A Travellerspoint blog

Building ships and other things

visions from the East, my new harbour.

snow

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In late September 2015 I deliberately sank a ship called "My Life". That ship had been adrift for some months and it seemed too lost in the vastness of the "What do do? ocean". As the captain and sole passenger of that ship, I made the decision to drown it in the depths of memory, jump off to unknown waters and start swimming. I had no life boat nor life jacket, just a fierce resolve in swimming towards new lands and new opportunities. So I confidently swam with nothing in my mind besides one vision. A vision that kept me afloat, almost recklessly, almost blindly through the darkest storms of the mind.

A few weeks later, someone threw me a buoy from afar, from the East. A buoy called real friendship which towed me from deep, revolving waters towards an "island" where I could catch my breath for a moment. As I explored that island, I realized how beautiful it seemed to me and how much I wanted to stay there. It was very similar to the vision that was guiding me before, but I knew I couldn't stay there forever. There weren't enough supplies for me to stay there indefinetely so I knew I would have to go back to the vast ocean sooner or later and continue my journey trying to find a firm, steady shore. This time however, I wouldn't be swimming anymore, I started building another small ship called "New Life". For some weeks I worked hard on building it, while enjoying the beauty around me and experiencing the little pleasures that magnificent island had to offer. And just like that my boat was ready and I was sailing again. It felt so good to be again my own captain, the captain of "New Life". Feeling the breeze in my face, I pointed at the blue horizon and went straight to it, like a true explorer, a true dreamer.

I didn't sail for long though.

The very first days of 2016 brought, as if by some ethereal coincidence, the glorious winds that steered me towards firm land. Equally wild and beautiful as the island before, but filled with provisions and opportunities for me to stay here and discover a new world. I don't have to worry anymore. I will dock my ship for a while here and work on improving it. Day after day, I will make "New Life" a bigger, stronger ship. I have no illusions, it's hard to build a ship from scratch and I will have to work hard on it. Nonetheless, experience tells me that with great effort, comes great reward. Not necessarily material reward, I'm talking only about spiritual reward.

"New Life" will be a very different ship than "My Life". It's gonna be more pragmatic, more developed and stable. "My life" was young and vigorous, crusading the ocean as a free spirit, no strings attached to anything. "New life" will keep the same irrefutable, almost unbearable desire for living a poetic life, but it will try to do so in a more mature, compromised way thus avoiding more turbulent waters.

But if I shall ever feel lost again, I will not hesitate for one second in imploding "New Life". That's the only way to live the life you want. When nothing or no one can stop you from holding up to that shiny, sparkling light that guides you either during the highest heights of happiness and ecstasy or in the deepest depths of darkness, fear and confusion.

As for now, I will take as much time as I can to enjoy the moment and savour all the small, yet of gigantic meaning, gestures of kindness I have been lucky to experience over the past couple of months. There's nothing more humbling than to launch yourself towards the unknown and realize that some kind souls will hold you and prevent you from falling into the abyss. Over the past months I discovered (or rediscovered) the true meaning of family and friendship as well as unconditional love and selfless kindness.

I couldn't feel luckier. And that says it all.

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Posted by ZackMeursault 05:49 Archived in Poland Comments (0)

Łazienki Królewskie - a new circle of peacefulness

the first 30 days in Warsaw

30 days into my new adventure, I already found a new circle of peacefulness, the Łazienki Królewskie, which is a huge, beautiful park filled with different palaces, a roman style theatre and several other buildings and statues right in the middle of Warsaw. It's where I have been running almost every morning.

(taken from the internet)

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For the past couple of years I got used to wake up early in the morning and go for a run. Just me and my music. Day in and day out, it became a sacred moment of my daily life, something I can't even imagine not doing anymore. In a time where it's more and more difficult for each one of us to spend time alone just with our thoughts and dig deep into our soul, these daily 30-45minutes of absolute introspection put me in touch with the divine and with the beautiful. It's the only part of the day where I am completely unreachable and far away from a cellphone, laptop or internet. It's just me and my old iPod. But that's the magic of it. That small Ipod and I, we carry an entire life of moments, feelings, dreams, whatever you want to think of. In the end of the day, music will always be the defining and unifying element in my life.

