Archive for the ‘Info and Logistics’ Category

While in Burma

While in Burma, we will likely not be accessing the What moves you? blog, but we look forward to sharing our experiences upon return to Thailand on the 15th of Feburary.

In the meantime, if you are interested in keeping up with current events and news about Burma, I can recommend visiting the Irrawaddy Online News Magazine.

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Having arrived in Bangkok on the morning of January 10, Sabrina and I(Ryan) prioritized sleeping and eating above all else. Well fed and well rested, we met up with Michele and Caleb when they arrived in Bangkok on the 14th.

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Sorry for the hiatus. I have added the photos from Varanasi to “River life and death,” and I promise much more to come about our adventures in the low Himalayas of Darjeeling, Sikkim and Kalimpong, where we spent 2 weeks.

I have also updated the map to show our route correctly. To get the complete picture, you will have to click “View larger map” at the bottom of that page and then scroll through the navigation pane on the left side of the Google page that opens.

Caleb and the Snow Lion

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    They speak of humanity.
    My humanity is in feeling we are all voices of the same poverty.
    They speak of homeland.
    My homeland is the rythym of a guitar, a few portraits, an old sword,
    the willow grove’s visible prayer as evening falls.
    Time is living me.
    More silent than my shadow, I pass through the loftily covetous multitude.
    They are indispensible, singular, worthy of tomorrow.
    My name is someone and anyone.
    I walk slowly, like one who comes from so far away
    he doesn’t expect to arrive.

    – Excerpt from “Boast of Quietness” by Jorge Luis Borges

This poem encapsulates many of the questions I bring to this travel. How do I experience humanity? What do I believe about belonging? What are the convictions held inside of me and how have they been cultivated? Why do I believe that the world is worthy of tomorrow, and what does that mean for how I ought to live in it?

The goal of this trip is to document my own radical learning. Isolated from many of the habits and objects that define my self-understanding, what is it like to watch my identity interface with the world in unscripted and nonstop dialogue? How do I react as I continuously encounter forces that are beyond my understanding? How do I deconstruct the artifacts of our (my) own prejudice?

My personal approach to this experience has been shaped by my two years spent mapping global learning at AAC&U, my undergraduate studies of political theory at Swarthmore College, my Buddhist upbringing in rural western Massachusetts, and the conversations that have brought me together with my closest friends.

As I take this journey, I will be careful to maintain a two-fold openness: I will pay attention to the dialogues of the places and peoples in the countries we visit, and I will also heed the impulses and prejudices that are the voices of my own preconstructed values that are not true, not false. How do I maximize an authentic relationship with the peoples and histories with which we will be coming in touch? This can only be learned through trial and error, and it will take as much courage and creativity as I can muster.

I will return to Borges for the kernel of my mission: How do I learn to walk slowly? How can I truly understand the distance from which I have come? How shall I live and act in this world without ever expecting to arrive?

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—From our ‘About’ page—

In a nutshell:

We are on a journey, traveling in India, Bangladesh, Burma, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Malaysia, and Indonesia.

Our journey is a learning experiment. The purpose of our journey is to learn about how to be in the world. The purpose of this blog is to document that learning experiment.

We expect this experiment to be unnerving. We are intentionally trying to bring about a state of disquiet and discomfort, because we believe such moments bear new insights. We believe the act of long-term travel, as a radical departure from the familiar and the routine, is an effective way to “wake up” and discover new ways of becoming more human. When you travel, it is impossible to be on auto-pilot. Travel, however, in no way is an escape from the mundane. Rather, we can discover new meaning as ordinary activities of everyday life (like riding the bus, washing clothes, and sharing a meal) are performed in completely unfamiliar places and spaces with entirely new challenges. Unguided travel is a forceful invitation to pay attention, which is exactly what we need if we want to learn.

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