Dec 17, 2012

'Loz in Transit' on the radio: Talking 'Waking Life' and existentialism

<< crossposted on the 'Let's Get Real podcast' blog

I had the pleasure of being on community radio to discuss the Richard Linklater film 'Waking Life'. I was given the opportunity to curate the song playlist and touch on themes covered on this blog (travel, reality).

Find the radio chat here:
Bernie Burke radio interviews (WOW FM 100.7)
- Download the file directly here, Music & Movie Madness: Dec 11, 2012 (51m 13s, no music)

PODCAST: 'Music & Movie Madness' WOW FM 100.7


VIDEO: 'Waking Life' (2001) trailer

Posts referenced in the radio interview
- Home Reading: 'Myth of Sisyphus' by Albert Camus - On the Writer, Actor and Traveler
- 'A Memento Year' exhibition
- Let's Get Real - Episode 5 preview: Black Holes
- Road Music: Friends, Laura and Monica

Dec 7, 2012

Home Reading: 'Myth of Sisyphus' by Albert Camus - On the Writer, Actor and Traveler

<< crossposted on the 'Let's Get Real podcast' blog
'The Myth of Sisyphus' by Albert Camus
For as long as I can remember I've always been curious about other people's lives and being a fly on the wall. Its where my passion for documentaries, DVD commentaries and podcasts stem from. Its also what I've found most fascinating about travel, the dynamic experience and exchange of stories which I've explored through Couchsurfing and 'Ego-Tripping'.

Though I have a good friend who is a big proponent of French philosopher Albert Camus, I've only recently become familiar with his work. A passage on Drama in his book 'Myth of Sisyphus' sheds some light on the root of my fascination.
Myth of Sisyphus
Hence the actor has chosen multiple fame, the fame that is hallowed and tested. From the fact the everything is to die some day he draws the best conclusion, An actor succeeds or does not succeed. A writer has some hope even if he is not appreciated. He assumes that his works will bear witness to what he was...

What more revelatory epitome can be imagined than those marvellous lives, those exceptional and total destinies unfolding for a few hours within a stage set? Off the stage, Sigismundo ceases to count. Two hours later he is seen dining out. Then it is, perhaps, that life is a dream... By thus sweeping over centuries and minds, by miming man as he can be and as he is, the actor has much in common with that other absurd individual, the traveller...

To what the degree the actor benefits from the characters is hard to say. But that is not the important thing. It is merely a matter of knowing how far he identifies himself with those irreplaceable lives. It often happens that he carries them with him, that they somewhat overflow the time and place in which they were born. They accompany the actor, who cannot very readily separate himself from what he has been... He abundantly illustrates every month or everyday that so suggestive truth that there is no frontier between what a man wants to be and what he is. Always concerned with better representing, he demonstrates to what a degree appearing creates being. For that is his art- to simulate absolutely, to project himself as deeply as possible into lives that are not his own. At the end of his effort his vocation becomes clear: to apply himself wholeheartedly to being nothing or to being several. The narrower the limits allotted him for creating his character the more necessary his talent. He will die in three hours under the mask he has assumed to-day. That is called losing oneself to find oneself.
'The Hero with a Thousand Faces' - Joseph Campbell
- Ego Tripping: (A vacation from yourself)
- Louis Theroux, Couchsurfing and Holland
- Other people's stories - Tales of: Adventure
- Trigger: Ego Tripping in Portugal - Sintra, Obidos, Ericeria, Coimbra
- Trigger: Egotripping II - England, on the road again

Update: I appeared on Community Radio discussing 'Myth of Sisyphus'

Nov 14, 2012

Loz in Transit update: Lets get Real podcast

Let's get Real podcast: Listen to the episodes
Its been a while since I've updated this site, its largely because my focus has shifted to the podcast. I've had conversations about life, loves and reality with travelers and other people embarking on journeys. The guests range from friends, acquaintances and fellow CouchSurfers. The project is directly inspired by introspective comedy podcasts like 'WTF' with Marc Maron and 'You Made it Weird' with Pete Holmes.

- AV Club's Nathan Rabin talks about Podcast Culture on Marc Maron's 300th episode of WTF
- A question answered with a quote: Comedy Podcasts
- Comedian Pete Holmes on adjacent experiences: Conversations relating to Travel, dreams and life

Oct 9, 2012

Being a kid again: Cave Clanning in La Perouse, Sydney

When you travel you see the world through the eyes of a child
Cave clanning
Welcome to Imaginationland...
For me the best part about traveling is Novelty. Its exhilarating being in a foreign environment where everything feels new. Its like being a kid again, having that sense of discovery and play. As we grow and get accustomed to routine we become weary of the world. We recapture our child-like wonder when we travel and take on new pursuits but ultimately what it takes is a shift in thinking. The marvels of nature and the awesomeness of people has always been there, we just had to seek it or see things through fresh eyes.

