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March 16, 2007

A moment to honor the travelers

Over the last five days of being sick in bed in a hostel in Lusaka (photo is Lesley with an OTC malaria test--I didn't have it, just an infection), I have gotten to know some incredible travelers. I often scowl at the removed from “real life” bubble at the backpackers hostels (and so I try to avoid them), but this week my joy and intrigue has come from a bunch of Americans, a Welsh guy and an Astonian woman at Chachacha Backpackers in Lusaka, Zambia.

So, I want to take a moment to highlight some interesting travelers.

Katrin, from Estonia, is one of those people who has some kind of magic or light that dances around her. When she found out that “someone had come to stay” with her (pregnant) she immediately got an impulse to pull out a map of the world. There was a small town in rural western Zambia that was calling her and she had to go before she gave birth. So here she is, four months into carrying a baby, visiting Zambia for a few weeks.

We spent the day together adventuring around town. It was such a delight for both of us because we operate and interact with people in the same way, and our day was filled with synchronistic moments and universal flow.

Turns out she is also transitioning to live in the forest (in Estonia) and wants a healthy beautiful eco-home of some sort… she was so excited to hear about the work of my natural building friends back home. She is now inspired to create a series of natural building workshops in Astonia to build her home.

Darren, from Wales, has spent the last 12 years living in all sorts of crazy places around the world, and is currently in Lusaka doing research about how youth find jobs. And guess who he works for? The World Bank. We’ve had some fun conversations, and I must say that as much as I want to just hate the WB for exploiting people, I also realize that the development world is quite layered and I can’t really judge it so simply… all of this just adds to the sense that “the more you know, the more you know what you don’t know.” Trying to understand “development” can certainly be overwhelming.

Jamie is the first west coast American that I’ve met, and his little bits of west coastness have been comforting. He is also on quite an adventure himself: biking through 80 countries over about 8 years and creating a music and people documentary of his tales. He rides a tandem and invites locals to ride along (and then he pays for a bus ticket home), and the he interviews them (complete with handlebar cameras) as they go. As he meets musicians he records them on super high quality equipment and leaves them with a CD that they can use for promotion. Pretty cool! Check out www.peacepedalers.org.

And last but not least, the two Bostonians who took care of me while I was sick in bed: Paul and Leslie. They are a sweet and fun couple who sold their condo and quit their jobs to become safari guides in South Africa. When the training program didn’t work out, they hopped on the road and are now wandering Africa looking for a game park to land in. I hope to visit them in a few months somewhere!

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