinct

Dear Future Generations: Sorry Prince Ea. If we do nothing, regardless of racism, sexism, inequality… we will be Equally Extinct

Prince Ea says he was inspired to write this piece after visiting Africa and witnessing the destruction of the rain forest, where animals are losing their habitat at enormous rates.

And with reference to sorry doesn’t cut it, because we still have a chance to act; he brings up Stand For Trees, what he has chosen as an action to offset carbon.

buy Stand For Trees Certificate, forest communities, specific forest, tonne, CO2, earth's atmosphere.

Every time you buy a Stand For Trees Certificate, you help local forest communities around the world keep a specific forest standing and prevent a tonne of CO2 from entering the earth’s atmosphere.

Stand for Trees certificate

Stand for Trees certificate

Stand for Trees How it Works You Buy a Stand for Trees Certificate, offsetting a 'tonne' of CO2, allowing forest to stand

Stand for Trees How it Works You Buy a Stand for Trees Certificate – offsetting a ‘tonne’ of CO2 – allowing forest to stand

This will naturally help communities living within these local forests to protect and honor their trees and want to maintain the forest as well as maintaining the corridor of land for all the species whose habitat is within these forests.

I came across the speeches of two young girls who had the courage to extend their voice to adults meeting in two separate climate summit events.

One features the Words of Wisdom of the 12 year old girl at the time of here speech in 1992, uploaded April, 2008 onto youtube.

Severn Suzuki, Rio De Janeiro, Earth Summit 1992

Severn Suzuki in Rio De Janeiro Earth Summit 1992

Severn Suzuki was the ‘girl who silenced the world for 5 minutes‘.

I am only a child, and yet I know, that if all of the money that is spent on war, was instead spent on environmental policies, Severne Suzuki girl who silenced the world for 5 minutes. She claimed that her father informed her, “You are not what you say, you are what you do.” She was speaking at the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro 1992 – United Nation’s Conference on Environment and Development (1992)

Severn said that her father informed her, “You are not what you say, you are what you do.” Investigating, I found that her father is certainly saying and doing things to inspire us. https://digesthis.wordpress.com/2016/03/08/sustainability-david-suzuki-creative-consciousness-same-name-but-different/

At that time, Severn Suzuki was speaking for (ECO) The Environmental Children’s Organization – which she and several 12 and 13 year old friends started to engage with the world to make a difference. She came 5,000 miles from British Columbia to Rio to tell adults how their actions were causing her to lose her future. “I am only a child, and yet I know, that if all of the money that is spent on war, was instead spent on environmental policies.”

Severn Suzuki, Earth Summit Rio 1992, if money were invested in education, solutions to poverty and environmental devastation,  rather than  war

Severn Suzuki speaking at Earth Summit Rio 1992 if all the money spend on war was spent on ending poverty and finding environmental solutions.

Severn Suzuki grew up in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. In her speech she said, “In my country we make so much waste, we buy and throw away, buy and throw away, and yet northern countries will not share with the needy. Even when we have more than enough, we are afraid to lose some of our wealth, afraid to share…

If you don’t know how to fix it, please stop breaking it!”

Here is the full text of Severn Suzuki’s speech at the Earth Summit Conference in Rio, 1992.

She is since married with two children, intent still in making a difference through her education and activism. Think Global Green, listing Facts and Solutions about the environment.

19 years later, another young articulate and bold young woman spoke to a different climate conference, this time the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Durban, South Africa in 2011. As a representative of the College of the Atlantic representing the Youth Delegation, Anjali Appadurai urged the dignitaries attending the UN summit for climate justice, demanding them to “Get It Done”!

Anjali Appadurai, Youth Delegation, College of the Atlantic, United Nations Climate Change Conference, Durban, South Africa 2011, Amy Goodman, Democracy Now

Anjali Appadurai, representing the Youth Delegation of the College of the Atlantic speaking to United Nations Climate Change Conference in Durban, South Africa 2011, covered by Amy Goodman of Democracy Now

Carol Keiter aka nomadbeatz ~ As an avid blogger who is presently picking up where I left off with my eBook to complete it and and beginning again to compose music, I ask you rather unambiguously and unabashedly to please donate, if you are able. !-))

Carol Keiter the blogger with Tibetan prayer flags, Native American dream catchers and green plants

Carol Keiter the blogger with Tibetan prayer flags, Native American dream catchers and green plants

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Unbounded Spirit | Opposite of Addiction is Connection | Johann Hari “Chasing the Scream”

This short video “Drugs Don’t Cause Addiction” is one of the most profoundly accurate looks into our modern societal malaise and misguided notions about what is of value today. As the unbounded spirit acknowledges, “This Brilliant Animated Video Will Change Your View on Drugs Forever”, and I add, and Your View of Our Modern Society.

