Home?

Prius filled concrete capital covers my culture shocked head ache. Billboards advertise with money signs, eyeing for blinded minds. I avoid it all. Inside I hide. Assembling another round of chai for my family.

How the hell did I get here? I was just meditating in the Himalayas and now I am inhaling LA traffic, sitting beside a plastic bag of constant confusion and subdued depression.

Let’s backtrack a few weeks to Nagarkot, a small mountain village where I stayed with Suman, a free-spirited musician and painter. I found a haven in his incredible restaurant/bar/hang-out spot where I was well-fed, taught Nepali, and inspired to write even more songs. Everything was free. Everything was fine. I was set to teach English to Nepali kids and receive a stipend in return. Classes would resume in a week, so I seized the opportunity to travel.

I ventured six hours to Pokhara, sitting backwards between locals in the aisle of another hellacious bus ride. When I arrived, I had no plan. Dressed in loneliness  I wandered the streets and mingled with other white faces, sharing cold beers while shooting pool. A mild-mannered Frenchman mentioned he would play a round of golf the following morning. My ears shot up like a street dog’s.

Albeit poorly maintained, The Himalayan Golf Course was gorgeous. Set in a gorge beneath stunning mountains (the largest in the world), we tee’d off with a caddie boy and hopefully enough balls to get us through 18. The course was completely ours.

But… I struggled….bad. Sickness weighed on me like a rock. My stomach ached, and my head was heavy with dizziness beneath the blistering sun. 9 holes later we sat alongside the green, peering out in sheer silence. Then, it happened.

I ran to the river, desecrating the rushing waters with diarrhea and vomit. It was up-down-up-down before I returned to my partner. I struggled up the gorge before I had to throw up again. I could barely stand.

Three days ill. Shut off from the world in my overpriced hotel room. Pale faced and lonely. It was awful. I never felt so sick in my entire life. My heart slowly shrank in my pain-stained chest. Moreover, my grandma had recently passed away. It was no shock. She had suffered from Alzheimers for many years in a slow descent towards death. I contemplated a return to the States, yet it seemed so abstract, far away. I couldn’t fathom it. Furthermore, my opportunities in Asia were growing. I was set on working in Cambodia, where I had a good job lined up on the south beach as a bartender. My family encouraged me to make my own decision. And it wasn’t until I fell into a haze of gastric confusion that things became crystal clear.

When you know – you just know. It was my time to go home.

I surprised my family with a Thanksgiving miracle and attended a beautiful memorial service for my grandma. I wrote and recited a poem, and it was nice to remember the old times – and have some closure. I am very glad to be back with my family, recharge my batteries, and cook some mean Indian meals. I lost 17 pounds in less than 3 months traveling India/Nepal and have been eating vegetarian too. Things here are…. different, but I am enjoying the western luxuries: hot showers, clean water, electricity, yada yada. However, cabin fever is creeping in and my rambling shoes are still tied tight. I better make money fast if I want to conquer Mexico by bike and take a ferry to Cuba. Call me a dreamer, but anything’s possible.

My home is in my head.

Shanti.

 

Me and Suman

The golf course I desecrated

Flying over California

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Stop Me From Stopping

The cold wind tears tears from my stimuli sabotaged eyes.

The motorbike on which I ride roars through Jaipur.

Elephant prints are pounded into my memories.

Jeeps carry colors on the trash splashed asphalt.

I helped her shovel the buffalo shit with my hands.

An old man in a dirty white robe rolls a giant black tire down the highway.

His toes are crusted like rust on a rickshaw.

I walk through the primordial primate temple.

Tasting fear.

 

A photograph can never capture the fleeting feeling

Of the heart behind the camera.

Or stares that penetrate the soul.

A dusty haze sprays a veil over my vision.

Stop me from stopping.

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Typical Jaipur

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My Couch Surfing hosts

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Grandma

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Street shave – 50 cents

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Monkey Temple (flooded with primates)

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Outside Shiv Temple

Leaps of faith into an ancient pool (The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel was shot here)

Original paintings

Amber Palace