La Perouse
The view from Henry Head
I recently did some Urbex (Urban Exploration) with CouchSurfers around La Perouse & Henry Head Bunkers. Though I've urban camped and explored abandoned spaces before, I would consider this my first full Urbex experience. We explored the disused military sites scatted around the nature walk that skirt the NSW Golf course. I had punk rock friends who were part of the Cave Clanning community years ago but had never gotten around to joining them. My friend later told me the space we visited was used for the annual Cave Clan awards night.

Urbex
Find more photos from 미쉘sam's Flickr page
Urbex

The experience was heightened because it was shared with 3 fellow noobs, save for the Smartphone GPS most of the exploration was trial and error. One of our cohorts had never even heard of Urbex but was intrigued enough to give it a shot. Through her time teaching in Japan she had grown to appreciate nature with her sidetrips around the Country, as we got to know each other we realised we knew the same person. She was penpals with my cousin who also teaches in Japan, I joked that our mind's eyes might have been referencing the same Facebook photos of his. Another small world moment of synchronicity.
Its worth noting that my two other partners were involved in Gaming and Quantum physics, the twin subjects of my current project. "We're all connected maaaaan".

The best part of the outing was the imagination we injected into the experience. It was like a quest, we each got to display our specific attributes of height, balance and flexibility to progress. We pretended people in the distance were our future selves and that the island was inhabited by dinosaurs. The most thrilling episode was when the helicopter of the neighboring hangar took flight, it felt like we were at Area 51. Interestingly the chopper never blasted away, instead it circled the grounds with its menacing spotlight. We hid like fugitives baffled as to what its intentions were.
Close Encounters...
The night was capped off with beers at the Maroubra beach Rock pool. It was a fun day recapturing the play of childhood. Comedians Pete Holmes and Zach Cregger discuss being childlike and how we should give ourselves permission to play more:

VIDEO: You Made it Weird with Pete Holmes - Zach Cregger on being a kid again

You Made it Weird with Pete Holmes #76 - Zach Cregger on being a kid again
ZACH CREGGER: (1h 04m) I am spending all day mobbed with children and its the best. I forgot how effortless... it is insane. Everything is fun for them, they're not jaded at all. Its crazy. I can't believe I used to be like that!
PETE HOLMES: We all were like that. I just talked to Duncan Trussell about this on his podcast, kids have an open heart...
Find previous Pete Holmes podcast references below:
Pete Holmes collection: Adjacent experiences
- Zach Cregger: Being a kid again and the power of "play"
- Matt Besser: Travel coincidences and Counting the serendipities
- Duncan Trussell: Traveling, living the dream and remembering it
- Kyle Kinane: Being excited everyday
- The Sklar Brothers: Performing, possibly failing - That's living the dream
- A question answered with a quote: Comedy Podcasts

Have you ever done Urbex? When was the last time you captured that child-like wonder?

Sep 15, 2012

Introducing the latest 'Loz in Transit' project - Letsgetrealpod.com

I'm proud to unveil my latest project, the 'Let's get Real' podcast.
Its the third enterprise under the Loz in Transit banner. Whilst 'Loz in Translation' covered travel and '30 Home Games' delved into sports, 'Let Get Real' will tackle reality.

The blog will be incorporating a Video Game metaphor largely for stylistic purposes. I was bigger into games growing up but stopped playing heavily many years ago. It still forms my understanding of the world and I had brushes with Gaming on my year abroad. I spent my birthday in Shoreditch, London retrogaming at Nintendisco and attended a Chip Music Festival in Edinburgh. The podcast will lightheartedly deal with big subjects like life and consciousness, the pop culture and VideoGame references serve to help digest things easier.

I'm often thinking existentially and have a round about way of talking. I see into things and view the world in metaphors. My travel blog was less about Tourist photos and Destination tips and more grappling with the awe and transformation that comes with adventure. My Basketball blog was less about highlights and player news and dealt more with the Sporting spirit and hero narratives.

Find examples here:
Loz in Translation (travel)
- Traveling, living the dream and remembering it: The nostalgia for Wonderland and Muscle memory
- Other people's stories: Tales of: Living in the moment

'Let's Get Real' is just my way of distilling my overthinking and assorted inspiration into one home without having to tether it to Travel or Basketball. Readers will know I'm a big fan of podcasts, I'll be drawing particular inspiration from comedians Marc Maron, Pete Holmes and Duncan Trussell.

