May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view. May your rivers flow without end, meandering through pastoral valleys tinkling with bells, past temples and castles and poets’ towers into a dark primeval forest where tigers belch and monkey’s howl, through miasmal and mysterious swamps and down into a desert of red rock, blue mesas, domes and pinnacles and grottos of endless stone, and down again into a deep vast ancient unknown chasm where bars of sunlight blaze on profiled cliffs, where deer walk across the white sand beaches where storms come and go as lightening clangs upon the high crags, where something strange and more beautiful and more full of wonder than your deepest dreams waits for you---beyond that next turning of the canyon walls. ---Edward Abbey (thanks Trudy Hall)

Thursday, January 3, 2013

The Whole Nut: Thoughts of this Year

Wadi Rum--Southern Jordan
Over the Year.... (the last blog of this trip)

Les in Russia

Collecting mare's milk in Mongolia
(Please scroll down a little and look for dates and arrows on the right margin.  You can click on the arrows (little triangles) and view any part of this trip that you would like.  Each entry has a video, photos and some thoughts on that location.)

Finland Ramparts
The Fjords North of Bergen
After each country we visited, Les and I drew pictures of the images we remember from our experiences into a journal that some friends gave us before we left on our long trip.  Here are my drawings and some words to wrap up the trip.  Also, I made a video-- a collection of things I saw dancing (everything dances) and put it together with music from the "sister" of Deus Cosmos, whom we "couch surfed" with in Tanzania.  Flora Mbasha's music reflects the joy and passion that travel gives me.  Please see it at

A slightly longer version with a little blue fox sliding along our travel path can be found on YouTube:   

Cubist Houses in Rotterdam
 I am so, so thankful for this opportunity to see the world.  here's to more people experiencing the hospitality of mankind and the rest of the beings and spirits of places in the world:

Bruges Belgium Fairyland Architecture
Last entry of the sabbatical blog:
I’ve been back a month and want to reflect on the trip in general... (keep scrolling...)
How can we resist the iconic Louve shot in Paris France?

Gaudi Cathedral in Barcelona, Spain
Dreamy Lugano Where Friends Moved To Teach
View Below From The Farm in Sabbionara, Italy
While I: miss the sounds of foreign accents (though I AM in Arkansas while I write), appreciate running water and electricity, miss trying to figure out how the locals eat and manage their days, appreciate the familiar nostalgic sense of summer that I’ve missed for many years, miss having only a backpack and a bank account to take care of, appreciate the time and EWS house (black mold) to sort out things I’ve discovered about myself and the world,
miss the daily opportunity to assume the best in people and trust that the unknown in front of me will turn out well, and appreciate the opportunity to practice the same in my daily life at home.

Moroccan Market

Cypress Graffiti

Jerusalem Market Closing For Shabbat

As I graze through vast memories of the past year I am drawn more to questions than to conclusions.  In thinking of the many cultures I visited, I compare and contrast: What is trust?  What indicates that you are respectful of others?  What symbols indicate that you
Tanzanian Boys

Amman Jordan Prayer Downtown
respect yourself?  In what way is it important to care about strangers, if at all?  What personal items are absolutely essential and what do we share with visitors?  What does “good quality” mean?  Can we create these kinds of deepening/widening/introspective experiences for our students?
Also, I’ve learned that so many things are liquid: time, the cost of things, how to be present with another, the flow of a conversation expectations of reciprocity, what is generous and what is _____ (fill in the blank) enough.

Anna's Uncle's Wedding in Tanzania

South African Street Performers

Esephus Ruins in Turkey
Patagonian Mountains, Southern Chile

Dog Looking Out Agency Window :-)

Amazonians doing Laundry and Fishing

Mom Joins Us Visiting Her Friend In Panama

A Nicaraguan Co-op Coffee Farmer

The Lovely Mexican Family Who Adopted Us
Back In The USA For A Short Time

Jeong Rae Took Us In In South Korea

Indian Women Who Sold Saris

The Himalayas From Nepal

Beautiful Yang Shuo, Where We Taught English

The Baird Tartan in Scotland
We were In England Just After The Diamond Jubalee

The "Troubles" In Northern Ireland Are Slowly Waning

Back in the USA Dancing the Underscore (By Nancy Stark Smith): Contact Improvisation