Every morning I run, I feel epic and think of a million things. I promise myself I will be more active. I will write more. I will read more. I will learn Polish. I will apply for a lot of different jobs. I will be this or that. I will use all my time more efficiently. While running, I feel fearless and invincible. Often, powered by the perfect combination of a song and the scenery around me, I run as fast as I can, restless and energetic, almost boundless and bursting in pure happiness. It's amazing how much of our physical capacity comes straight from some kind of energy generated in our mind. With me that energy is triggered by music and nature. On that note, I wonder if Emerson would agree with me (as if he would ever enter in an intellectual conversation with me, lol). Back he in early 19th century he laid the foundation of the transcendentalism movement with an essay called "Nature", where he says that Man is only truly in solitude when in contact with nature and away from all manifestations of society. According to him, reading or writting (or listening to music nowadays) are not solitary moments, even if nobody is with us. I think I humbly disagree with him on that, because I still feel like I touch the divine in my morning running sessions, although I'm running in a city park and listening to music. Music and art in general are created by humans but they are attempts to create and touch the divine. When successful, they are able to elevate our soul and mind. But maybe I should try absolute isolation to see if that's the real and only way to touch or feel the divine.

The question here is that as soon as I return home from running, I submerge in those same old daily habits, I connect again with the world around me and end up losing all that accumulated energy, all the motivation to lead a higher purposed life. At the same time I reconnect with the material world I disconnect from the divine. Most of days I don't do all the things I plan to do while running. There's is nothing wrong with that, it doesn't make me sad, but I wonder how my life would be if I could actually keep that inner energy and motivation with me all the time. Maybe I would be able to achieve greatness. Maybe one day I will.

I wonder if most people have these kind of moments, where they are truly alone with themselves and are able to examine their own soul. In this global world, where everything and everyone is one click away but where people feel more and more lonely, I wonder if most of us are able to find ways to truly disconnect and embrace the spirituality that elevates our existence. I actually wonder if people even have the time to think about that or, more importantly, if they are already too numb to even acknowledge they are being completely dominated by a materialistic world. I am part of that materialistic world, but I'm struggling to remain aware of that and fight it somehow. We, the ones who were born before the technology explosion, we might be the last examples of the "old" world. A world where was easier to isolate ourselves from society. For example, I believe that no teenager is able to spend an entire afternoon in his room just listening to music and out of contact from the world outside, like we did as teenagers. He'll always have at least a phone with him and will be always reachable and able to reach others. Therefore, he will never be able to connect on a deeper level with the music he's listening to, he or she won't understand it. How often some of the best musicians of all time were tortured and isolated souls in their youth and music was their escape, their way of expressing all that accumulated pain, a way to express themselves? If you remove the isolation, you remove the ability to achieve greatness, I believe.

Back to the first 30 days in Warsaw, it has been a great experiece as a whole. It's a completely different experience, comparing with my erasmus year in Budapest (2005) or my 3 months in Berlin (2009). I'm embracing things more maturely now. I feel calm and confident about building a future here. Since I decided to turn my life upside down in late September that I haven't yet found my "shore" but I'm working on making my stay here permanent, focused on the long run.

Still, I'm learning many lessons. We never stop evolving, we never stop growing. But I'll leave that for another time.

Posted by ZackMeursault 04:57 Archived in Poland Comments (0)

Sonic chaos in Warsaw

Yesterday night I was in my first concert here in Warsaw from A Place to Bury Strangers. These guys are probably the loudest band I've ever seen and I think they are one of the most exciting bands of this century. It's truly a sonic experience to see them. Something similar to seeing My Bloody Valentine live a few years ago. This was my third time and I'm getting more and more addicted to the kind of inner peace I feel while being literally invaded by that wall of distortion, loud guitars and raw energy.