I enjoy being social and have always used conversation to find my place in the world. This is best illustrated by the quote collection I amassed from the interactions I had around Europe. 'Let's Get Real' is essentially a podcast version of those interactions.

"Press Why?". Secret of Mana (1993)
Find the collection of quotables here:
- A question answered with a quote: German + Italian edition
- A question answered with a quote: Spain edition
- A question answered with a quote: Portugal edition
- A question answered with a quote: Holland Edition
- A question answered with a quote: UK Edition
- A question answered with a quote: Lithuania Edition
- A question answered with a quote: Latvia + Estonia edition
- A question answered with a quote: England edition
- A question answered with a quote: Germany Revisited edition
- A question answered with a quote: Turkey edition

Let's get Real. Let's talk about:
The choices we face and what it is we chase
The skin we're in and the suits we wear
The roads we take and the home we return to
Find the new site at www.letsgetrealpod.com
Tell your friends.

Sep 12, 2012

Memento Spotlight: UFC and WWE autographs in England

A Memento Year exhibition: My bed, tickets and posters
Over Christmas I presented an exhibition at the Art Gallery I was sleeping at. I presented all that I could, the artifacts and memories I'd accumulated over the year. Essentially the contents of my Backpack. These spotlights will showcase those mementos and detail the stories behind them.

Find previous spotlights here:
- A Memento Year Exhibition
- Memento Spotlight: Conversation doodles from Firenze, Italy
- Memento Spotlight: UFC and WWE autographs in England

Day 279 - 287: Birmingham + Nottingham, England
One of the best things about being in transit is that you're light on the ground. When you're in motion and not burdened by routine you can act on a whim and decide to go places at the drop of a hat. Its what brought me to Birmingham and Nottingham at such short notice.

Aug 25, 2012

Sintra, Portugal: "O mundo gira" - The second chances we get in life and travel

I spent a weekend in Sintra at the start of my time in Lisboa, Portugal. Its a popular day trip destination featuring Castles, Palaces and greenery. My time was quite solitary, Sintra's lone hostel had only one other guest whom I met the morning she was leaving. She was a free spirit New Yorker, a mature lady passionate about Contact improv. In our brief time spent she introduced me to some new concepts that I would unexpectedly later explore. She mentioned dating a Freegan 20 years her junior and how she befriended someone on the streets of Lisboa who took her to an Underground Restaurant.

I was drawn to her zest for life, her curiosity and compulsiveness. As I was accompanying her to the train station she spotted an attractive silver-haired guy in a ponytail, she brought it to my attention several minutes later and convinced herself to approach him. I happily accompanied her as we detoured searching for him to no avail.

I admire people who act on their whims, trusting the feeling and going on instinct. Its like being a kid again, oblivious to risk and the notion of making a fool of yourself. The moment is the opportunity. Whilst I'm drawn to this idea, I also realise there are times when its best not to force the issue. Having faith that the universe will return your boomerang.

A Brazilian in Venezia gave me my first Portugese expression - "O mundo gira" (The world spins). He explained that life has its cycles, we unwittingly repeat journeys or mistakes our parents made before us. How sometimes things come back and second chances are possible. A German in Tartu offered an interesting take on that principle in regard to relationships - "I believe you meet everyone twice but you don't always know it". Its a hopeful way of looking at the world and its possibilities and speaks to a connectedness. I've talked previously about my moments of synchronicity so I've tasted the feeling but I'm keenly aware how easily its forgotten.

Walking around Sintra I spotted this facade for an abandoned building on the outskirts of the town centre. I fantasized about exploring it but wasn't as compelled to without a Partner-in-Climb.
"How the hell could you front on me"
I befriended an American Vagabond at my new hostel upon my return to Lisboa. We would later roadtrip North for a week with another running mate. The American had been Urban Camping and though I had found creative ways to save on accommodation I'd yet to spent a full night outside.

Our first stop outside of Lisboa was a return trip to Sintra. After our first outdoor dinner we began scouting for sleeping locations. Our first spot was in public parklands, we decided against it due to the likelihood of being disturbed by a ranger. Our second find involved scaling a wall and some thick bush. We cased the garden and found it sufficient though we were spooked by the discovery of belongings and the decaying passport of a German woman, the likely victim of a pickpocket. We set up camp and called it a night.

The following morning we began exploring our "backyard". Obscured by darkness, the sight was nothing like I had imagined. We were in the garden of a spectacular abandoned mansion, I felt assured we were alone. It was an intriguing space but I didn't venture too much as the ground looked shaky.

