This is the 13th excerpt from the book Wings and Wanderlust. I discovered the art of drifting back in the 70s. I was lucky to escape New York City, a spiritual desert that left me empty. I embarked on an adventure of a lifetime that I called eastwind, hitchhiking 25,000 kilometers for 3 years, drifting through 18 countries in Europe and North Africa.It was a mind-boggling heart-rending storm-chasing experience that changed me dramatically, every fiber of my soul. It was a violent hurricane and gentle breeze all at once.
Drifting is addictive. I have met people who have been on the road for 20 years. I did only 36 months and it was so filling and intense, I needed to stop. For me, drifting was only a ‘process’, a spiritual phase, a preparation for a vocation or a career, a key to self-discovery. But there were a few rare ‘extremists’, the ‘hard core’, the ‘professional drifters’ who made it a way of life.
The art of drifting and self-discovery is based on things which are many times against everything we learned in school. The Brain Matrix below explains. The right brain is the poet in you. The left brain is the engineer in you.Click photo to blow up.
Cover of the book Wings and Wanderlust, with critiques from Ateneo philosophy students.
Order the book – email firstname.lastname@example.org. when you enter the dark forest good and bad things lurk to make and break your soul take the chance, you will not regret it darkness and light will encompass you make the Lord your beacon gather strength in His grace and everything will fall into place THE BRAIN MATRIX
|right brain||left brain|
|frame overall spiritual imagination conscience philosophical random role creativity intuitive play piano by ear compose pictures, vision, ideas inspiration whole final goal synthesize strategy integrate discern fluid holistic monolithic surrealism abstract improvised spontaneous unpredictable risk estimated qualitative controller architect pianist poet no rules freedom||flesh detail spatial memory knowledge technical sequential tasks accuracy logical schooled piano read notes words, grammar, vocabulary perspiration parts steps analyze tactic break up compute rigid one at a time granular realism concrete programmed studied predictable assurance precise quantitative accountant engineer carpenter mathematician rules discipline|
But there must be balance, like Yin and Yang, like light and darkness. You cannot survive the whirlwind if you are totally right-brained. Complete abandon to the whirlwind is not practical. There are limits to ‘un-planning’.
The right brain mysteriously senses danger but when it is there, the left brain must plan a course of action to avoid that danger. Left and right brains complement each other. We know the meaning of darkness only because we know the meaning of light and darkness is the absence of light. Light and darkness are bound together and is manifested in the lights and shadows on a face. We do not see anything if it is white on white or black on black. We see everything if it is white on black or black on white.to be idle is not evil you must be empty so you can be filled nothingness complements fullness they are cosmic partners like yin and yang like light and darkness yielding shadows and figures when no thoughts enter your mind that is the time you discern your being you become aware of your fullness be the undisturbed water in a pool as smooth as a mirror that you may see yourself clearly Finally, wings and self-discovery are a form of education beyond one’s wildest dream. I compare it to a doctorate but only much more. A doctorate degree can be an arm chair affair, vicarious, book-bound. Its wisdom is theoretical and of the mind. Drifting is sensual. Its wisdom is experiential and of the heart. I can still smell the fried fish in Tetouan, Morocco. I can hear the distant peal of sheep bells in the Portuguese countryside near Fatima. I can still feel the sting of fine grain of Sahara sand on my face.
Scattered excerptsFellow drifters from Mauritius at Pisa, Italy. Note the author’s eastwind sweater.
*************** all is darkness, all is silence suddenly, a nova blinds the eyes thunder rapes the ears all is darkness, all is silence once again My general plan was to head south for winter where it was warmer. I was on a general direction towards southern Spain, that was all. Nothing specific. My right brain was functioning. That was good. But my left brain kept bobbing up. It was a product of my programmer’s time frame, quick, short and with no orientation to linger, overly conscious of efficiency. I was still a greenhorn as an adventurer. Order was pullng me down. I needed chaos. As soon as I saw a place, I moved.
