Adventure Travel

Traveling off the beaten track… way off.

THUS

_MG_4713It’s Monday night. There’s no other place worth being than at 6 Assagao where compelling, invigorating talks and performances are held in the space of the closed restaurant, Gunpowder. The non-profit organisation that Nilankur Das has seeded, birthed and developed over the course of a year and a bit provides a space for activism talks not just of the goings on in India but from around the world. It’s a space where artists from the various fields of writing, painting and music can showcase their works. Where travellers who have set out on a journey of unconventional ways can share of their experiences.

Home-cooked Indian food is served alongside local drinks and the growing community arrives for a night of educational insight and values. Sometimes just a handful show up, sometimes there’s not enough space for everyone as was the case on Monday, the 4th of November.

A nameless collective had come together to present a 3-hour performance of what might be regarded as ‘experimental theatre’. Although, if you really dig deep, every piece of theatre is experimental. This group of 7 individuals had come together to project and inject something into the attendees psyche.

IMG_4825Bhisaji is all about movement and using his body to convey what his going through on the inside. As he entered the stage area fully clothed in white, he used a ladder, candles and his own body to press what his heart was beating to. As the evening gathered pace he stripped to black tights, going topless and finally, ending up in black briefs. Interacting with the crowd by holding a candle between him and the person whose soul he dove into. And he dived into each of the people that came within the first hour, at least 20 or so soul-dives were conducted, some lasting seconds, some lasting minutes.

IMG_4758All the while, Impana, a dancer and movement performer, expressed her emotions through traditional dance, movement and speech. Talking to the crowd, to herself, sitting by an audience member and just having a conversation with him while playing with string. For me, the peak sizzle of the evening came when she and Bhisaji began to mirror each other’s movements. It’s hard to take your eyes off people who mirror each other.

_MG_4897In the background, Dhiraj cuddled and wrapped himself in a 10-metre white cloth, contrasting it with his black outfit. He remained wrapped, hidden and still for most of the 3-hours. This isn’t lazy performing. It conveys a powerful message. That silence is power, like the silent protestors in Turkey or a Vipassana course. With silence we gain insight, our vision clears and we see things for what they really are without the distraction of noise.

_MG_4913Behind the scenes, although not hidden as they provide an on-stage presence that adds to the power of the piece, Supriya and Rohit controlled the live projection of visual mappings played on pieces of hung cloth or on the actors bodies as they performed. The visuals seemed to represent confusion and calm at the same time. Supriya also physically played with Impana and Bhisaji, wrapping herself in the cloth with Dhiraj.

_MG_4711Conducting the soundscape were two young men, Divesh and Akshay. Both talented musicians in their own right they played with electronica and ancient instruments such as the digeridoo and mouth harp, drums, bells, horns and sea shells, all brought together harmoniously to create sounds that in itself, took you on a frequency journey. At a later stage of the performance, Divesh began to draw on the easel standing by him.

IMG_4777The entire set was without lights bar the lights of candles lit during the performance by the players. The overhead rainbow canopy as though representing the colours of the human emotions. And even when the power went out, as it tends to do in Goa and indeed, the whole of Asia, without skipping a beat, the players synched up and used the cut power to their advantage until it returned. It was sewn together so perfectly you’d think it was all part of the act.

When I spoke to the performers I was astonished to learn that they had only gotten together just a few weeks prior, with just a handful of rehearsals, just flowing with what comes. As Akshay had put it, “We challenge ourselves creatively.”

_MG_4969And what they conveyed indeed seemed challenging yet it was presented seamlessly. The kind of performance that no two opinions could ever be the same. Everyone who attended had a different experience in the semi-circle stage they surrounded. A slightly different degree in the point-of-view from sitting on the floor almost as part of the stage, sitting around on the benches or standing behind the seats. Each perspective did its purpose of doing just that; a different perspective on a 3-hour performance that will never be the same when they do it again.

To find out more about Monday Nights at 6 Assagao and Thus. check out the following link:

https://www.facebook.com/thus.critique/

There’s always something new to learn on Monday nights in Goa.

Categories: Adventure Travel, Asia, India | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

ANNOUNCEMENT: STAM BA YAM

IMG_20190406_125226Since last I wrote and three of you read, I’ve dealt with that sudden slap-to-the-face of reality.

I tried parking in Israel with family and friends to write the book but the ongoing conflict and occupation wasn’t the peace and quiet needed for reflection.

Mentally: past traumas rose from their suppressed hiding corners of Brain’s memory.

Emotionally: the partner at the time had really pushed me into a mirror and had much needed self-work.

Physically: Spine did not enjoy carrying 30 kilos for three years.

