we all know…

…that I need to write. You know. Because there hasn’t been an update for months. I know, because my rote emails are starting to rhyme; my fingers itching so badly to tap dance, they are starting to jiggy in the most inappropriate of places (professional work emails). So don’t worry. I haven’t lost my rhythm or reason. I’m just. Well, hell. I’m PACKING AGAIN!

Where now? Back on the road, in the most literal sense. Specifically, a cycle tour. Of Hawaii. Navigating not only the big island, but also the topics of permaculture, green building and sustainable living. You want details? You can learn here:

making like a tree

a lot of sky

a lot of sky

I’m moving to a yurt for the weekend; where a lot of sky and silence will provide the slate for composition; where I’ll chose my colors from the crayon box of aspens; where I’ll study change underneath the mentorship of Fall. Wish my words luck, that they may fall on this page with an inch of that grace.

strange math

I’m in Boulder, Colorado.

I’ve been deferring that declaration; hesitant only because not even I know what that means.

There are certainly known variables – like that I’m broke, that I love my job and the people with whom I work, and that there is hardly a healthier place in the States for me than this sunny and snowy little town – that are easy enough to factor in and out of the equation. Less quantifiable, is the feeling that I’m on vacation; roaming around Disneyland, waiting in lines for rides with bags of goodies and big eyes; seeing (and enjoying) but not quite believing and having a sneaking feeling that while I’ve got my hands up in the air, Time is pick-pocketing me from behind. But since the last few months spanned years in memories, I guess I have some to spare and won’t fret over a little lost change.

And I am happy. I know. It’s crazy. And if I spin around in my head and catch the shadow running, I can see that I feel guilty for feeling happy here – which is plainly ridiculous (right?). Don’t worry. Half of my happiness is rooted in the fact that I AM on vacation. That’s another constant for the equation: even if my “path” treads occasionally through it, I still see no potential for a long term commitment to this continent. Actually, it’s exactly because I AM engaged to a lifelong pilgrimage that it’s so easy (now) for me to flirt with and court this country.

So I’m here. And, (turning around real fast; watching it flee)… happy. In my office, I’m surrounded by an inspiring community of people who share my travel history, living ethic, and personal mission statement. After work, I have salsa, break dancing, (new) art classes and I just signed up to volunteer with three different local community outreach programs. At home, I have a black lab who smothers me with kisses from feet to face every time I walk through the door and barks and moans in anticipation of the “w” word (which excites me equally). And only in Boulder do the clouds graciously dump six inches of snow and then quickly move along and make way for blue skies and sunshine to do that thing where they make the whole world glitter and glow.

I guess there’s always a chance I’m fooling myself. Maybe, at the core, I’m miserable and just wearing a faux coat of luxurious delusion. Or maybe I really have just turned a corner and found that the calm confidence of knowing I’m always on my way again to another side trumps my old need to have a fire chase me there. I’ve heard that accumulations of experience/years can do that kind of thing to a person.

France to Senegal to India to Colorado; I wonder if it’s the leapfrogging of extremes that’s leveling my experiences of reality all to the same shade of gray? I think I get it now, why the wise men all hang out in caves. It’s not indifference. It’s acceptance and it’s faith. It’s not that it doesn’t matter. It’s that it already makes sense. And it’s not about the numbers or even isolating the variables; it’s simply knowing the equation exists. And maybe that’s a clue to the mystery of how I always did so well in math, but never learned a single solid thing? If I’ve lost you, don’t worry; I think I’ve lost myself as well. But for what else are Sunday evenings other than long diddle-doddling rambles as the above?


Thank you for all the sweet letters and notes regarding Hanley; the shared soft words and stories all helped in letting the peace settle in.

*sol bows her “namaste” and gratitude to World Nomads Travel Insurance, ThinkHost and Merc for their ever-supporting roles in the realization of her dream.

emotional cartwheels

I’ve got the question, “But what ARE you doing right now?” doing cartwheels in my inbox so I’m going to step out of my meditations on moments passed and give a quick personal update.

Colorado is a state I had never been to before I stepped off the plane three months ago and found a house, work, friends and routine to intertwine these elements. In this way, this particular little plot of land and people hold adventures no different than those I’ve found along my pilgrimages through South American or Asian continents.

