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Tuesday, August 16, 2011

the end

What does the end look like?

Like me, lying in the Catalonian sun beside you, eating jamón sandwiches and painting up the world with colors and words, turning pigeons into birds of paradise and trash collectors into princes--apples were always golden when you were near.

What does the end look like?

Saying goodbye to you as if we'll see eachother again. We'll write, I promise--letters that transcend space and time, this is just "so long", until the crazy world out there throws us back together again.

What does the end look like?

Me sitting at the banks of a river in Strasbourg with all my bags, watching the empty streets and the sun rising over still waters. Nowhere to be, no one waiting for me, cool asa cucumber, I could fall asleep here without a care in the world.

What does the end look like?

Taking a bite of the last kebab of my journey to satiate the kebab fever I've acquired--good God America, why haven't you caught on? I want kebab everywhere at every hour.
Enjoying this holy kebab watching the sunset through the windows of Heathrow Airport and saying so long journey, I'll be back soon.

And now, here I am.


("goodnight moon, goodnight Strasbourg")

Roll credits. Play exit soundtrack: "More News From Nowhere", Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds

Friday, August 5, 2011

Where do you go to my lovely

Where Do You Go To My Lovely, Peter Sarastedt
Les Champs-Eleysees

(If you ever walked into my room last year, the only thing I played was the soundtrack for the Darjeeling Limited, over and over again..)

I was going to go sightseeing but then I walked into an open gallery at an artist's apartment off the metro and spent the whole day there.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

A few rules to help guide your adventures, wherever they are. I'm writing these out mostly for me, not to preach. I forgot about these things, and have made it harder for myself than it needed to be. Don't forget the things you learn!

Live with purpose. If you live with purpose, then you are exactly where you're supposed to be, walking down the streets you were supposed to walk down, meeting the people you were supposed to meet, and you aren't supposed to be anywhere else.

Live with love. The only things that matter, the only things that are real, are the things you put love into. Everything else is an artificial gesture, an imitation of reality.

Talk to people as if they're leaving for Budapest tomorrow. Don't be like me--I didn't want to invest time into people since they were leaving so soon. Remember that people are worlds of their own, try to learn about who they are, what they're about--explore them with a genuine interest, before it's too late.

If you have anything to add, feel free to message, edumacate me.

Na Florenci and the Maya Machine

Hey team.

So today would be a good example of what Prague is like for me. Presently I'm sitting in a coffeeshop, listening to Bruce Springsteen, and feeling slightly homesick. If you're wanting to keep me company, then please listen to the album "The Wild, the Innocent, & the E Street Shuffle" while you're reading this. It's kind of a struggle to stay afloat, but this is not because of Prague. Prague is absolutely beautiful...anywhere you walk, you'll see breathtaking architecture...castles, art deco apartments, gothic'll learn to hate the tourists who aren't you, with their monstrous cameras and their tourist aggression. My favorite is the young French couples (they tend to be French, I know I'm generalizing) who take artsy pictures of each other smoking in front of absintheries or statues. I've photo-bombed that more than once...
No, but it's a beautiful city...and the people fascinate me very much. I'm especially intrigued by the older generation, who seems so sad, trying to piece together all the different lives they've lived, trying to figure out where they fit in this new capitalist contraption, if they fit into it at all, or if they'll be left behind. (Prague was Communist until 89. Imagine this: your parents grew up during the Nazi era, you in Communism, your children sparked the revolution, and your grandchildren grew up under capitalism. Crazy shit.) They're very beautiful people.

But it is exhausting living in a hostel. Some people would adore it, I'm sure, but the introvert Maya and the other Maya are constantly at war with each other, clawing each other up, leaving me sleepless and contemplating too much. You meet so many people, a lot of them beautiful and very interesting. Road tripping country jumping train chasers. For example, just last night I met this Brazilian who made a shit ton of money off a website he started. He sold it, and now is just going to trek the world for an undecided amount of time. Jetsetting is never enough for these people, he intends on hitchhiking and couch surfing around, for the pleasure of it. Carlos, me fascinas.

I've met two Canadians who, like me, are staying for a long period of time here at the hostel, so we hang out when we can, and let each other know what's going on around the city. So that's nice. I just sometimes feel like I'm perpetually stuck in college orientation week--there's a script that many people stick to: where are you from, where are you going, how long are you here, what are you studying? ah, but the people who don't use that script, those are the ones you want to meet.

I'm learning a lot. Hey you. Travel to a random city, stay at a hostel for a week and see what it does to you. It'll do something to you, I promise.

