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Year of the Dog and the Butterfly

George reporting...

all seasons in one day
View WOA: GANDA TRAVEL 2014 on woa's travel map.

We were both born in the Chinese 'Year of the Horse'.

So why don't we call the year of our "rebirth" the 'Year of the Dog and Butterfly'?

See the dog and butterfly
Up in the air he likes to fly
Dog and butterfly
Below she had to try
She roll back down to the warm soft ground, laughing
She don't know why, she don't know why
Dog and butterfly...

https://youtu.be/Zv69q_oeDOk -Grab this link to hear the son.

Ann Wilson wrote the words to “Dog and Butterfly” but it was her Sheepdog that inspired the lyrics. Ann watched intently from her bedroom window as her Sheepdog chased a butterfly around the yard. “As Ann watched her dog it struck her as symbolic as to how life can be,” explains Nancy. “When you’re an earthbound creature we’re always jumping and reaching for things we can never really catch, but you try anyway. And that’s the point of the song, we’re always trying to grab at something higher.” ~ Nancy Wilson

Pins, Seaglass and Shells from our Travels

We spent nearly an entire year constantly traveling, chasing dreams, exploring every seashore and hidden city alley or garden that we happened upon. You would need to talk to each one of us to find out what we each drew from this incredible experience. And you could certainly reread our past blog posts to see where our minds were at any particular point in the year.
For myself, I've come to see this past year as an opportunity to learn more about the world and myself. Everything has a good/bad element to it but the universal concept of good/bad has certainly evolved in my mind. I learned that when a seemingly "bad" thing happens to us, it actually just turns out to be just a better or "good" thing later on. As an example, I lost a filing in my tooth while on a Caribbean cruise and was desperate to find a dentist. This "bad' event eventually led us to finding a good home and community in the Yucatan city of Merida. After a year of the "bad turning into good' thing, I actually have a mindset that views a bad incident as a gateway to some kind of new, unexpected exciting opportunity. I hope that mindset sticks with me from now on.
I also learned that the world is a very big place and that there are ALOT of people in it. The Western world is packed with people from all sorts of backgrounds and dreams. Much of the news we saw on TV or read on the paper had something to do with 'masses of people' going here or there.
I imagine that with each new war, or new environmental calamity, the mass migrations of people from one place to another will only continue to get greater and greater. There is also the migration of people like me and Andrea who are looking for a new, better home that speaks to our shared sense of community and culture. Although we were not forced out by war or calamity, we felt our old home was becoming mired in a "poverty of plenty"...plenty of money and things but more impoverished in the areas that really matter.

The issues of 'borders' and 'migrations' seem much more complex and of interest to me and I hope the leaders in the world will work hard to find the best answers to these growing issues. History has shown a pattern of tragic failure but I'm hopeful that the willpower of good, smart people will win out over the lazy and ignorant.

It was the willpower of good, smart people that enacted what is known as "America's Greatest Idea".

It's amazing (and a bit sad) to think that over 100 years ago, American politicians fought to save and preserve the natural beauty that exists throughout the continental U.S. The legendary John Muir was able to convince President Theodore Roosevelt that the U.S. Govt needed to insure that places like Yosemite and Yellowstone were protected by the capitalistic forces that sought to mine and harvest the land. Even more amazing, some of the richest Americans believed that America's natural heritage should be preserved for all time and future generations. People like the Rockefellers (and others) spent their fortunes purchasing private lands so that they can become parks for the public to enjoy.

If there is a "culture" in America, it's mostly an outdoorsy one. People from "sea to shining sea" have access to some of the most beautiful scenery
in the world. States like Wyoming, strongly advocate a balanced relationship between nature, people and resources.
Driving across the country, not once but twice, we were able to see people from all walks of life enjoy the beaches, parks, lakes and mountains. We
saw that the roads into the wilderness and deserts were well kept and included convenient service stops and viewpoints that enable you to just
drive, stop and take in the amazing play between land and sky.
Important areas like Mt. Rushmore, Yellowstone, Yosemite, Niagara Falls and other tourist meccas continue to grow and expand to become places
of wonder and learning. At first, we found the crowded, kitschy aspects to the tourist area a bit unsightly but have come to learn that they are necessary evil in order to continue to promote the importance of caring for our natural treasures.