Scouting base camp from the wall

Aug 21, 2012

AV Club's Nathan Rabin talks about Podcast Culture on Marc Maron's 300th episode of WTF

<< crossposted on the 'Let's Get Real podcast' blog

Comedians Marc Maron & Pete Holmes 
I've spoken before about my appreciation for comedians Marc Maron and Pete Holmes as well as my love of Podcasts. I've referenced and excerpted their stories to supplement my travel stories and my own personal journeys.

Inspired by these artists, I'll be starting my own podcast. It will explore similar existential themes found on this blog, talking about the journeys we take and the connections we make. Its a work in progress at this stage so stay tuned.

Marc Maron recently aired the 300th episode of his celebrated 'WTF podcast'. To mark the occasion he spoke to several people to find out what impact his show has had for its audience, his peers and the wider culture.

Maron phones AV Club's Head Writer Nathan Rabin to discuss the show's impact culturally:
Marc Maron's WTF - Episode 300
MARC MARON: (18m 40s) I felt that my voice was valid and that whatever I'd done in my life to get me onto a mic was what I'd bring to it. And its very odd because I don't think how I talk or how I engage is necessarily unusual but as I do it more I realise that there is some sort of craving for organic or frank conversation. That's always been how I've talked to people and that might speak to why I don't have a lot of close friends. Its draining in a way.

NATHAN RABIN: I think part of it is you listen to a talk show, especially a television talk show. People sort of engaging in socially mandated charades, the host is pretending to be interested and the guest can get 8 minutes of television, the guests can promote their product.

You never get that sense with WTF. You never get the sense that you're interested in somebody as an entertainer or as somebody with something to move. You get the sense that you're interested in humanity and you're interested in the shared humanity. You're interested in where you overlap. You're interested in where you clash. You're interested in how you can see the world from antithetical places yet share this thing that everybody shares which is being human
Maron speaks to another of my current rolemodels, Pete Holmes. The two of them are inward-looking but genuinely curious people, Pete unashamedly admits his 'You Made it Weird' podcast is a direct ripoff of WTF. Holmes is one of the leading lights in the new generation of Alt comics, he discusses what WTF has meant for Maron's comedy and podcast successors.
MARC MARON: (1h 15m 08s) You and I need to talk to people to get a sense of who we are. We crave that moment... I always relied on other people to feed - looking for these answers that are gonna make my life easier or better... I'm a pretty selfish and self involved guy and through the course of the podcast from the feedback I get and the struggles I go through and how people relate to it... I'm amazed that whatever I've been accused of which is selfishness - that my struggle with being me in the world is helping people

PETE HOLMES: It's a type of alchemy... we both turned selfishness, a little inwardness, a little navel gazing into something that's actually helping people...
I can definitely relate to their sentiment about relating to the world through conversing with others. I'm the same way.

Find previous Marc Maron podcast references here:
- Adam Carolla - On being sedentary
- Doug Stanhope - On happiness
- Norm MacDonald - On being in the moment

Find previous Pete Holmes podcast references below:
Pete Holmes collection: Adjacent experiences
- Matt Besser: Travel coincidences and Counting the serendipities
- Duncan Trussell: Traveling, living the dream and remembering it
- Kyle Kinane: Being excited everyday
- The Sklar Brothers: Performing, possibly failing - That's living the dream
- A question answered with a quote: Comedy Podcasts

What podcasts do you listen to? Any Marc Maron or Pete Holmes fans

Aug 19, 2012

Home Reading: 'Out-of-body Experience' (Astral Travel) and 'What a Coincidence!' (Synchronicity)

<< crossposted on the 'Let's Get Real podcast' blog

I can't recall how my fascination with "consciousness" began. I've always been intrigued by reality, more specifically 'hyperreality'. It has its roots in my love for wrestling and exposure to it in movies. I was formally educated on it in my Design Studies classes in University which was around the time seminal movies like Fight Club and The Matrix were being released.

My year abroad definitely awakened and accessed parts of my consciousness. A powerful sense of Déjà vu struck me at a particular sight on the Main Square in Riga, Latvia so much so that I was compelled to text my Couchsurfing host of it. I read books on mastering memory when I was in Den Haag. I've had my reality shaken by scammers in Istanbul. I've referenced Dreams and Synchronicity in previous posts as well.

Below are two books I've read recently on these themes, I've highlighted passages which resonated with my recent line of thinking:
'What a Coincidence' by Susan M. Watkins 
Ch 5. Random Thoughts, Media Feedback
Thus the vocabulary of your interest determines the symbols used by your inner senses, exactly the way dreams operate. Within the safety of that framework, chosen and adapted by you, coincidence will often seem to cycle around bits and pieces that suggest themes you should be paying attention to...