PS: In case you were wondering what my future itinerary looks like...I think I'm going to Split, Croatia and possibly Budapest.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011


I miss you guys so much. It's raining here in Prague and I kind of wish I were back in Italy or Spain. But I'm giving it a week, and then I'm checking out my possibilities.

Things that are quirky about Prague so far:
-The Museum of Communism is located above a McDonald's.
-Cannabis vodka.

I LOVE YOU BOYS. Also, dearest loves from home, please write to me. It means a lot getting yer messages...


"E'severamente vietato lavare l'acqua e pettinarse le babole calve!"
(It is PROHIBITED to wash the water and brush the hair of the bald dolls!)

Dino, asserting autostop: "That is the key. Disgust the aggressor! Disgust the aggressor!"

"We should have brought some vodka. What i wouldn't give for a cheeky swig!" (--Rachel is so British.)

"It's my alc pack. It's my alcpacca."

Accompanying music: 40 Day Dream, Edward Sharp...

Monsters of the Danube

Vienna had a pretty sick art scene. The Danube was lined with really lovely graffiti art...probably my favorite part of the day. Unfortunately, Jess and I have parted, so now I only have a camera that only holds up to 4 pictures for some reason. Dun dun DUN.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Man made of metal

He’d be just like you

if his eyes weren’t melded from fire

and his memories heaps of groaning iron,

with electric outlets for smiles

and rejected car parts for hearts.


he hears them breathing or sighing

with the weight of time.


whispering the names of women he’s forgotten.

They crawled from the back of his skull,

these exhausted,

mammoth creatures,

in the shapes of his thoughts--

towering, twisting--

and in the day,

sleeping in the sunflowers,

or patches of rosemary.

At night, they wander restlessly,

and he hears them,

how they keep him up at night,

grazing on God knows what by starlight.

He searches for their footsteps

when the sun finally rises—

they cannot possibly tread lightly—

but he never finds a print.

He invites the world into his house,

throwing parties through the night

in hopes to kill the clatter.

Oh, disfigure those beasts with something,

if the music cannot mute them!

Blind them with someone else’s memories,

the bright ,crisp colors from an Argentinean’s heart ,

the sad, murky shades from a Czech man’s brush.

But some days there is silence,

And he cannot explain the change—wine, humidity?—

when he can lie beneath the wisteria vines

watching the soft green glow of leaves

and he may finally forget

about these metal sculptures

that gnash their rusted mandibles, or gently

tap their copper tusks against his bedroom window,

waiting, loyally, patiently.

Welcome to Cactus City


Walking along the water in Florence. Maya has spent the last couple hours with an old Florentine artist and a girl from Arizona.

[A couple hours into conversation.

Characters: Maya and artist]

“What is your name?”


“Ah, like the Inca, Azteca…Some say they came from the stars”.

“Yes…” [insert joke about aliens]

“You’re one of those, you came from a flying saucer”.

I laughed. I usually feel that way. It has been somewhat of an emotional rollercoaster here in Cortona. Sorry for the random fragment of playwright-wannabe, the original journal entry was really lame. I sometimes wish I could just slap a piece of film from my head onto the computer so that you could see the memories the way I did. Anyway, my new home is at an artist collective, decorated with bright paintings and crazy sculptures. Dino studied medicine and I guess he decided he was finished with that field, so now he nurtures the organic and arts communities of Tuscany. We collaborated and named his hoe “Frank Zappa”. I don’t have much to say, as everything changes on a day to day basis. I was unhappy when the vegans were here, but I’m happy now, cleaning wine bottles while listening to the Stones, or watching people dance to tarantellas in Arezzo. It is time to leave though. Sorry Italy, of 89 cent box wines, expresso, and exceptionally forward young Italian men, but we must part soon. Jess, myself, and our new buddy from Bristol, Rachel, who is a female sheep, and an exceptionally edible piece of meat for mosquitos, are making a stop in Cinque Terre, where we will take over its beaches for a couple nights, then we all part our separate ways. Jess to Germany, myself to Prague, and Rachel will stay in Italy. I’m trying to get rid of my suitcase.

A literature pause.

So as a lot of my friends and family know, I was originally going to go to Chile to soak up the greatness of all the Southamerican writers I’m obsessed with. Obviously I’m no longer headed to South America. This is the new literature sketch of my travels:

I read One Hundred Years of Solitude through Spain and Italy (slow read, right? I slept more then I read whenever I had a moment to spare), and of course I absolutely loved it. García Márquez, I love you dearly. Now, as I prepare for Prague, I’ve started reading a novel by Milan Kundera (author of one of my favorite novels, The Unbearable Lightness of Being), a book given to me by a hostile vegan who hated it. I love Kundera. Every few pages I sigh to myself and say, “O, Milan!”