Drifting does not hurry. It lingers so one can absorb people and places more deeply. Drifting is precisely defying the regularity of nine to five schedule and programmed city life. Tourists who have no time have to hurry and cover a lot of ground in a short time. Time frame is a product of lifestyle. But you can change your time frame by changing your lifestyle.********** I was starting to avoid the big cities because they posed more effort to get in, seek complex tourist information, then get out. It was more complex, more maps and streets to study, more for the left brain. The people in the cities were also more busy and colder. The thing was to simplify. The countryside and villages of Europe were more edible to me. The people were also more warm and had more time to talk. Quiet, no hustle and bustle, the Old World in its rural splendour was nice, more for the right brain. ************** From Faro, I headed for Vila Franca de Xira to see the bulls. They gave me a good tip. This time, I had to make it on a specific date. It was a time to be prompt. I couldn’t miss it. My left brain took over. I made sure I made it on time even though I was hitching. I arrived at Xira after noon, just in time for the bulls. In the evening, the right brain was in charge. All the houses offered grilled sardinas frescas and agua pe (cheap red wine ) to passers-by. I was drunk with joy. Alone, I slept in the woods, thanking the Lord for the gift of serendipity. the woods are lovely dark and deep but I have promises to keep and miles to go before I sleep eastwind writes – the woods are lovely dark and deep and i have promises to skip and on the roadside until dawn i sleep **************** The best medicine for loneliness or boredom on the road was the road itself, I was starting to learn. Pain and loneliness vanished instantly when the excitement of the road emerged, when I looked towards the horizon. This would happen many times, Madrid, Canary Islands, Zurich. Whenever I felt lonely, I ran away from it by achieving the speed of light. Motion was the best friend of the drifter. That was the advantage of wings. You can run anytime and to anywhere. You can run away from pain, at least for now, not forever. **************** I lived in a seashore cave for a month in Lanzarote, Canary Islands. No electricity. I gathered a ton of discarded candle drips from the garbage, re-melted it in 25 sardine cans. At night, one could see my cave glow from the outside. Every other night, I invited 8 other backpackers living in tents and other caves to my ‘party’. I served gofio, crude hot chocolate. My cave was the biggest and the brightest and the center of the Universe.
*************hitchhiking requires both left and right brains left brain for the physical right brain for the spiritual miss one and you miss the other it’s all or nothing
By the time I reached Barcelona from Andorra, I was completely transformed from my New York self. I was ready for the world, ready for Spain which colonized my country for three hundred years. Now, I was bold and daring. I was beginning to realize the importance of not planning and of walking aimlessly as the best form of drift. My nascent right brain was swelling and constricting my programmer’s left brain.************* Getting lost in crowded cities became a habit… Athens, Rotterdam, Copenhagen. Once you got the hang of it, it was great, a powerful tool to absorb new places and new people. I drifted aimlessly, not knowing where to go but having the gut feel where to go. Discovering new places this way was better than a planned cerebral organized map-based or book-based tour. You have no expectations. You are not looking for a place a book mentions. Your left brain is recedes. Your right brain swells. You are thus surprised at seeing things. Later on, after another six months, I would expand unplanned city travel to unplanned country travel. I would hitch without knowing where to go. The essence of drift is the right brain. And I discovered that – better than discovering magical places is discovering magical people. for the new adventurer danger is its own end for danger is a deeply moving experience but danger is a double-edged sword one blade is the razor’s edge of excitement the other blade is the razor’s edge of disaster one has to make a choice whether to take the tight-rope walk whether to take the one giant leap into the abyss leading to nowhere and everywhere ************** The economics of drifting is your left brain functioning. No money no honey. It is a good complement to your right brain which takes care of beautiful sunsets, exhilarating roller coaster rides and the magic of the road. *********** 20 long years after eastwind, I wrote from sheer memory the book Wings and Wanderlust (The Art of Discovering Your Inner Self). It took me two weeks of frenzied ‘stream of consciousness’ to finish the book, sleeping an average of 2 hours every night. I feared that if I stopped, I would lose momentum. It took me one year to refine and edit it. The book is a mix of adventure anecdotes mixed with philosophical verses.
ORDER THE BOOK – email email@example.com
READ OTHER eastwind MEMOIRS –12 – EASTWIND VERSES http://www.sisterraquel.com/2015/02/eastwind-verse 11 – HITCHHIKING WITH A GUITAR http://www.sisterraquel.com/2014/12/hitchhiking 09 – THE COLORFUL FILIPINO SEAMEN Piraeus, Greece http://www.sisterraquel.com/2014/06/the-colorful-filipino-seamen 08 – FILIPINOS AS GLOBAL MUSICIANS Leidseplein, Amsterdam http://www.sisterraquel.com/2014/08/filipino-as 07 – A SWEDISH DAMSEL CALLED OLGA Canary Islands, North Africa http://www.sisterraquel.com/2014/04/eastwind-memoirs-07 06 – THE 25,000-KM 3-YEAR TREK eastwind overview http://www.sisterraquel.com/2013/11/eastwind-memoirs-06 05 – JACK DANIELS AND THE CANADIAN BELLES Algarve, Portugal http://www.sisterraquel.com/2013/10/eastwind-memoirs-05 04 – THE BEDOUIN GIRL Tetouan, Morocco http://www.sisterraquel.com/2013/10/eastwind-memoirs-04 03 – PILGRIMAGE TO FATIMA the 7-day 80-km hike, Portugal http://www.sisterraquel.com/2013/10/eastwind-memoirs-03 02 – BRAWL IN A PORTUGUESE BAR Vila Franca de Santo Antonio, Portugal http://www.sisterraquel.com/2013/10/eastwind-memoirs-02 01 – TWO FILIPINOS IN ATHENS Greece http://www.sisterraquel.com/2013/10/eastwind-memoirs-01 *************************** 5 MEDITATION POSTERS
Click photos to blow up