Again, this is exactly what your dreams are up to, or rather what you are up to in your dreams, even when you don't remember them consciously. In that way, coincidences are the awake world extensions of the dream state...

Or maybe just learning to acknowledge coincidence is enough to maintain a link to the inner, natural workings of consciousness. Maybe coincidences are always there, muttering in the background, forming the internet of our days, a media hullabaloo of their own. And when you do notice them, even peripherally, your intuitions spring to attention and force you to ask questions about your reality: What's going on here? What is it I have access to? Something? Nothing? Everything? And once you've asked these questions, you can never quite go back to thinking of your position in the world as meaningless or mechanical.
My fascination with Astral Travel only recently came about through the compelling conversations I heard between Comedians Duncan Trussell and Pete Holmes. As someone who places a premium on living in the moment and being "present", I later realised it was odd that I'd be fascinated by leaving one's body and going to far off places.
The Out-of-Body Experience by Anthony Peake 
Ch 10. The Physics
Recent suggestions by Professor Stephen Hawking and an associate, Thomas Hertog of CERN, make this an even more fascinating proposition. They have presented a complex mathematical model proposing something that they term the 'observer created universe'. They argue that all these universes do not branch off and exist in isolation, but they exist simultaneously in a state of 'superposition' You will recall that this is the state a particle is in before it is 'observed'. It exists in a superposition of all possible locations where it may statistically be found when the probability wave collapses.

Let us step back and take account  of exactly what one of the world's leading physicists is suggesting - you are creating your own universe as you go along, and so is every other consciousness. And this goes for all the other people you interact with in a lifetime. We are all existing in our own personal computer game in which each decision brings about a different version of reality, but (and this is very important to grasp) the potential outcome of each decision exists whether or not you choose it.
- Find other books in the Home Reading and Road Reading collection here
- Read my previous post on Synchronicity here, Travel coincidences and Counting the serendipities
- Find posts on Consciousness on the 'Lets Get Real' podcast blog

Where do you stand on Astral Travel and Synchronicity?

Aug 4, 2012

Camp Geres, near the border of Portugal and Spain

I spent my month in Porto, Portugal with warmhearted Brasilian Erasmus students. I had been invited to stay after connecting with a few of them in Valencia months previous. I hadn't intended to stay for as long as I did but my wallet was pickpocketed during my transit to their Train stop at Casa De Musica. I was met with nothing but love and generosity and was instantly welcomed into their Familia Feliz (happy family).

An excursion to Camp Geres, Portugal's only natural park was organised by Bruno 3 weeks into my stay. We lovingly referred to him as "Macgyver" for his resourcefulness. That said as most of the crew were from Brazil's south (Rio Grande do Sul) they were no stranger to the outdoors.

From Porto its a roughly 2hr train ride to Braga which is as far North as it goes, then a scenic 1hr Bus ride to the Parque. There is an Information Centre onsite but our Macgyver had printed of his own terrain maps so we were in capable hands. His steady orienteering guided us to some breathtaking views and spectacular waterfalls and assured us when we went off course.

We cooked beans for dinner, went down some hairy inclines, danced under waterfalls and sang in the rain. On the final day we made the 15km hike to the Fronteira of Spain, on the border of Galicia. The pouring rain made us cut our excursion short from 4 days to 3, we met a tripped out Portugese Gandalf who lived in the park which capped off our memorable time.





Jul 20, 2012

Transcript: Travelers depression and feeling the pain

Me and JP in Adelaide that one time
Facebook has been a great way to reconnect with people you may have only had a fleeting interaction with. I've have had several conversations lately concerning what constitutes a friend. I'm very liberal with the definition, I try to have meaningful and genuine interactions (hopefully enjoyable too) with everyone I meet. I've always liked the line "A stranger is just a friend you haven't met yet", it speaks to a curiosity and openness that appeals to me.
JP was one of my awesome hostel running mates in Adelaide during my YesMan year of 2010. We had an impromptu FB chat reflecting on what it's been like returning to normal life. Felt it was worth sharing:

LOZ: how's normal life // 2yrs of freedom right. or more?
JP: honestly, boring as fuck lol // yeah about 12 days short of 2 years when got back
LOZ: 2 more years than most boring lives
JP: very true
LOZ: boring  //  how do you make it interesting? u around travelers still?
JP: done a year at uni and all the while just been planning more travelling a few, but it was a long process to get back to normal, only now about there went through a bad bit of "travellers depression"
JP: yeah 

Jul 11, 2012

Lomography in Köln, Germany

Lomo photos featured in my 'Memento Year' exhibition
Are you looking for something new to try? Interested in spicing up your sightseeing? Why not give Lomography a shot.