Addiction

Everything We Think we Know About Addiciton is Wrong

Obviously much thought went into it, as this video project is a collaboration with Johann Hari, the author of the book “Chasing the Scream”. It reveals that pointing the finger of blame to ‘drugs’ or ‘the war on drugs’ is actually completely missing the point.

"Chasing the Scream, Joann Hari

“Chasing the Scream” by Joann Hari – brilliant reviews

As is typical, the fingers are pointing in the opposite direction of the real problem. What we need to realize is that the real blame is our collective societal values of materialism over connection with others. As the western world has become more and more focused on material wealth and financial gain, this has been accompanied with increasing social isolation. The problem is not a drug, nor an individual addiction, but a collective one which has been driven by consumerism.

We need to rebuild our society towards values in which the individual derives happiness through accomplishments from actions in which he or she is engaged in which makes him/her happy and feel joy from emersion in that activity, and in which collectively we are sharing activities and experiencing joy through camaraderie and sympathy; recognizing that we are all living this life together and that only when all beings have peace, comfort and security can we all share in that joy.

Paraphrasing the video…

Addiction is just one symptom of the crisis of disconnection that is happening all around us.

People have an innate need to connect. When we’re happy and healthy we will bond with the people around us. Yet when we’re traumatized, isolated or beaten down by life, we will bond with something that will give us some sense of relief; such as:

Endlessly checking a cell phones

addiction to cell phones

addiction to cell phones

 

addiction to pornography

addiction to pornography

addiction to video games

addiction to video games

 

addiction to gambling

addiction to gambling

 

addiction to cocaine

addiction to cocaine – drugs in general

because…as the video elucidates, we will bond with something, because THIS is our human nature.

 

 

Since the 1950’s the average number of close friends an American has, has been steadily declining, whereas the amount of floorspace in their homes has been increasing. Choosing floorspace over close friends, stuff over connection.

The path out of unhealthy bonds, is to form healthy bonds; to be connected to people you want to be present with.

It’s not the chemicals, it’s your cage.

We need not talk about individual recovery from addiction, but must talk about social recovery.

We need to change the unnatural way that we live.

The opposite of addiction is not sobriety, the opposite of addiction is connection.

I recall a ‘waking dream I had decades ago. It was not while I was sleeping, but during the day. I was witnessing what has since been created, virtual reality, before it existed. In the dream I was climbing a mountain. I could feel the breeze. The ‘camera’ pulled out so that I was then seeing myself from above, then further away looking down at the earth. Then suddenly I was climbing out of a box, an isolation tank, in my living room. I then was disconnecting these wires from my scull. When I awoke from this engaging dream during the day while I was living in Washington D.C., I recall feeling very disturbed emotionally from the thought of having cheated myself by not ‘actually’ having the real experience of traveling to a mountain to summit, but was only alone in a box – the shell of the real experience. A few years later I was startled to watch a movie while I was traveling and visiting Europe called “Strange Dayshttps://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Strange_Days_(film) because it was recapturing the essence of the mechanics of how this ‘virtual reality’ of my vision and virtual experience occurred.

Strange Days

1995 film Strange Days

I have since continued to feel this conviction (even though I’m sitting here ‘working’ and writing, creating and communicating in isolation on my MacBook Pro – and loving and needing this machine – so I think 🙂 That if we don’t maintain a balance, our technologies will continue to isolate us from ourselves and one another. I had hypothesized that primitive people perhaps had not lost our special connection to the cosmos. A friend then pointed out to investigate my theory by looking at the aborigines of Australia. They once consistently demonstrated telepathy and ultra human powers of consciousness. As modern man relies more and more on our gadgets to do things for us, our human powers of mind and heart and connection to one another and the universal intelligence will atrophy. I believe human beings do have capabilities of telepathy and of connection with the divine through allowing ourselves to quite our minds and engage our spirits and heart – our sixth sense or intuition or gut instincts – whatever you want to call it. Yet, if our thoughts are constantly engaged and busy worrying about the past and the future and what we don’t have and judging one another and watching sitcoms and shit, we don’t have the time or space to tap into what is available to us as spiritual beings on the material physical plane. yep, I said it. I always thought it. And I keep finding other human beings who also reiterate and reverberate the same message….

This video was put together with http://www.patreon.com

patreon

patreon dot com description / kurzgesagt

http://addiction.mobydigg.de and the unbounded spirit.