They really like to push the limits of sound and it gets really loud. It was really funny to see people covering their ears or simply leaving the crowd. You can't just go and see APTBS. You have to know what you are going for and bring earplugs. Otherwise you are going to suffer, suffer badly! I don't think most people can actually enjoy that kind of sound but when you do, the sound takes your to higher levels of perception. I think once I read an interview with Oliver Ackermann, the band's leader, where he was saying something about that. About how loudness makes him feel somehow in peace. Or something like that.

This time I managed to speak with him before the concert as he was hanging out in the bar. One of the things about small venues and non mainstream bands is that you get to have access to the artists and interact with them. He seems a very fascinating character, very down to earth. At some point he told me "I like when things go crazy" so if you see people are not moving, start pushing them"! LOL! I was actually surrounded by people enjoying the concert so there was a lot of energy coming back and forth from the stage. The band never says a word to the crowd, they just come, blast shit up and leave. I really had a great time and I look forward to see them again.

The concert took place in a nice bar/club called Klub Hydrozagadka which is located in Praga district here in Warsaw. When I told some people I was going there, they all kinda of scared me saying that that district was very violent and that I shouldn't be walking in there alone, that Warsaw can get dangerous and that Polish people like to fight when they get drunk. I admit that for one second I even considered not going. Afterall, I just arrived in the city a couple of days ago and the thought of being involved in some rough situation all by myself wasn't so pleasing . But I made some online research and discovered that things changed over the past years and that a lot of artists and alternative people moved there. I also thought that fear should never prevent me from doing anything and especially in this case, I would never let it prevent me to go and see a concert. As I kind of predicted, Praga district (or at least the part i was in) became now some kind of "hipsterville" and seems totally harmeless. But it's interesting to see (I read that too), that for most of people in Warsaw, crossing the Vistula river to Praga during the night is off limits. I actually immediately felt like those are the places I want to discover during my stay here. Or at least until the first time I will be beaten by some big and drunk polish dudes! :)

I guess that's it for now here on the eastern front. It's been sunny early in the mornings so I am taking the chance to go for a run and discover the city! The world out there is strange these days (or maybe it has been for a long time already) but I am feeling well and safe from all the darkness surrounding our pre-apocalyptic lives. Been reading some interesting stuff and I'm continuing with my path. I don't know where I'm going but I will go all the way.

Posted by ZackMeursault 03:40 Archived in Poland Comments (0)

The resolute urgency of now. Decisions that change our lives

Part II - the wonderful world of "now"

To read part I click here: http://1dream1000ways.travellerspoint.com/56/

Life is a journey right? We hear that a lot, but what does it really mean to each and every one of us? What kind of journey? How to experience that journey? Where to go and what do we want to reach with that journey?

I think that we all ought to take some time in our lives to ask ourselves those questions and try to find some answers. There are no definite answers though. Or there shouldn't be any definite answers. Life is a journey that needs constant reorientation. In fact, I believe that with all the social conditioning around us from the day we are born, the more you need to reorientate yourself the better life gets. Nonetheless what's really important is that each one of us gets satisfied with the answers to our own questions. The important thing is to question ourselves. Always.

I guide my life without any plan, without a compass. I can't see far ahead. I don't want to. I don't sacrifice the present for any preconceived idea I might have of my future. Some might say this is reckless and dangerous. I shall remark that I don't mean to say this is the best way to go through life. I just think it's the only one that suits me.

I always liked this notion of "resolute urgency of now". I first heard it in a Smashing Pumpkins song, "Tonight, Tonight", when I was 12. Recently I discovered that Martin Luther King used it before ("the fierce urgency of now") in his famous "I Have a Dream" speech to urge people to act and fight for their rights. In 2015 however, as much as I think that there's also a pungent need for us to act collectively and change our western society, I'm more focused in exploring the "resolute urgency of now" on an individual and spiritual level. The "now" is the only tangible moment we have in life. We can actually touch, feel and experience the "now". So many people forget the importance of the "now", of the moment. Maybe it's easy to forget that while being swallowed by the strong, vicious current of everyday life. That same current that drags you, that beats you down silently and unnoticeably, day in and day out.