Lomography is lo-fi photography based out of Austria supported by a community of enthusiasts around the world. I found LOMO posters around the art district in Porto and shopfronts in Germany. 

I signed up for an introductory lesson from the LOMO store by Ehrenstraße then created a Couchsurfing event inviting people to join. I encouraged my current and previous CS host as well as a German friend I'd unexpectedly reconnected with to take the workshop and walking tour. It was a novel way of seeing the city, spend time with friends whilst making new ones along the way.

Chillin at Die Wohngemeinschaft (Share House) Bar
Afterwards we enjoyed gourmet burgers at Hans im Glück and cool drinks at Die Wohngemeinschaft. We were invited to a CSer's loft for a modern German Christmas experience. We baked customised apples, internet-streamed Christmas songs and sampled the imported winning Christmas cake from our host's Bavarian hometown. One of the many memorable days I had in Cologne, Germany.

This was the camera loaned to me for the LOMO tour.
Not a high end one but more than makes up for it in Style points.





Jul 1, 2012

Guest posting on 'Nomadic Samuel' - The many faces of the South of Spain, Andalucia

Rockabilly in Sevilla -  Subcultures in the South of Spain
Thank you 'Nomadic Samuel' for hosting my Guest post on your brilliant blog. The post features pictures that capture the different cultural faces found in Andalucia. Samuel has a popular blog that incredibly just celebrated its 1st birthday. He also recently launched a new venture 'Backpacking Travel Blog' with fellow blogger and girlfriend Audrey of 'That Backpacker'.

NomadicSamuel.com - Andalucia in Spain
Find more Spain photo posts here:
- Spotted: Photos from Sevilla and Córdoba - The first 48.
- Me and my Girlfriend: Riding high in Andalucia (1 of 3)
- The kids are alright: Subculture in the South of Spain
- Camera games: The Corner collection in Spain

Read more posts on Spain below:
- Mixtape: 'Loz in Translation' Sampler (Spain)
- On Top of: Lloret Del Mar - No Spain, No Gain
- On Top of: Puerta Monaita - Hang Granada

Find my other Guest Posts:
- Nod n Smile: Things that make you go hmm in Portugal
- The Facial: Finding Basketball around Europe
- Couple of Sports: How I won personalised sneakers in Lisbon, Portugal
- Nomadic Samuel: The many faces of the South of Spain, Andalucia

Memento Spotlight: Conversation doodles from Firenze, Italy

A Memento Year Exhibition - 'Anatomy of a Conversation'
Over Christmas in Hamburg I had the pleasure of presenting an exhibition at the Art Gallery I was sleeping at. I had met a German artist earlier that year in Venice, he extended an invitation for me to crash at his Artist commune and put on a show. I took him up on the offer 10 months later and presented all I could, the artifacts and memories I'd accumulated on my trip. These spotlights will showcase those mementos and detail the stories behind them.

Detail scan - 19/02/2011
Day 22: Firenze, Italy
I only stayed 2 days in Florence, Italy. It was early into my year abroad and I was still developing my style of travel. At this stage I was traveling quickly and hadn't yet decided on staying a month in each Country. I had also organised some hostel work for my return to Venezia the following week for Carnevale so I was on a tight schedule.

Jun 21, 2012

Guest posting on 'Couple of Sports' - How I won personalised sneakers in Lisbon, Portugal

<< crossposted on the '30 Home Games' blog
My Portugal Tribute corner and the kicks I scored
Thank you Jackie and Mark, the sports mad pair from 'Couple of Sports' for hosting my Guest post on their awesome blog. The post details how I managed to win personalised sneakers on my 3rd day in Portugal. The young husband and wife team are living the enviable dream of chasing Sports across America for the year. With the help of Kickstarter they've pimped up an RV, gained a supportive following and have made news with their ambitious caper

Understandably this is quite the inspiration for me. I will be needing their sage advice for my own mission to visit the 30 Home Cities of the NBA. Thanks guys, may your journey live out like a Sports fairy tale. Hope to catch up with you when I'm stateside.