 

 

 

carol keiter, blogger, arizona, wwoof

Carol the blogger in her Moose-themed residence at her first WWOOF experience in Arizona

 

Here’s a pic of me, the blogger in my ‘moose lake lodge’ residence in the Sonoran desert where I’m participating in my first WWOOF experience on the Veteran’s Ranch, a means of avoiding homelessness while at the same time being very interested in learning about farming techniques from the pros – the people who run the farms and ranches – and I absolutely love and adore animals of every type.

 

When I’m not working with the animals or on my own projects, I’m taking pictures of sunsets.

Solitude, Serenity, Sonoran, Sunset, Feb. 20th 2016

Solitude and Serenity Sonoran Sunset Feb. 20th 2016

IMG_0003

And I’ve started to take videos of the animals, with the incentive to capture the sounds, to then weave into some new music (sounds on the ranch 🙂

Carol Keiter aka nomadbeatz ~ As an avid blogger who is presently picking up where I left off with my eBook to complete it and and beginning again to compose music, I ask you rather unambiguously and unabashedly to please donate, if you are able. !-))

PayPal Donate Button

In addition to the fact that donations are always welcome and appreciated, I just discovered to day February 20th, 2016 patreon, which I am very happy to join and am about to create an artist profile. It is a very similar concept to something I conjectured a month or so ago: wishing there was an artist residency somewhere where the artists can collaborate if they choose, yet which is based on earning money for what they create. They are paid, as they commit to producing work. Well, patron is not a residency, yet it does offer capital, and I’m pretty stoked to have discovered it. Certainly it will act as a motivator for all artists, lighting a fire to keep them producing new work!!! I’ll sign on to patreon as a blogger/photographer/illustrator/author creating a profile tomorrow, and will be de light ed to find some patrons encouraging me to keep on producing work!

Introduction to my book “Adora & Vitali: A Spin on the Matter of Motion”

Introduction

http://spinonmatter.carbonmade.com/projects/4800092#1

Though this tale is fiction, the book is woven throughout with supporting factual theories, that emerge as the story evolves. This non-fiction evidence is laced with science; biology, geology, cosmology and physics, which substantiates how this theoretical world can exist. The scientific basis of this book with its substantial bibliography to allow the reader for further exploration of the topic, is proof of how this world which the characters encounter, can exist at all. I invite you on this intellectual and spiritual adventure.

Adora & Vitali: A Spin on the Matter of Motion trailer thumbnails

Adora & Vitali: A Spin on the Matter of Motion trailer thumbnails

As the writers of “The Universe StoryBrian Swimme and Thomas Berry indicate. All of the energy of the entire universe today was present in the initial Flaring Forth. And though no carbon-based life or stabilized forms of matter that we see today could have lasted for even a fraction of an instant during this, it was the birth of time and space, from which all creation is intricately related.

The authors mention the evolution of the human species up to the present, stating in their prologue: “The dominant entity that emerged was not any particular nation-state but the multi-national corporation. These new institutions directed vast scientific, technological, financial and bureaucratic powers toward controlling Earth processes for the benefit of the human economy. By the end of the twentieth century, the destruction left by the wars between nations was dwarfed in significance by the destruction of the natural systems by industrial plunder. In geological terms, human activities in the twentieth century ended the sixty-seven-million-year venture called the Cenozoic era. … Th future of Earth’s community rests in significant ways upon the decisions to be made by the humans who have inserted themselves so deeply into even the genetic codes of Earth’s process. The future will be worked out in the tensions between those committed to the Technozoic, a future of increased exploitation of Earth as resource, all for the benefit of humans, and those committed to the Ecozoic, a new mode of human-Earth relations, one where the well-being of the entire Earth community is the primary concern.”

http://spinonmatter.carbonmade.com/projects/4800092#1

Carol Keiter's drawing of dolphins jumping, one of the characters in "Adora & Vitali: A Spin on the Matter of Motion"

Carol Keiter’s drawing of dolphins jumping, one of the characters in “Adora & Vitali: A Spin on the Matter of Motion”

Hope walks through the fire, faith leaps over it.

Donations towards Carol Keiter’s writing, eBook, music composition, photography & illustrations are graciously accepted! PayPal Donate Button

Carol Keiter the blogger with camera in hand at MMNY-MakeMusicNewYork

Carol Keiter the blogger with camera in hand at MMNY-MakeMusicNewYork

Carol Keiter the blogger in New York city attending a Make Music New York event at Times Square presented by Yoko Ono

Carol Keiter the blogger in New York city attending a Make Music New York event at Times Square presented by Yoko Ono

Donations would be appreciated, since I’m not under any corporate umbrella, but drifting out here in cyberspace, fortunately connected to all of the information that has contributed to this book.

