Sunday, February 6, 2011

New Ways to Travel in the New Age

                     What's the first thing that comes to your mind when you see this picture?


Or this one......


                                      (I really would honestly like your opinions as a comment)

     Despite looking like a default Windows XP background, this is real life, or at least, it's an image of a particular moment of a place and time in our physical realm. When I used to see pictures of surreal, exotic, magical, beautiful, (insert your favorite adjective) far away places, I could never feel an emotional connection to them. They were too distant for me. I could/would never see, feel, taste, touch, breathe or make it to any place like the images I've seen on TV or in photos in travel magazines so I would often brush them off as a non-existent (to my existence, anyway) but tempting tug on my imagination. That's where these people and places dwelt, only in my imaginary and normally image-necessary world.

        My conception of what the world outside of my parcel of Earth I happen to dwell in has been drastically changed in the last couple of years. Through a series of journeys I've taken, I've honestly emerged as a new human being. My conception on "what's on the outside" of South Metairie has grown- and it's all because I decided to make the imaginary and image-necessary world I lived in become a sensory- necessary world.

             I happen to be a person who, whether I like to admit it or not, has a deep attachment to this physical reality. What happened to me is simply this- I left the comfort of my home for a little while. For various personal reasons, I packed my bags one day and started heading out west. I ended up in Reno, Nevada and stayed at my friend Corey's house.

     I'd like to, at this time, tell you what the above pictures mean to me. It represents the personality of my existence, my soul if you are so inclined to call it. All kinds of emotions, memories, and thoughts come to the forefront whenever I look at this picture. I'm literally transported from this physical existence back to this place. The first two pictures were taken on the Black Rock Desert in Nevada by one of my best friends, Darin.

     Corey, Darin and me woke up at about 2 in the morning and we drove from Reno to see this sunrise. The landscape is so vast and empty- it's unreal. It's also circled by a ring of gorgeous rust red brown mountains. The "playa" (Spanish- beach) itself was actually once an ancient lake bed for many Plethiasauri (the aquatic dinosaurs that look like Bronchisaurus) and as such the surface of this place is actually a hard crusty alkali mineral bed. We left our monuments to capitalism, sedentary living and "civilization" behind us, if only momentarily, to make it to this forbidding landscape of dust storms and extreme heat. We had made it to the anti-thesis of modern civilization.

     Watching the sky open up to me like that was something I'll never forget. To see all the colors that change within a half an hour sunrise on the playa is to truly "paint with all the colors of the wind". The sky changed from pitch black, to dark purple-blue to dark red to orange to orange-yellow as the sun crept up from behind the mountains like a cat stalking it's prey. I'm convinced the sun was looking directly at us three that morning.

      We packed lightly- fireworks, a handgun and some bullets (those Nevadans do love their gun rights), a soccer ball, a few lawn chairs, and an acoustic guitar.You might be inclined to ask what can one "do" out there. What fun and recreation can be had in a literal nothing? I'm about to tell you.

      We shot that fucking gun. That's for sure. We certainly didn't have to worry about destroying personal property or lives out there. We just had fun- shooting the dirt, listening to the echoes of the gunshots ring out like an old Western, feeling the power of the little kick it had.

We also shot off those fireworks and watched them light up the night sky as well as the rising sun sky. We walked off as far as we could from each other until all we could see were little ants of ourselves. We took pictures of each other and the environment. We played music and we talked - something our species should do a whole lot more of. We drove that car as fast as we can in a free-range of 40 + mi of pure desert, doing donuts and other peeling out along the way.

      The emotions that well up the most to me when I make my way back to the playa are these: freedom, friendship, unity, curiosity, happiness, inner-peace, self-exploration, meditation, imagination, creativity, self-expression, and courage all tinged with a little loneliness.

This new blog I've started to write will essentially be about travel. Not just physical travel- we all don't get that luxury- I'm well aware of that, but I don't think we are as "stuck" as we tend to think we are. There are new ways of traveling in these post-modern times- and we all need to make the journey.

I hope to catalogue in the best way I can new means of transportation that are available to any individual if one is so inclined. I want to mark the trails I've taken in my life to make me who I am today for you to either follow, divert from, go the other way or make anew because I truly believe they can only lead to good things.

     We must push ourselves in new directions at all the time. We can't be complacent with mediocrity. We must challenge ourselves, our minds, and others. We must not be afraid to try new things, go to new places, or change ourselves.

     This is going to be THE post-modern travel agency- I'll be your agent. We specialize in planning trips to enlightenment, engagement, and experience. Book with us. You won't regret it.




  1. I wish the pic was bigger but it's definitely dope. Great composition of you and the sun. It's balanced, but nothing is predictably smacked dead in the middle.

    I like it how you are just playing guitar/ukalele on top of the ground, with cracks in it, in front of the sunrise. It's Mark Paternostro, at peace with nature. Nature that is as untouched as possible by the vices of capitalism.

  2. These pictures are so fucking awesome! When I see them I think, cool. and I also feel a sense of quietness and peacefulness but i also feel excitement at the same time!

  3. The first thing that comes to my mind when I see that first picture is "Where's the water?" But I read on and found that it evaporated, so much for a trip to a traditional beach (playa); but it's pretty cool.

  4. We need to take a road trip together before its too late. The photos are a nice addition to the explaining your experience. I felt like they really put me in the desert.
    We've been friends for a good number of years now, and as you describe your emotions, I really did get a sense of the developing mood.
    I immediately thought of Dr. Gonz when reading this especially because it was in Nevada. But you added your own flavor and style to it which was more naturalistic.

  5. thanks for the kind words, austin

    and im totally down for a road trip sometime, but we've got to go somewhere neither of us have been (a few examples that come to mind... the black hills in south dakota, make it to yosemite and the redwood trees then go up the pacific coast, grand canyon (which i have no idea why i didn't stop by when i got the chance road trippin' solo), or if we're really bold let's make it to patagonia (in argentina)

    but in all seriousness... in a the near (a year or two, more than likely) future we (and whoever else is serious) should plan out a badass engaging road trip so we can have these kind of experiences to share