This is a time when kids are more focused on what they see on their e-screens, the job of promoting these natural wonders may become harder and harder and there is a good chance that whole new generations may come to view natural parks as a costly, unnecessary drain on public taxes. But I get the impression that once a young child gets a little exposure to real, raw nature, they could develop a lifelong appreciation for it. However, we all would benefit from the urge to want to build a home right up to the forest or on a mountain too.
Buckhorn National Park, one of the oldest parks, is still as pristine as it was 100 years ago and reveals more of what that part of America once looked like. In Lake Tahoe, private development continues to render the area a shadow of its former, natural self.

Beyond the U.S., other countries are relying more and more on the 'value' that their natural treasures bring. This translates into more foreign visitors crisscrossing the globe in search of wondrous, natural beauty. It also means the potential for erosion (both naturally and culturally) for
areas that have only known one way-of-life or one religion. Again, it will take the will of good people to help shepherd these changes for the good of all. I think most of the violent reactions we see on the news is in direct relation to these ongoing changes.

The Heart as a Collection of Seaglass

I'm not sure when I decided to view my heart like some object built entirely of seaglass, but when I did, it suddenly made sense to start giving it away. So I went around dropping pieces of it here and there, handing it to special people I know but also to helpful strangers I met along the way as well. The tormenting, inner poet in me tells me I should want to eventually leave this earth without a single piece of heart left in my body. So I need to take a piece out now and then and give it away in the hopes that it will energize and bring hope, love and good fortune to others. Lest someone doesn't want it, they can always throw it back into the sea to tumble for a few centuries until it finds its way to a new, lucky palm. And so life continues and the world turns...
It's also amazing to me how the heart and mind perceive the world. I think I wept twice on this journey, first when I learned Leonard Nimoy (Mr. Spock) died, and when I was in Auschwitz. I had never met Mr. Nimoy in person nor been directly affected by the horrors of the death camps yet I was profoundly moved. Again the poet in me was wrenched at the thought of so many innocent lives destroyed by the hand of man and that, even today, its potential to happen again is unnerving to say the least.

Mr. Nimoy's death required a bit more reflection and understanding. I knew that I wasn't really weeping for Leonard Nimoy the person since I did not know him personally. I was emotional because of the relationship my mind had with the character Spock he played in Star Trek. I believe my mind felt Spock to be so real, and so a part of me, that it attached a part of my heart to him. I realized that everything the character Spock believed in I too believed in. It was as if I had lost the great teacher of life who taught me how to balance emotion with thought. Spock, as your average person would think, was just a 'fantasy' character on some goofy sci-fi program made for the geek set. But, somehow, my mind made him a most important person in my life and I grieved appropriately. It's astonishing the way the mind moves the heart....
In conclusion, think of this simple travel blog as another piece of seaglass I've given to you...something shiny and colorful you've decided to look at while scouring the electronic-beach known as the Internet. Thank you for taking to pluck a piece of me from the sandy shore. Maybe you decide to put it in your pocket for keeping, or maybe you decide to throw me back in the water for a little more tumbling. Either way, it's all good because my hope is that, in the brief moment you held me in your hand, you forgot everything and smiled for a moment and forgot all your worries.

So what is a 'Warrior of Aliveness'?
It is one who leaves behind all his/her heart for all time.

“You are going on a strange journey this time, my friend. I don't envy you. You'll have a hard time keeping your heart light and simple in the midst of this crowd of madmen. Instead of the music of the wind among the spruce-tops and the tinkling of the waterfalls, your ears will be filled with the oaths and groans of these poor, deluded, self-burdened men. Keep close to Nature's heart, yourself; and break clear away, once in a while, and climb a mountain or spend a week in the woods. Wash your spirit clean from the earth-stains of this sordid, gold-seeking crowd in God's pure air. It will help you in your efforts to bring to these men something better than gold. Don't lose your freedom and your love of the Earth as God made it.”
-John Muir

This post ends another chapter in our lives. Next, we move on to the Yucatan peninsula into our winter house in Merida. We will then write a new blog describing what it is like to create a home there and its challenges and victories. Warriors of Aliveness" Merida Chapter now online!

Thank you again for watching over us and sharing in this life-changing experience. Until next time, keep on seeking the light.


Some Factoids:

  1. of countries visited = 16
  2. of continents = 3
  3. of kilometers/miles = 54158 km / 33654 miles
  4. of times driven across the U.S. = 2
  5. of cruises =2
  6. of homes bought = 1
Northern most point = Iceland
Southern most point = Barbados
Western most point = California Beaches
Eastern most point = Istanbul, Turkey

Posted by woa 11:45

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