January 4th, 2006
Oh my God! We made it! We’re on the flight to Australia, the first leg of our journey around the world. Our sacred Journey. The last few days of preparations I saw how irritable and short tempered I can get. I was not proud of some of my behavior. I thought of how a rocket ship needs a booster rocket to break through the earth’s gravitational field. That’s what my family and I seemed to be going through as we worked through resistance, irritation, short tempers, and excitement.
For example, we were waiting for passports that were promised to come within 6 weeks, but they hadn’t come yet from the state department, and we needed them to be able to begin our journey. We called and were told the baby’s passport needed to be redone. So Icasiana overnighted new pictures to them along with an expedite fee, and they promised to get the passport back in days, along with Matt and Kate’s passports. Over a week later, we get the pictures mailed back to us and no passport delivered. Why did they make us overnight the pictures to them in order for them to then send them back and not send the passports? A few days later though, Elijah’s passport comes, but not Matt and Kate’s. Icasiana kept calling numerous times, and each time was given a different answer, but no apologies, and no accountability. Finally, we’re days away from our scheduled departure missing 2 passports, on the phone with the state department, who are still unapologetic and unaccountable. Finally, two days before our flight, the passports arrive. We’re so stressed at this point, we barely feel relieved, our news are frayed, but we keep praying and trying to remember our blessings.
Eventually, we get off in a good way, with everyone cooperating. As I sit on the plane, I look at my family and think, “WOW, we made it, here we go.” But I’m so tired. I look at my newborn son, and I see that my concern that he would be very uncomfortable on the plane and possibly be crying for long periods as I had seen other infants do on planes, now I see there was no need for concern. He is so at ease, he barely cried the whole trip and slept almost the whole 14 hour plane ride. He is so comfortable in himself. Such a blessing.
To get to this point of departure, my wife and I had been planning this trip for the last year, and it seemed we had been working non stop to create this opportunity that was just now at our doorstep, with this last push. The first step was to find someone to take over my chiropractic practice that had been my life’s work for the last 14 years. It took months to get our records together, put together a prospectus of the business, advertise for a potential buyer, find someone, work out all the negotiations and arrangements, and then go through the transition. That did happen after about 6 months. Now the one who took over, Omri Sitton, is a good friend of mine, and I feel so good that the people that I’ve worked with over these years are being so well taken care of.
I had been frustrated for years that I had not traveled very much, and had taken very few vacations. That was a big mistake, and a big contributor to burn out for me.
Anyway, during the selling of the practice, my wife and I were also preparing for our wedding in Santa Cruz and then a 2nd wedding celebration with my New York family.
After the wedding we prepared for the birth of our child. (On this web site we have written the story of Elijah’s birth.)
After Elijah was born, as we prepared for our sacred journey, we had to contend with what most parents of newborns must contend with, which was unbeknownst to me; sleepless nights with a baby up at night. How could I have lived this long and not known that? Even my wife hadn’t told me. And then during the day, it’s hard to get work done when you’re holding the baby, or I would start something and then you need to change a diaper or take the crying baby for a walk, and I couldn’t remember what I had been doing before, or that I even was doing something that I still needed to finish. Of course, we had the time to be with Elijah as we both weren’t working at a job, and that was such a huge blessing.
Okay, you get the idea, let’s get back to the trip. We get to Sydney, Australia, and rent a car at the airport. We’ve rented a full size car, but it’s not really a full size car as I know them, and how are we going to get our stuff in this car? Needless to say, even though the stuff wouldn’t fit, we made it fit, though the kids did complain a lot about a lack of leg room. And oh yeah, we have to drive on the opposite side of the road. I could do that, but my spatial sense of the car was distorted. Just ask the left side mirror about it.
This first day, we leave the airport and go to find a place to stay to rest and get over the long journey. I look at my records for the place to stay I had found, but not booked, and the record of it on my Palm Pilot on the computer had been erased when the computer had crashed and needed to be restarted just before we left. So I tried to find an internet access point to find a motel, and when I got access, jet lag overtook me, and for 1 ½ hours I looked and could find nothing. A broken man, I realized I needed to try another way and we got back in the car and headed to Manly, a suburb of Sydney, where a soccer friend of Kate’s family was vacationing. We eventually found a motel 20 yards from the ocean, which was great. What wasn’t great was as we found out later was that this area was where major partying happens throughout the night. That evening while we slept there was a raucous commotion of drunken young adults carrying on until about 3 a.m. in the morning.
I had told the kids that they would have some of the best times of their life on this trip. Sometimes things would be real smooth and easy, and other times they would be real uncomfortable. This was one of those days, but really just a little tiny bit. More will come I know, it’s all part of it.
January 5th, 2006
We went to the zoo today. Zoos are places that can be exciting and very sad for me. It was exciting to see the kangaroos and the koala bears, and some of the other animals, but it’s also sad to see the animals that are essentially in a prison. I will say that this zoo was beautifully designed, and the environments created for the animals were very nice. I remember once seeing the zoo in Central Park where some of the animals were in concrete enclosures. This zoo had educational writings on plaques at each site I found to be very enlightening and informative. There were important messages about how the destruction of the rain forests and other natural habitats is causing some of these animals to become endangered. I’m still very tired after the longest flight that we will have on this trip.
January 10th, 2006
We are now in a cabin in Byron Bay, right near the ocean, and we’ll be here for 5 days. A great chance to rest and recharge after months of almost non-stop preparations. We’re also here with friends of mine from the Network Chiropractic community that I haven’t seen in 7 years. I knew them separately and now they’re married with 2 beautiful young girls ages 4 and 5. They have a beautiful place near the Gold Coast of Australia, in a rural area called Advancetown. The property is 5 acres with gorgeous grasslands and 3 ponds and gorgeous gum trees and other kinds I don’t know.
We went to a local rainforest called Natural Bridge. What a great experience that was. Of the original Australian rainforest, only .3% still exists. The rest has been cut down. What effect has that had? As soon as we arrived at the rainforest, I felt a bit giddy. There is an energy, a current, an aliveness in this place that lifted me up. It felt soothing and enlivening at the same time. I had read at the zoo a few days earlier that it can take 500-1,500 years for a rain forest to form. Maybe it’s a lot longer because often times when a rain forest is cut down, as I have heard, the soil can wash away, and the rain will stop coming to the area and it can become a desert.
I was also remembering my readings by Victor Schauberger. He was challenging the forestry practices of his native Austria where a natural forest is cut down and then a monoculture of trees is planted in rows. The difference between a monoculture of trees and a natural forest is huge. In a natural forest, there is a whole ecosystem that develops with thousands of species of plants and animals and insects that develop over a period of time through a natural progression that a planting of one species of trees in rows for the purpose of fast growth for timber production can never replicate. In the natural forest there is a profusion of diversity and a vibrancy of life because of all the life forms and life force. And this is what I was feeling, this vibrancy and aliveness of the natural world.
This journey is about exploring native wisdom throughout the world. My perspective is that the native cultures arose from their connection with the natural world, and the rhythm of their lives developed from the rhythm of the natural world. Their livelihood came from being in tune with their environment and learning from the plants and animals that were their food. And their spiritual life developed from their connection with the spirits of the area. My question then is, how did the native people live in this area? What was their source of food, and how did they get it? How did they pray and how did they feel about their lives here?
Thanks to all our friends and family for your good wishes, prayers and letters. We enjoy hearing from you, and it’s such an important part of our journey that we know you are rooting for us.
More to come!
love and blessings, Gabriel, Icasiana and the family