Body and the Brain | Expeditionary Learning | Montessori ‘Hands-on’ Learning

Back when I was on my way hitchhiking to San Francisco in 2012, I encountered some teachers who had just attended a conference on the subject of Expeditionary Learning. I wrote about it. https://carolkeiter.wordpress.com/2012/05/17/hitchabout-san-francisco_expeditionary_learning/

Several days ago the subject of Montessori schools and hands-on learning popped up. I had to investigate if these are in fact, two ways of saying the same thing. I have a feeling that they are. Well, ‘jein’ as a German would say, ja und nein (yes and no) together! They are and they aren’t the same. They are two distinct schools of learning, yet, quite parallel and sort of extensions or facets of one another – in that they are each rigorously proponents of hands-on, getting intimately involved in the entire scope of learning about a subject, interdisciplinary and relying on your own curiosity to motivate you to further investigation. Both involve exploring cooperatively as a group and diving into the whole scope, rather than slicing off disparate parts.

Expeditionary Learning?

what is Expeditionary Learning?

The area of study is called embodied learning.

As young children move and explore their worlds, they are learning through touch. Early bimanual training correlates with the robustness of the corpus callosum, a part of the brain that facilitates quick communication between the left and right brain hemispheres.

 

 

Just as body movement and involvement can have a huge impact on learning, so too can the spaces where we learn.

 

Corpus Callosum neural fibers connecting two cerebral hemispheres, brain

Corpus Callosum neural fibers connecting two cerebral hemispheres of the brain

Mind Shift, Kids, Move, Touch, Experience.Learning

Mind Shift – Why Kids Need to Move, Touch and Experience to Learn

 

 

This article featured on KQED news written by Katrina Schwartz March 26th, 2015 “Why Kids Need to Move, Touch and Experience to Learn” describes how Maria Montessori, founder of Montessori Schools, highlighted the connection between minds and bodies in her 1936 book The Secret of Childhood “Movement, or physical activity, is thus an essential factor in intellectual growth, which depends upon the impressions received from outside.

 

 

Through movement we come in contact with external reality, and it is through these contacts that we eventually acquire even abstract ideas.”

Maria Montessori was best known for her philosophy of education that bears her name. It is an educational approach based on the model of human development.

I see that yes, Expeditionary Learning is an extension of what the Montessori school education is for children at a younger age. The Montessori Method are classes which consist of children of different ages together in what resembles more of a real world environment. The younger children (age 3 to 5) focus their ‘work’ on materials that develop cognition through seeing, tasting, smelling and touch through direct experience. Elementary-age children in the upper grades shift away from the concrete (sensory) to focus more on abstract tasks. The materials and curriculum are inter-disciplinary, and children begin to apply their knowledge to the real world. For example, students may study a map of Europe, and not only learn about it in terms of geography, but also incorporate learning about art and history of the continent; a process which allows the topic to be studied from the whole, not merely discrete separate parts.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Expeditionary_learning_schools (ELS) are models of comprehensive school reform based on the educational ideas of German educator Kurt Hahn, the founder of Outward Bound. There are more than 150 expeditionary learning schools in 30 states and the District of Columbia. They are exemplified by project-based learning expeditions, where students engage in interdisciplinary, in-depth study of compelling topics, in groups and in their community in which the students become involved with real topics, in real communities, involving the various different subjects that otherwise would be isolated and sliced out of the entire picture. The emphasis is on people working together and involvement in the whole picture.

History class, ELS, students, curiosity

History class ELS NY students create projects suggested by their own curiosity

Open World Learning http://open.spps.org/expeditionary_learning informs us that Expeditionary Learning is built on ten design principles that reflect the educational values and beliefs of Outward Bound. These principles also reflect the design’s connection to other related thinking about teaching, learning, and the culture of schools.

1. Primacy of self-discovery – Learning happens best with emotion, challenges and support…students undertake tasks that require perseverance, fitness, craftsmanship, imagination, self-discipline, and significant achievement. A teacher’s primary task is to help students overcome their fears and discover they can do more than they think they can.

2. Having wonderful ideas – Fostering curiosity about the world and giving students something important to think about, experiment and make sense of what they are observing.

3. Responsibility for Learning – Learning is both a personal process of discovery and social activity. It encourages both children and adults to become increasingly responsible for directing their own personal and collective learning.