CoupleofSports.com - Pied Piper in Portugal
Find other Portugal related sports stories:
- Trigger: Day 114 - An NBA day in Portugal
The Greatest blog ever sold: Please pimp, promote, like and sponsor this blog!
- Tudo Bom: The first 3 days in Portugal (2 of 3)

Read other sports stories below:
- Limerence: Snowboarding, Skating, Surfing, Christmas and Love
- All 'Sports' related posts

Find my other Guest Posts:
- Nod n Smile: Things that make you go hmm in Portugal
- The Facial: Finding Basketball around Europe
- Couple of Sports: How I won personalised sneakers in Lisbon, Portugal
- Nomadic Samuel: The many faces of the South of Spain, Andalucia

Jun 15, 2012

Comedian Pete Holmes on adjacent experiences: Conversations relating to Travel, dreams and life

"We all have stories like that. We all have feelings adjacent to that story.
We're all doing the same thing. The more I let out, the more I realise that I'm not alone..."
- Pete Holmes in conversation with Kenya Barris. YMIW #54: (1hr 43m) 

When people say "everyone should travel", I think they really mean "people should experience many things", further still "everyone should collect as many feelings". The reason people enjoy books and movies is that it allows them to experience other people's narratives, to identify with someone outside of themselves. That's what travels offers. Whilst we may never truly understand what its like to be on your first international Rock tour or live as a vagabond.We can experience feelings adjacent to it.

Ego tripping in Portugal, having a parallel experience
Comedian Pete Holmes has a very introspective personality which I identify with. I also find him hilarious and profound. The podcast format allows artists to share intimate details and find their true voice not unlike what's offered over dinner or on a blog. Below are posts featuring podcast excerpts of Pete Holmes ruminating on life, I relate it to my own experience and travels.

- Pete Holmes' official website
- Check out Pete Holmes' podcast: You Made it Weird with Pete Holmes

Zach Cregger: Being a kid again - Cave Clanning in La Perouse, Sydney

Jun 13, 2012

Coolspotting in Sydney: Comedy, Art, Festivals and Galleries

On my travels I made note of cultural events and spots that took my fancy. It was fun finding things that reflected my interests in distant lands, discovering them connected me closer to the people and allowed me to envisage what it might be like if I had grown up in this other playground. Since returning Home to beautiful Sydney I've endeavoured to maintain my traveler/YesMan spirit, staying active and exploring as much as possible.

In the four months since my return I've been to several Festivals and Opening nights, revisiting my former haunts in Comedy and Art. Several of these I attended with my CouchSurfing running mates. Below are a selection of photos from 'Markolf Zimmer', my artist friend from Germany. We share a similar curiosity of people and thirst for knowledge, I urge you to follow his blog.

The following are links to awesome Cultural Events in Sydney, in brackets are the shows I checked out.

Festivals
Vivid Sydney (Karen O's Pyscho Opera)
- The Finders Keepers: Art Markets
Sydney Writers' Festival (Chaser's Empty Vessel)
- Sydney Film Festival (Moonrise Kingdom)
- Sydney Comedy Festival (Daniel Kitson: Where once was Wonder)

Comedy
- Full Body Contact No Love Tennis @The Roxbury (Improv)
- Project 52 @Hermann's Bar (Alt Room)
- 'Mic in Hand' @Friend in Hand (Stand Up)
- The Comedy Lounge @Cafe Lounge (Stand Up)

Photos
"I was there" via Markolf Zimmer's Blog

'Hyper Reality Dimension XX' @aMBUSH Gallery, Waterloo   
'Make great together' @aMBUSH Gallery, Waterloo
Abandoned Warehouse @Green Square
Vivid Sydney - Festival of Light, Music & Ideas @Circular Quay
'Project 5' Sydney Streetart Festival @The Rocks
The Kids are Alright
- Coolspotting in Frankfurt and Barcelona
- Coolspotting: Subculture in the South of Spain
- Coolspotting in Netherlands
- Coolspotting in Netherlands Pt II
- Coolspotting: Nerding out in England - Comics, CosPlay, Video Games and Wrestling
- Coolspotting in Berlin
- Coolspotting in Istanbul
- Coolspotting in Sydney

What do you enjoy about Sydney? Were you at any of these events?

Jun 5, 2012

Travel coincidences and Counting the serendipities: ft Comedians Pete Holmes, Matt Besser and Daniel Kitson

“Hell is a place where nothing connects with nothing.”
- T.S. Elliot
A post listing the serendipities of my EuroTrip has been on the backburner for a while now. After discussing this subject with my Latvian host she conceded that explaining synchronicities is not unlike describing dreams, whilst potentially being the most interesting thing in the world its almost always tedious.

Even when we're told that someone dreamt about us there is only a momentary curiosity and novelty. Unless we're a part of the experience we don't fully grasp the gravity of it. Frustratingly the more we try to validate, demistify or examine the dream the quicker the feeling fades. The same goes for coincidences.

My Latvian host did mention one thing that was encouraging, "Déjà vu is assuring because its letting you know that you're on the right path".