I don’t know what the remainder of my trip will look like, as I can’t think past Italy, but hey man. You just gotsta go with it. Nothing has been as expected. I’m nervous, surprised, pleased, disappointed, I ain’t got much control nah nah nah.

Sunday, July 3, 2011


The great and lovely Cole Morgan once said there are sights you simply should not try to capture with film, and this was one of those sights. I took his words into account and dismissed them though, because I wanted you to get a glimpse of this. This is a beautiful photo, but it doesn't even capture the magnificence that was last night's sunset. It was a reality-shaking moment where you're just like this can' t possibly be, cannot possibly coexist with all the mundane all the ugly in this world.

Anywhere I lay my head

(7/2) Last night we decided to sleep in the Pisa airport to save money. We thought we’d hit the jackpot because we found a room that was completely empty with giant comfy massage chairs, but of course it was too good to be true. We were kicked out when the airport closed at midnight by a very sweet Italian who didn't speak a lick of English. So we moved to the lawn and tried sleeping on stone hippos, where there were other sleepy travelers, and we were very comfy on our stone hippos until the sprinklers went off and soaked us. So we moved again to the terrace of a café, bundled in a sleeping bag and jackets (we weren’t in Spain anymore, it was cold at night!) We rolled a cigarette to keep the hunger at bay since we didn’t have any food, and it was the best cigarette I’ve ever smoked in my life good God it was amazing. So we, along with others, were curled up in these bamboo chairs, until the airport reopened at four in the morning, moved back into the warmth, and slept some more. When we woke up, we rubbed our eyes and realized we were in Italy.

Accompanying music: Anywhere I lay My Head, Tom Waits

El Paraiso

(Actually writing this in Florence, since I haven’t had time to write until now)

Spent a week in El Paraiso (located in Aroche, Spain), where the people are nomads or yesmads or absolutemads. I love it, I love the mads. For once I didn’t sing the blues off cliffs alone. We sang the blues into the hills of Southern Spain with guitar, banjo, accordion, harmonica, and even a “no”. (Get ready for Amelie and Ana’s hit song, “Sleepy Sun”.)

Random facts:

Met a butterfly who lived in a pumpkin and longed for Istanbul. Met people who’ve got pieces of sun in their lips—spreads light when they smile.

I was baked in sweat, lime, and clay, soon to be sacrificed for the foundation of unbreakable walls.

Every glass of Cruzcampo I drank was the best glass of Cruzcampo I’d ever had, after working for hours in 40 degree Celsius weather.

Also, the Belgians adored that I was a color-changing Virgo who learned how to eat properly before their very eyes. But actually. They took note of both my eating habits and my Virgo habits (unrelated) on a daily basis. “You’re such a Virgo!”

…And when the mads look you in the eye with their crazy mad eyes and call you beautiful, you know there’s no use hiding it.

Accompanying music:

MC Solar (sp)

Or, ask me to play you my soon to be hit songs, “Riverboat Man” and “Bluesman with the broken Fender”.

(The "no". Mark made it himself. Part sitar part beast.)

Seville, 6/22

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

ugly moon mm

It's 6:50am in Granada. I am in love with this city. I cannot sleep because I am in physical pain. So, here is something.





Sunday, June 19, 2011

Los Indignados

As I was writing this, I found that the Puerta del Sol camp, after four weeks of protesting Spain´s sky-high unemployment rate, has been dismantled. I am glad that we had the chance to see it while we could. The order and timing of some of my posts will be off due to limited internet access.

I did not get the chance to sit down properly and write about Los Indignados in Puerta del Sol. It has been a while since I was last in Madrid, and I still haven’t written a thing.

I guess I will just have to show you.

The people living here were inspiring to say the least. Ignited by the Arab Spring, Los Indignados across the nation started camps and marches to demand radical change in Spanish politics as an angry response to the nation's debt crisis--youth unemployment is over 43%: the highest in the UN.

While in Puerta del Sol, I spent the day walking around the camp and speaking to activists who volunteered various services available to the community. Los Indignados organized their own manifestos and they developed decision-making processes for political action and deciding communal priorities. They have communal libraries and information booths, living quarters, kitchens, and art collectives. The people of Madrid have donated lots of supplies and money to support the individuals who have pledged to occupy the Puerta since the protests initiated at the end of May. It’s not just young people either: it was people of all ages exercising their rights to be idealists, to be pissed-off, dissatisfied and fed up with the status-quo, and pressure the rest of Spain ask themselves why they weren’t doing the same.

