Alan Watts on Adventure (Outside Magazine Video)

•November 7, 2014 • Leave a Comment

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Click on the photo above (or link here) to check out Outside Magazine’s beautiful new short on life as adventure – words from the great Alan Watts.

If you awaken from this illusion and you understand that black implies white, self implies other, life implies death (or shall I say death implies life?), you can feel yourself – not as a stranger in the world, not as something here on probation, not as something that has arrived here by fluke – but you can begin to feel your own existence as absolutely fundamental.

I am not trying to sell you on this idea in the sense of converting you to it, I want you to play with it. I want you to think of its possibilities, I am not trying to prove it. I am just putting it forward as a possibility of life to think about. So then, let’s suppose that you were able every night to dream any dream you wanted to dream, and that you could for example have the power within one night to dream 75 years of time, or any length of time you wanted to have.

And you would, naturally, as you began on this adventure of dreams, you would fulfill all your wishes. You would have every kind of pleasure during your sleep. And after several nights of 75 years of total pleasure each you would say “Well that was pretty great”. But now let’s have a surprise, let’s have a dream which isn’t under control, where something is gonna happen to me that I don’t know what it’s gonna be.

And you would dig that and would come out of that and you would say “Wow that was a close shave, wasn’t it?”. Then you would get more and more adventurous and you would make further- and further-out gambles what you would dream. And finally, you would dream where you are now. You would dream the dream of living the life that you are actually living today.

That would be within the infinite multiplicity of choices you would have – of playing that you weren’t god, because the whole nature of the godhead, according to this idea, is to play that he is not. So in this idea then, everybody is fundamentally the ultimate reality, not god in a politically kingly sense, but god in the sense of being the self, the deep-down basic whatever there is. And you are all that, only you are pretending you are not.

-Alan Watts

Summit at Mt. Merbabu

•August 18, 2014 • Leave a Comment

Here is a time lapse from our campsite at Puncak (Summit) #3 atop Mt. Merbabu in Central Java, Indonesia.  Full info on the hike available at Gunung Bagging.

Camping at Monk’s Lake in Kirirom National Park

•August 5, 2014 • Leave a Comment

Assorted shots from my two-day mountain biking and camping in Kirirom National Park a few months ago.  Started cycling at Discovery Farms (approx. 8km from bottom of mountain road) and endured the grueling 30km climb up to Monk’s Lake near the summit.  Camped alongside the lake and woke up early to follow the Kirirom Backdoor Trail down to Route 4.  Hitched a ride back to Phnom Penh on a passing delivery truck for 20,000 riel.

The Kirirom Backdoor Trail remains largely intact, except for a portion near the third to last river/stream crossing where the trail is completely overgrown and I had to drag my bike across a precarious-looking fallen tree (see 0:43 in the video).  Happy to send along GPS coordinates and trail info to anyone interested.  Remains one of my favorite camping spots and trails in Cambodia.

Finding the Courage to End Well

•July 31, 2014 • Leave a Comment

As a former staff member and board member, I am admittedly biased when I say that I am continually impressed by the poise, transparency and focus of the PEPY Cambodia team.  In their effort to better serve the needs of the local community, they’ve had to make tough decisions to wrap up formerly-core programs at the local junior high school and pivot to a new, more impactful intervention with high school graduates.

The team has been mindful in engaging all stakeholders throughout the difficult process, including the wider development community.  This stakeholder is often neglected, since NGOs rarely tend to publicly admit hardships and failures out of fear of losing donor funding or government approval/endorsement.  PEPY’s commitment to sharing lessons learned and best practices, as well as transparency with all stakeholders (PEPY employees, government partners, beneficiaries, community members) throughout the process, should be commended.  How else will the sector become more effective?

You can read the full PEPY blog about the program transition here.

Selamat Datang

•July 15, 2014 • Leave a Comment

Arrived in Jakarta on Thursday.  Very happy to be here after a year of Bahasa classes, planning and packing.

Here is a photo of the morning commute around Tugu Tani (Farmer Monument), which is right in front of our new home.

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On Earning a Sunset

•June 14, 2014 • Leave a Comment

The best part of undertaking a morning 40 k climb?  A secluded lake at the end of the trail and plenty of daylight, perfect for a lazy afternoon of setting up camp.

Mountain biking and camping in Kirirom National Park Cambodia

View of the lake from my hennessy hammock

Weekend in Hibernation

•April 15, 2014 • Leave a Comment

Following my New Year’s Resolution to plan nature excursions at least once a month (if not twice), I booked Rock Spring Cabin in Shenandoah National Park this past weekend,  I was pleased to share this time off-the-grid with a great group of friends, new and old.  I set my GoPro atop the roof of the cabin while we prepared a delicious dinner of campfire chili, cornbread and eggplant yum-yum, washed down with a bit of Wasmund’s Single Malt Whiskey from Sperryville.

 

Check out the sites below if you’d like to escape the DC metro area for a pleasant weekend in the woods:

Potomac Appalachian Trail Club (rents rustic cabins throughout VA, MA and PA to members and non-members)

Shenandoah National Park

Hiking Upward (trail maps)

 
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