Recently I made some drastic decisions based on the answers I got from asking the questions I mentioned above. Some things in my life stopped making sense and was time to once again turn my life upside down and embrace the unknown. When you embrace the unknown you behold a plethora of choices and opportunities. You can turn to every direction, you can pursue any idea, you simply become free. And as soon you become free you can immerse yourself in the wonderful world of "now" and live it fully and intensively.

Which brings me to last Monday night in London, where I attended a concert from Caspian in a place called The Dome, in Tufnell Park. I have a genuine admiration for these guys and I'm lucky enough to have been part of a kind of a music experiment they made some months ago. Standing very close to the stage and lost in the middle of the crowd I was expecting a good concert and was curious to hear the new songs live. I wasn't that introspective or anything, I was in a light mood and really enjoying the place.

However, as soon as they started playing the 3rd song and from then on, my mind was transported to higher grounds and i was bursting with happiness. The past years unfolding vividly in my mind, the people, the places, everything. As those guys created sonic beauty I relived a thousand moments and I smiled. There I was, alone in the middle of the crowd, lost in this world. In that moment, nothing else mattered. There was no other place to be, no other life to live. I was home. And suddenly, closer to the end of the setlist, these words echoed in the room as if they were being said only to me:

I have read one book from Bukowski before and knew his life story and hype but wasn't so curious about him and didn't know this poem. But that's the thing with art: sometimes it seems like the universe aligns and that song, book, movie, just some words or whatever you never paid proper attention before become quintessential in your life. It takes the right moment and the adequate mood to completely absorb its meaning. In that moment I literally felt I was completely alone in a bubble of epiphany, my mind exploding with answers and revelations. It was beautiful and unforgettable.

That's my "now". Being 32 and still keeping a sense of wonder, a sense of discovery. It's not about being immature and trying to be young. It's about never stop searching for answers. It's about not giving up in trying to live the life I want to live. It's about staying true to my beliefs and dreams. It's about being a whole person both in victory and defeat. It's about (and I have to quote Bukowski here) "riding life straight to perfect laughter, it's the only good fight there is".

Next Sunday, the 15th, I arrive in Warsaw, Poland. That's all I know. And that's the best thing I could ask for. Godspeed.

Posted by ZackMeursault 04:14 Archived in England Comments (0)

Pedro 2.0

First day of a new life. I don't know much about that new life. Everyone keeps asking me what I want to do or where I'm going. I guess people are just worrried with me, which is normal. I don't have answers for them though. Not yet. They will come with time.

I came to the laptop one hour ago. Sat in front of it, slightly lost and not knowing what to do or where to start. Decided to start by organizing the desktop and put all the random pictures and documents in the right folders. Opened iTunes and felt like listening to Caspian's new album and especially the title track "Dust and Disquiet", which is also the last song. An epic 11+ minutes of classic post-rock!

As soon as I cleared the desktop and put everything in the right place I felt somehow empty. As if my life, my past had also been put in those folders, the ones we barely open and keep "just in case". 7 years put in a box. Those 7 years have been amazing, but honestly I don't know anymore what's left of it. I feel like something was lost along the way. I feel like I was becoming someone I didn't want to be. All the injustices and frustration I've suffered because of my job were turning me into someone angry and resentful. I wasn't the dreamy guy anymore, always ready to enjoy life and meet new people. I was just a shadow of that, I was just a somewhat decadent albeit unnoticiable version of the person I used to be.

And then it hit me. It's time for a new folder, it's time for Pedro 2.0 and a new life! I'm so relieved I decided to abandon my tennis project. After all the mess, I realized that my heart haven't been there for quite a long time already. For the first time in many months, I feel like I'm not falling into some kind of abyss!

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I'm curious about Pedro 2.0! I'm excited about the new life, what will be there for me. And more importantly I'm looking forward to regain the energy and even some of the innocence I used to have. And also the faith in people.

Dust and Disquiet. Thank you Caspian. Dust will settle and disquiet will soon vanish. Life is good. Love to all.

Posted by ZackMeursault 15:00 Archived in Portugal Comments (0)

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