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Flinders St Station, Melbourne

After a year in India, the relationship with the ex blew up like the Middle East (honesty was not her best policy) and I returned at the beginning of 2018 to where it all began – Melbourne, Australia. I reunited with family and friends and searched a way to adhere to a moneyless lifestyle while avoiding ‘The System’.

I house-sat for an amazing family living in India who had a summer home in the small coastal town of Airey’s Inlet in winter – my first in five years. 14 layers, a beard, a pair of UGG boots, a tattoo, hot-water bottle (there’s a reason why it’s called a summer home) and six months later, I emerged from the pad of isolation and self-reflection with a thousand-page manuscript, having been introduced to Men’s work and self-healing via emailing back and forth with a therapist in Israel.

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The Bedouin Dancehall Beat

I purchased a van – The Bedouin Dancehall Beat – lived in it around Lorne during summer. Surfed, worked in property maintenance with a legend of a man who let me camp on his farm where kangaroos would rouse me to rise with the sun. Gigged Lorne’s Christmas party with one-off band – This One Time – and tried my mouth at some stand-up comedy. Tried dating apps and ended up collecting material for said stand-up bit (‘Netflix and chill’ means sex? Who knew).

Love did find its way into my broken heart and began to heal it. Rony is raw, pure honesty, intelligent and one of the funniest people I’ve ever met. Now we head off on a huge joint-adventure: a long temporary return to Israel including working and living throughout the entire summer, leading up to another election bout in September.

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David Ben Gurion

We’ll be staying with her amazing parents in the small town of Ganei Tikva, about 7 K’s south of Tel Aviv. I’ll be teaching local kids on summer camps how to surf and respect the water and teach tourists how to drown in the evenings to a beautiful sunset.

We’ll be exploring – with Animal – around the Holy Land as much as we can, playing music, doing comedy and reporting to the three of you that still read these Nomadic Diaries with pictures, videos and weekly 500-word articles (seems I get carried away with my writing). And even an Instagram page (oi vey).

IMG_20190406_125738Unconventionally flying on June 16th from Melbourne with three days in Zurich, Switzerland, to break the jet-lag, we land in Tel Aviv on June 20th and begin the new adventures under the title of Stam Ba Yam, in Hebrew meaning, Just by the sea.

In the words of the great Jake the Dog and Finn the Human: “It’s Adventure Time!”

Categories: Adventure Travel, the Middle East | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

C for CONSUMPTION

images3I grew up in the 80s and 90s, when things were built to last. Up until the year 2000, my family had a working TV since 1986. My uncle got rid of his still working 40-year-old set well into the noughties because of the forced conversion to digital.

These days, everything is made to last for no more than an average of two years – weather pending – forcing you to consume more, thus creating more rubbish and throwing out more plastic and electronica that ends up in our waterways and eventually the oceans where its now started to kill whatever endangered animal will mistake it for food.

imagesIt’s a tragic comedy that we, as a species, have allowed ourselves to drown in such a poisonous atmosphere caused by Consumerism. Our being told we NEED THINGS. NEED GREED. NEED WEALTH. NEED POWER. Our acceptance that the processed foods we eat, that we all know is unhealthy, is the food we eat.

I’m now a gluten-free member of society. Yet, to yet healthy, I have to pay more than those that are still unaware of what they’re putting in their bodies. The constant poisoning of every habitat on this planet, the fracking, the overfishing, the over-drilling, , the overpopulating. It’s a vicious cycle that has escalated in the last few decades with advertising and marketing companies force-feeding us with the NEED and the WANT to have things that we don’t really need or want.

indexIf you haven’t noticed, our home, Earth, suffers from the C word – Consumerism. It’s the planet’s cancer that holds us by the balls and ovaries. And now with Christmas coming up, the mother of all consumer holidays, the amount of unnecessary things we receive just to throw out after a day – and almost all made with or of plastic – is equal to the amount of stars in our galaxy.images2

OK, maybe I’m exaggerating but if you haven’t yet noticed, our planet is sick and running a high fever. The cancer is forever spreading due to over consumption. You know when you eat too much and feel horribly bloated and gassy? Like you need to be rolled to bed? This is how our home, Earth, feels and has been feeling since the 70s. We’ve been systematically destroying everything we actually NEED and WANT for survival – trees, eco-designed habitats, organic foods and clean waterways – and consuming things we really can do without. In the last 100 years, humans have killed of 60% of wildlife.

Can you fathom that? Can you let that fact sit for a moment?

images1If we just stopped reading those magazines that sell us the ‘Perfect’ idea of what one should look like, what one should drive, what one should wear and what one should live in and how much one should make in order to afford all of the above, we might actually get something done that would help cure the sickness of this planet.