I recall the first time something momentously serendipitous happened to me, my friend offered "Its all chaos dude". I began to adopt this view as I realised the value isn't in the mathematical improbability but in the meaning we assign to the event. I recently enjoyed comedian Daniel Kitson's new show 'Where Once was Wonder', its premise was that life is comprised of moments that are "impossible until they become inevitable". The real magic is in what we create that justifies the experience.

VIDEO: Matt Besser Pete Holmes on "Connecting like things"
'You Made it Weird' with Pete Holmes: Episode 39 - Matt Besser
MATT BESSER: (1h 34m 20s) I watched the show 'Touch' with Kiefer Sutherland. I kinda dig that its very Improvy. Yeah the whole concept of numbers and strings
PETE HOLMES: Why does that show 'Touch' resonate? Its such a simple idea

BESSER: Because things connect. Its funny to connect like things. Connecting like things going back to what I was saying earlier - You have a set up, you draw an analogy or a metaphor and go to that. That's the same thing with connecting things, you're going "See this thing way over here and this thing they have this in common and sometimes that produces a laugh pointing that out. Or its at the very least interesting

HOLMES: What I feel 'Touch' did is that they took 'Lost'. The idea of lost and meaning and everything being meaningful. They just took it off the island and put it in the real world. What if everything that happened meant something. That's what we want, that's what we yearn for...
At the risk of instant tedium let's count the serendipities of my EuroTrip:
Note: Brackets indicate distance from first encounter
  • Met a Lithuanian in my hostel room in London. Told him I was going there for EuroBasket. Bumped into him on the street 2 months later in the Capital of Vilnius. We never hung out (2.5hr flight)
  • Was having dinner with newly made friends in Panevėžys, Lithuania. 2 ladies joined us as there was no room to watch Lietuva play against Poland. No luck getting details but bumped into this charming person again in Vilnius 2 weeks later. We hung out (1.5hr busride).
  • Bumped into a friend in his hometown of Düsseldorf. He was part of a crew of Germans I regularly visited at their hostel in my hometown of Sydney the year leading up to my EuroTrip. As I was walking around with my CS host, he walked past us. We hung a few times including that night, the two of them have since become good friends (21.5hr flight)
  • Reconnecting with my German buddy at a Lomography tour in Köln
  • Met a polish girl in Malaga who was vacationing from Sevilla with her mother. Upon returning to Sevilla, while bike riding from an underground Flamenco show I jumped off my bike to walk past pedestrians in my path. Someone grabbed my arm, it was her. We never hung out. (2.5hr busride)
  • My Latvian CouchSurfing host had been mentioning she was hosting a Slovakian and Estonian after me. I was Couchsurfing on my next destination alongside the Slovakian and Estonian it took me several hours to connect the two. I Ego-Tripped with the Slovakian afterwards (2hr Busride)
  • Our CouchSurfing host invites friends over. Ventspils, Latvia.
    The Slovakian and Estonian are pictured behind.
  • I bumped into a comedian I know from Sydney walking the alleys of Lisboa. He informed me that there had been an exodus of Sydney Comedians migrating to Europe, equipped with this information I sought them out at the Edinburgh Fringe. (20.5hr flight)
  • Was getting a haircut in an open kitchen by a busstop in a small town in Portugal. Worried we'd be ejected we were eventually sprung by someone we knew, the receptionist of the hostel I stayed at prior to the roadtrip. She was taking guests out on a fieldtrip. They joined our merry band. (1.5hr bus ride)
  • After the shock encounter, we roadtripped until we got pulled over.
    Thankfully we escaped a fine for our unsafe capacity (7 in a cargo van)
    The original 3 and the 4 people we collected which included the receptionist
The main reason I took this post off the backburner is my recent reunion with a running mate from the 2000 Sydney Olympics. A chance encounter at a birthday party of a now-mutual friend brought us together, interestingly I didn't recognise him at first. We sold programs together and for the longest time I'd considered that fortnight the highlight of my life. 12 years later we inexplicably found each other. Chaos!
That was then. My running mate at the Sydney 2000 Olympics.
Find previous Pete Holmes podcast references below:
Pete Holmes collection: Adjacent experiences
- Zach Cregger: Being a kid again and the power of "play"
- Matt Besser: Travel coincidences and Counting the serendipities
- Duncan Trussell: Traveling, living the dream and remembering it
- Kyle Kinane: Being excited everyday
- The Sklar Brothers: Performing, possibly failing - That's living the dream
- A question answered with a quote: Comedy Podcasts

Have you ever felt Synchronicity? Is it all chaos or does it mean something?