After nearly a decade working in hospice, I set off on a peripatetic survey of the practices and techniques people utilize to get closer to their higher power or god.
Within a week of my last day of work, I departed on the longest possible road-trip from Miami: north to Alaska. I hopped in my SmartCar and headed first to Denver to begin my own spawning process.
From there I drove up the west coast and spent a few months going into the wild, though slightly better-nourished. I fished, camped and trekked the wilderness, a road trip that climaxed with a full-moon illuminated aurora borealis over Denali.
I drove back to Miami, sharing my frozen salmon with friends along the road.
I spent a few months in New York City, volunteering with one of my spiritual mentors Dharma Mittra. I knew it was time.
I got rid of almost everything, threw a few keepsakes in my cousins’ warehouse in Philly, then hopped a flight to London, then via ferry to France to connect with my ancestral homeland.
I walked the Camino de Santiago – the pilgrim route to the shrine of the apostle, St. James. Further adventures planted me in Switzerland to investigate the God particle at CERN’s Large Hadron Collider.
I trekked among the Orthodox monasteries at Mount Athos, Greece, overstaying a couple visas
Next stop Israel. There, I learned about Kabbalah and attended a hippy gathering in the Negev Desert.
In Jordan I got dysentery in Petra and was kidnapped for three days by a bedouin in Wadi Rum.
Egypt taught me about the Book of the Dead.
The people in Tblisi, Georgia were kind enough to take me under their wing, where I quickly got lost in the wine and orthodoxy.
Turkey for Thanksgiving, and with it Rumi’s Mevlana commemoration in Konya.
After a few months of paternity leave in Arizona for the birth of my daughter, I packed my rucksack again and headed off. This time to Asia.
Northern India was where I volunteered at a cardio-renal clinic which tended to the needs of Tibetan exiles, including some of the Dalai Lama’s staff.
In the Himalayan foothills, I meditated for ten days in silence with the runs.
In Kashmir, I saw one of Jesus’ tombs.
In Rishikesh, I studied at a yoga ashram.
In Lumbini, I meditated under the Bodhi tree at the birthplace of Buddha.
In Nepal, I trekked to Annapurna Base Camp.
In Varanasi, I drank tea to the sounds of exploding human skulls at the funeral pyres.
In Kolkata, I assisted Mother Teresa’s Missionaries of Charity at the homes of the dying and destitute and found solace in the city’s cemetery.
In the fascist Disneyland of Myanmar, I had heated debates with racist monks.
In Cambodia, I volunteered my services again to the greater good.
In Vietnam and Laos, I motorbiked through wonderful locations and met humble, compassionate people.
In Thailand, I meditated. Again.
In Tokyo, I had a chance to digest what I had seen and contemplated harmony before returning back to the good old U.S. of A. for a leisurely hike of the Grand Canyon with my mother for her 80th. Happy birthday Mom!
The final leg of my journey involved focused periods of thought and writing while discovering my French-Canadian roots in Montreal, managing a sub-tropical rainforest yoga retreat on the Brazilian coast and living in Medellin, Colombia.
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