Living in the Moment.
When Jimi Hendrix set his guitar on fire at the end of his gig in Monterey, California in Spring 1967, he began the ‘Summer of Love’ and started something electric. He blazed through four years of psychedelia before his sudden demise in October 1970. However, in that short period he left his mark on the world as he ‘lived in the moment.’
Although I have not set the world alight in quite the same fashion, I too, have lived in the moment.
I am a blind-deaf traveller who explores the world with a different point of view! I began when a teenager, crashing hostels at all hours of the night, travelling to rock conserts, getting locked out of dorms etc. I was young and wild back then! I travelled the world by day and drank by night. I did it all; drinking anything from ten to fifteen beers a night and several hours later I would be jumping off the highest structure I could find, hopefully strapped to a bungee chord, but not necessarily caring!
My first oversees adventures took me to the US in a combination of study and travel, I discovered much, especially about drink and sex! One such adventure involved an outing to Hooters where I got to feel some! Another journey took me to New Orleans where I engaged in a week of heavy drinking plus lots of Jazz, sex and food – Southern culture is terrific! I later headed to Australia and New Zealand. My mition was to escape, just as many young backpackers want. The pressures of family background and fear of responsibility the usual excuses. I wanted more, I needed to prove myself – take on the world blind and with my cane in my hand.
I travelled the entire country of Australia in two months, living in the moment, hitting bars, chasing and feeling up girls, rocking to any live music I could find, jumping out of aeroplanes, rafting rivers, feeling crocodiles – anything that was slightly wild or daring. Not caring about the dangers, I wanted to feel it all, the frill of crashing into an unknown wave of water or exploring the drop of cool air with my entire body. Trying to anticipate what I could not see was frightening and eletric. I live and die having fun on the road. This is my epistemology. Have fun and live in the moment. Life is very short. I discovered this when aged just seventeen. I lost my best friend through an illness and my dad through old age. It eventually taught me a valuable lesson. Life is very short, we only live once so enjoy it and do what ever makes you happy.
In 2004-05 I decided to take on the entire world, beginning in South America and finishing in Africa. One friend said I was mad to go to South America, with no sight and no command of Spanish, I just grinned and said “I would manage”, wanting the challenge. A friend had been somewhere I had not therefore, It was a land to concure. I got my mobility confidence when young and nothing stops me. I put my faith in the kindness of fellow travellers and locals and off I go.
That trip taught me many valuable lessons, humility to my fellow person, that the poorest people are often the kindest – they give you their heart, its all they have. I also learnt that possessions mean very little after getting everything stolen in the Yukon, Canada when camping. I could have been in the tent and attacked or killed, I was lucky. Health and happiness are the only real valuable items in life.
I am the luckiest person I know, my disability has afforded me the time to travel, but I put my mind and body to it, wanting to ‘live in the moment’.
I no longer drink, partly because it was killing me and partly due to a kidney disease. I have been travelling with this problem for the last four years and it has finally forced me to take things slightly easier. However, I aim to never stop travelling.
Quitting drinking was the best thing I ever did because, it gave me another dimention to travelling. It meant I could ‘see’ the world through all my senses; skin, ears, smell, feet, heat detecters, and most importantly, my mind. Being sober meant I could envelop my surroundings much more deeply. I am able to meet people and see in them their true character just by listening to their conversation. I can appreciate totally the change in atmosphere as I climb a mountain, enter woods, swim in the ocean. Being blind gives me my own imagination. This is how I travel. I create pictures in my mind from sounds, smells and energy from my surroundings.
I now travel for the people and for the isolation. New Zealand, Iceland, Southern Argentina, Canada and Alaska have both these qualities. Amazing people with time, humour and open-mindedness in abundance and miles of open isolated terrain – what I consider beautiful.
I live to travel, to meet people, hear their individual experiences, be introduced to new ideas and different cultures, I live in the moment. If it ended tomorrow, I’d have no regrets.
I have been to forty one country, visited all fifty US States and just crossed the Arctic circle. My next challenges are to get a kidney transplant, reach Ant-arctica and walk the Appolation trail.
I have dreams and goals, ideas and aspirations. I live in the moment.