I spend a lot of time at work; my “job” is super challenging, but my daily task is getting hundreds of young Americans ready and hyped for truly authentic experiences in developing countries (from Bolivia to Senegal to Mongolia). I get people equipped for the experience that they will eventually sigh over and stammer, “it changed my life.” I assist the world’s richest 1% with becoming emotionally and physically prepared to bathe out of a bucket and live in a nomad tent with yak headers in rural Tibet. And do I think this plays a role in changing America? Yes I do. I would have a lot more respect for our petty little president if he at least had been a guest in the house of an Afghani family before mindlessly putting his machine to the task of destroying them. I do believe the key to realizing any peace in this lifetime will be the world’s realization that every “enemy,” stripped of distance, skin color and ignorance, is a sibling. It’s quite a task, but I put myself to it – one teenager at a time.

I walk to work everyday and usually I walk home too. I went to a writing conference all of last weekend. I take salsa-dancing classes every week. I registered for French classes last night and I’m in conversations with the local art school on when I can begin my drawing classes this spring. I detest the TV, but have spent a lot of hours this week at the feet one of my favorite teachers watching a 6-hour series on, “The Power of Myth,” by my favorite “JC” guru/prophet/missionary, Mr. Joseph Campbell. Also on my desk I have more texts on myth, symbolism, archetypes and image; all words that I consider keys to my, yet to be discovered, inner mystery. During my lunch hour I’m reading more Herman Hesse. Before bed I’m reading more Rumi. And Amazon has just sent me the pile of photography books I’ve ordered with the purpose of adding new corners to the creativity of the visions I capture and share via camera on this website. I have been adventuring at sunrise and set to shoot, but my new digital camera outputs quality and resolutions to which my computer blinks, “no memory,” with a blank text box. As is often the case, I need to delete in order to make room for the new. And as soon as I put the tired to rest, I will post some new pictures as well as some rough drafts of the podcast that I am brainstorming to begin posting on my next adventure across borders.

And, of course, yes, I will be adventuring cross-continents again soon. I have three quotes right now in my inbox for ATW (Around The World) tickets; another walking pilgrimage (across Southern France this time, and yes, that’s what the French classes are for) and a more stationary stint in South India are priorities 2 and 1 (in that order) on the itinerary. I won’t be leaving till the end of summer, but that is but a bat of Time’s eyelashes. In the meantime, I’m feeling fully charged and challenged, which is all I ask of life on a daily basis. Despite the illnesses around me, I have not been sick since I’ve been here and I’m back to needing only 6 hours of sleep, which are both signs that my body and mind are subconsciously feeling very healthy and happy.

It snows in Boulder all the time. And I’ve never seen anything so beautiful as the white blanket being knitted in the sky, at the hands of the snow gods, right before my eyes. The next day the sky is clear and blue and it’s 70 degrees. The next day it snows again. This is Boulder. And the rapid evolution of weather emotions and experiences matches my character perfectly.

It snowed like this yesterday. On my walk home from work I pulled on every branch of every tree I passed to watch the white confetti spring into the air and fall like magic (always tends to do) on my path. At a street signal, one particularly large nest of snow on a tree didn’t spring so much as it did dump…on my head. And me, and the man in his car stopped at the red light, silently laughed out loud together.

*sol bows her “namaste” and gratitude to World Nomads Travel Insurance, ThinkHost and MercuryFrog for their ever-supporting roles in the realization of her dream.

the indiscriminate rainbow

A cell phone, utility bill, student loan statement, tax identification number, savings account, physical address, work desk, mailbox and business card; it’s amazing how many things can suddenly come under ones name in a single week living in the States. Acquired alongside nouns that the US ethic prides itself on — efficiency, ownership and responsibility — I, by association, pay respect to these new major life themes (for the time being).

I could call this phase of my life “temporary” but that would be a silly and redundant estimation of time, for if there is any one thing that I have come to finally and fully understand in this life, it’s that that’s exactly what every experience is: passing, momentary, phasing, transient, temporal. Trite yes. But as close to Truth as I’ve ever come.

Life is picking up a pace on me; I can feel it. Having been out of step with the rhythm of the clock-working world for so long, I now find myself extra sensitive to its faintly familiar touch. Now I know where age comes from; not from birthdays, but born of routine, habit, pattern and a calendar watched.

But oh blessed “routine,” you look so sad all dressed down with complacency! Let me commit to thee with consciousness, make your process sacramental, and dress you up royally as a, “sacred rite” instead. For isn’t that the test? To make each day — within its habit — unique and sacred? Regardless of person, place or phase?

A challenge I accept. “Yes, Divine Spirit, I agree to those terms.” Take my memory of choosing to be in this place, and let me learn it, realize it, reveal it, recognize it and unfold the Mystery for myself. Life, not even in the States, not even in a cubicle, is bordered or boxed. And I intend to seek and see those horizons; horizons that start and end where the sun rises and sets; a sun by which the grace of something certainly divine creates twice-daily opportunities to witness; opportunities to witness and participate in the original, final and ageless rite of the sacred passage of a simple day. My task is not to find the sacred where it is obviously so, but to discover the divine within that which it is hidden.