4. Empathy and Caring – Students’ and teachers’ ideas are respected and where there’s mutual trust. Out of the hierarchy, into having an adult being an advocate and older students mentoring younger ones.

5. Success and Failure – Students need to be successful to build confidence and the capacity to take risks and meet increasingly difficult challenges. Yet students must learn from their failures and learn how to turn obstacles into opportunities.

6. Collaboration and Competition – Students are encouraged to compete against their personal best, not against each other. Individual and group development are encouraged and integrated towards valuing friendship, trust and group action.

7. Diversity and Inclusion – Students investigate and value their different histories and talents as well as those of other communities and cultures. They recognize that diversity and inclusion increase the richness of ideas, creative thinking and problem solving.

8. Natural World – A direct and respectful relationship with the natural world refreshes the human spirit and teaches the important ideas of recurring cycles and cause and effect. Students learn to become stewards of the earth and of future generations.

9. Solitude and Reflection – Students and teachers need time alone to explore their own thoughts, make their own connections and foster their own ideas and thinking, They can then exchange these reflections with others.

10. Service and Compassion – We are crew, not passengers. Students and teachers are strengthened by acts of consequential service to others, and one of an Expeditionary Learning school’s primary functions is to prepare students with the attitudes and skills to learn from and be of service.

Announcement of my soon to be released eBook

I intend to release my first book around the summer solstice, June 21st.

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

Due to having not a ‘low’, but ‘no’ budget ‘-) I’ll produce an eBook prior to the first print edition. Besides writing, illustrating and composing music for the digital version, I’m publishing and marketing it too; using iBook Author, Smashwords as well as (kdp) Kindle of Amazon, so that it can be read on whatever platform or device the reader prefers. I’ll also do a voice-over for an audio-book version. The print will be POD ‘print on demand’ for starters. It’s all new terrain and the whole process is a learning experience, about which I’ll be happy to share any information!

Below is an ‘inside/back cover’ summary about what the book entails! I’m open to any suggestions, yet particularly I’d love to hear about any venues (book stores/cafes in your area) which you recommend for me to contact to set up ‘readings’. Once I schedule dates at various locations, I’ll map out a tour. I’m always up for traveling and talking with people! From early on, I anticipated creating versions in French, Spanish and German, especially on the digital platform. This would give the reader the option to read the same content in another language as a learning tool. I’m conversant in these and love learning languages. Since I’m not fluent, I’ll naturally need editors who are native speakers. adoras_path_satellite_revised_2_10_13
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“Adora & Vitali: A Spin on the Matter of Motion” is a spiritual quest imbued with scientific concepts. It is woven throughout with parcels of information relevant to the phenomena that emerge in the story itself. It is specifically designed to inspire curiosity and evoke within the reader the desire to learn more about the fascinating nature of our universe.

A children’s book for adults or classroom textbook embedded within a tale, it has approximately 80 illustrations throughout (black & white as well as color): from scientific diagrams and charts to character and fantasy images. Interwoven throughout are about 120 (and counting) active links; a ‘live’ bibliography that not only substantiates the facts but gives the reader a means to explore in more depth each of the subjects covered.

The tale involves a young woman named Adora, who after learning of a place which enchants her because of its mysterious qualities, decides to journey there. The place not only has almost no gravity, which is extraordinary in itself, but the people residing there have exceptional qualities of mind and spirt. None are capable of lying – they are sentient beings able to telepathically read each others’ minds. A utopian, transparent world, where only truth and honesty exist; in which intentions are transmitted through love. To reach her destination, she is instructed to follow the magnetic lines. The book is a journey to this place with its supernatural characteristics, distilled with information revealing how this theoretically ‘could’ occur. For example, successive natural phenomena were triggered as a result of accelerated global warming.

Besides reading the book sequentially, it is designed as a reference tool in which one can jump from one topic to another; each covered on its unique page. The book is geared for curious readers from adolescent on; for students, science or science fantasy enthusiasts, or those curious about spirituality and consciousness. Generally, those intrigued with adventures into the unknown. Besides being a tale infused with symbolism and mystery (“Adora” means “love” and “Vitali” means “life”), it is a multimedia ‘expeditionary learning platform’, which peers into the phenomena of nature from the microscopic world of subatomic physics to the cosmic, including a smorgasbord of other topics from biology, to geology, chemistry and more, displaying how extraordinary ‘our’ world is. As the title suggests, among other phenomena in the natural world, the book strives to build an appreciation and understanding of the integral role that electromagnetism plays in all of life as well as the communication of love.

with love,
carolkeiter@gmail.com