This Christmas, while you sit around feasting and gorging and ripping open gift wrappings and throwing away all the boxing and packaging which is almost all made of plastic, pause for a moment. Give thought to the fact that it will end up in the ocean. While you cuddle by the fire and decorate a tree with more plastic, hold space for the people of Syria and what they’re going through. For the people of Dafur, of South Sudan, Chad, CAR, Mali, Iraq, Afghanistan, Iran, Palestinians, Rohingas. Indigenous peoples everywhere. Give a thought to all those who are in a dark place yet find a way to smile with nothing more than the shirt on their back.images

Imagine if we didn’t consume any gifts this year, instead donate what we truly don’t need to those that truly need it (clothes, toys, you know the jazz) as a gift. The actual meaning of Christmas – to give to those without.

Go out and clean up your neighbourhood, the forest behind your home, the ocean where you surf and swim. Instead of populating the Earth with more people, have one kid and adopt another one or two. There’s so many orphaned children out there who could really use a family – a good family, to spend the festive season. And, you know, life.

imagesChristmas has long lost its message of Family and Togetherness and Being One. It’s become about consumption on an unprecedented level from food to alcohol to things. And what really makes my reindeer pout is the fact that we only give ourselves one day of the year to possess this ‘Christmas Spirit’ which, if you think about, is actually just about being human without the bullshit of a monetary system. We’ve given it a title and put this ‘Christmas Spirit’ on such a high pedestal, the angels are wondering where they went wrong.

imageIf the ‘Christmas Spirit’ is about being compassionate and kind-hearted and helpful when someone asks, isn’t that just about being human? And here we are, accepting that it’s fine to reduce this natural state-of-mind we’ve all been told and ordered to keep to a minimum to just one day a year, let out like a guard dog that needs its legs stretched.

That’s supposed to make up for the other 364 days when we’re battling each other for that monetary bonus? For that promotion? For that better grade?

images2Imagine if every day you projected and attracted in return that ‘Christmas Spirit’ – that humanity. Imagine if all the negativity in our lives were turned around by just changing a word and the attitude that goes with it. Humans are the only species to carry negativity. Instead of falling in love, rise in it. Instead of being a hopeless romantic, be a hopeful one. Instead of looking grumpy or unapproachable, smile – it’s contagious, in a great way.

We’ve accepted that our lives must be in competition with each other. From day one of birth we’re told to compete: through academia, sports, work, religion and even within the family against siblings and cousins. Imagine if instead of fighting against each other we worked together so that everybody gets to rise up and evolve themselves and see the world for what it really is: Beautiful in spirit, beautiful in nature and beautiful in its species. It’s ironic that the very virus that is killing our home, Earth – Human Beings – Is the only one that can save it. It’s a Catch 22 until we can reprogram ourselves to just Being Human.images

We, the people, have absolute power – together. Individually, we can’t do much because we’re always competing. But together? Look what happened at Standing Rock. That was all togetherness. That was all compassion and love and forgiveness.

That is Being Human.

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THE GOOD MEN PROJECT: SPECIAL SERIES

mouseA very important lesson learned through a mouse. An Aseop Fable. Read more on The Good Men Project

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THE GOOD MEN PROJECT: SPECIAL SERIES

img_2083The Great Pyramids of Giza. Need I say more? I don’t, but if you know me, then you know I can’t shut up. Luckily, I can write so you can read my thoughts. So read them here on The Good Men Project

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THE GOOD MEN PROJECT: SPECIAL SERIES

images Here’s the list of everything over three years of non-stop travel. Whew. Thanks for republishing on The Good Men Project.

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THE GOOD MEN PROJECT: SPECIAL SERIES

img_2036When someone volunteers to show you their city, there’s huge compassion in it. Huge trust and respect. And that’s without ever meeting before hand. Hadeel is an amazing ‘uman from Planet Cairo. Can’t wait to catch up again! Until then, I’ll read about our adventures in Cairo on The Good Men Project. Won’t you?

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THE GOOD MEN PROJECT: SPECIAL SERIES

img_2027If you’ve never been to Cairo, well, put on a space suit, cause this city is its own planet. Read more on The Good Men Project

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THE GOOD MEN PROJECT: SPECIAL SERIES

img_1955Realising the Sahara might not be the best location to hitch hike, I began to barter for bus tickets to me next destination. Jolly Cafe were the first to answer positively. Read more on The Good Men Project

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THE GOOD MEN PROJECT: SPECIAL SERIES

img_1969A resort town, a Red Sea, a mosque and a palm tree. Read more on The Good Men Project

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