A challenge lofty in mission, but surprisingly easy in vision – whenever I bother to clear my eyes of sleep and see…

The window over my bed looks upon a demolition zone where piles of mangled metal, earth upturned, ragged wires, scrapped steel, and crumbling concrete teeter on top of one other. And this spot — of all in the world — is where the indiscriminate rainbow chose to fall; reminding me that treasure is not for chasing, but for digging, underneath that which I have right in front of me. I recognize (in awe) my omen and pledge to practice The Way of the Rainbow – living, being, phasing and passing each moment indiscriminate of direction, destination and desire; seeking the sacred in every second. Eyes closed, I sigh; in relief and with full confidence, that it is in this spot — of all in the world — that I am supposed to be.

< A few more shots capturing Colorado’s most recent (daily, routine and habitual) sacred rites of ageless passage.


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Doug from Canada writes:

Dearest Sol, Intrepid Traveller of This Glorious Orb, Grand Vicarious Leader of The Landlocked and Self-Chained Masses, Shucker of The Meaningless and Mundane, Fountainhead of Global Inspiration and Ceaseless Metaphysical Mystery Seeker,

I beseech thee an answer to but one eternal question…

Where the hell did you go? 🙂


*laughing obnoxiously at the address*

Dear Doug…

That same question is spinning a broken record in my head.

Physically, I’ve been travelling up and down the West Coast.

Mentally, I’ve been hopping through hoops of intense “reverse culture shock” on an emotional pogo stick.

I’ve tried to convey my confusion to the company I keep, but find my words a poor conductor of the shock I am absorbing. I’ve pointed at the television screens playing advertisements at the end of each supermarket checkout lane and in the booth of every bar, but eyebrows don’t raise. I’ve tried to explain why I innocently ignore prohibition signs or cross streets failing to notice flashing red signals, but it seems it’s ME who’s forgotten the game. A disorderly girl in an orderly world. My mouth is open (gaped really), but the dictionary is down; Just trying to find a place to put in context all I face.

So it is for this reason (and the fact that I’ve been wire and laptop-less for the last two weeks), that I’ve been quiet; Silently absorbing the reality of the West’s world and carefully choosing how I will attempt to illustrate my revelations with words.

And then there is an extensive to-do list; reunions (family and friends), work contracts, flight arrangements, gear purchases, digital device maintenance (they’ve ALL broken down), posting long overdue letters and presents, digging diligently through a heavily neglected email list, fall lesson planning, Nepali study, preparing for an upcoming 10-day wilderness first aid (responder) course, and a couple dozen more bullet points trail the list; These things are all quite worthy of my attention, but perhaps not yours. And so I get quiet as I concentrate and get down to ironing out all the dirty details that make the adventures on this blog appear seamless and clean.

But having been away from my laptop for a record two weeks, you can bet my fingers are itchy to catch up with my feet. And they will. So please excuse my past absence and accept this excerpt from an email I’ve recently written to a new friend as a meager appetizer to the full course of words to come…

“Just as you speak louder with your eyes, more is also written in the spaces between your words; short pauses that sigh; and leave room for essence to settle and mystery to rise, as all who have poetic thoughts, if they follow their intuition, are inclined to do.

And perhaps now I am reading too much into your type, but do capital letters also feel too big to you? I’ve found that as my Silence (one of the few words in my dictionary deserving of emphasizing punctuation) grows louder, my name (and especially the letter, “I”) grows softer and smaller, as Stillness and the space around the words grows longer. Word reflective of world, it is this place — where the mountains put you, and the sea puts me — infinitely tiny and without identity, that seems to be the home I turn circles around the world to reach.

How far we travel just to get back.

And here it is. Even in LA. I’m sure of it. But there’s so much smog that I feel myself already losing receptivity to the touch of the sun and her delicate reminders (on both sides of the world) of the warmth of being upon our necks. Funny to think that here, where it is 70 degrees year round, I am weakest to the elements. Which I suppose is why I continue to crave those jagged cold edges of the Himalayas, for like a razor to a cutter, they make me feel alive.”

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Flying Full Circle

Can you hear my soul sighing in joy?

For I have just arrived in San Diego.

It’s like returning to a past life. (And those that been following my adventures since the good old CollegeClub years will see some very familar faces make appearances in the San Diego Photo Album soon.)

And one very eager girl will, today, reunite with the San Diego sunset for the first time in three years…

(pictures coming)