Here are a couple of sites they gave me, I haven’t checked them out yet as I’ve had pretty limited internet access—fifteen minutes a day, every other day, has been the pattern.

These are more writing collectives and public forums, attempting to channel the voices of discontent into prose and poetry.

I have a lot to learn about everything: this is all I know for now. I am thinking of a lot of people who should have seen this with me. Luis, Barry, Sadie, and countless others.












For a few euros more

You know how in Westerns there’s always that scene were a stranger comes to town, he enters a bar, and everyone in the bar looks up and stares? That totally happened to Jess and I today.

So today’s Sunday, the one day of break we have off, and we decided to walk up to a nearby village, Alcutar. The village is about a 20 minute walk away, up a curving dirt road, past ancient ruins (which, I’ve found, people sneak into and drink 40s), past a mini waterfall, and sits snugly on the incline of a ridge. Jess and I have been away from civilization for nearly two weeks now: we just wanted to go to a bar. The village is made up of narrow little streets seperating tall, bone-white apartment buildings. The combination of the fact that the village has a population of about 800, plus it was siesta time, made the place a ghost town when we arrived. All we could hear were the whimpers of the mangy dogs and cats that stared us down when we walked too close to them, and the dramatic exclamations from telenovelas blasting out of open doors and windows. It was strange because most of the windows were open, and the beaded doorways would shimmer every now and then, but we saw no faces. Occasionally you’d hear someone calling from a roof or a window somewhere, but the owners of the voices were always just out of sight. Finally, the labyrinthine little streets led us to the center of town, where the long awaited and only bar in town was: CAFÉ BAR JUAN (which, by the way, is next to the only church in town). Panting from the heat and from walking up these endless, snaking streets, we made our way through the chain-link doorway and into CAFÉ BAR JUAN. As soon as my eyes adjusted to the lights, I noticed that not only was the bar pretty packed for a ghost town, but all the men at the bar were slowly turning their heads to stare at me. It was a grungy looking bunch of middle-aged men with dirt caked on their faces, skin dried and leathery from the sun. I expected one of them to spit out a gob of tobacco into a spittoon. These weren’t “guy stares at a chick at a bar” kind of stares either, they were like, “The hell dragged you in here, Americana?” kind of stares. In my head I did a little showdown whistle, before giving the “bar bunch” a little Maya smile—when in doubt act adorable—and waltzed over to a barstool.

Of course, it was all good once we ordered the beers, as if I’d said a secret password or something. With the ordering of two Cruzcampos, suddenly we were treated like average customers, and people even greeted us on their way out. Everything was dandy after that. We could not, however, stop giggling to ourselves about how it must have all looked.
On the trek back home, Jess and I couldn’t help whistling the theme song from the Fistful of Dollars trilogy, and hoped a good Western would be on the TV when we got back. (Unfortunately, our hosts, Martin and Toni, don’t actually pay for cable or whatever, so the only thing on was Judge Judy). We realized that once we get to Italy we’ll only know two phrases. “Bonjourno” and “Sergio Leone”. Many Italians will be annoyed, but the right ones will like us and our Spaghetti Western aspirations, as we continue to stumble into small bars as incredibly out-of-place strangers, in every country we visit.

I appreciate the lovely individuals who taught me that to get to know a place is to get to know its bars, because that’s a good lesson I’m sticking to. (Chuck, Theo, John, and Melissa)

Monday, June 13, 2011


Around here you can escape many things. Time, almost.
Here the sun rises every morning, red and pregnant with a new day, starving as much as the first dawn on earth.

The people who live here have leathery skin and their stories are written across their chests, arms, and knuckles.
They have lived a thousand lives. To be sure, however, they have also died a few times. For every death they’ve endured, they grow something new: the sweetest of fig trees the Mediterranean has ever seen, olives, that make olive oil, so thick and sultry, and almonds so sweet and soft.

You will never see a sunset because the mountains, they get far too jealous, they hide you from such sights. But once the sky goes dark, the pomegranate trees sparkle and the terrace lights up with dragon flies and butterflies in electric blues and reds.

The people sit beneath these sparkling lights, listening to twanging guitars and smoking hand rolled cigarettes and nodding to everything.

I will tell you some things because everyone here already knows. Understandably, you are not here, and do not know.

I: There was a Frenchman with startlingly blue eyes and this is what he said: “To be successful around here, you must be starving”. I agreed.

II: If you run fast enough nothing can catch up with you and you will sleep well, so well.
(Everything will catch up eventually. You must sing the blues off of cliffs until the pain drops far, far away. )