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The Last Notes

Witch Camp: The Magic of Connecting with Nature and Spirit
Witch Camp: The Magic of Connecting with Nature and Spirit

Photo: AuthorPat the Digital Vagabond shares what it’s like to attend a Witch Camp when he doesn’t believe in magic.“There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.” –Albert EinsteinThere is a place near the ocean in a redwood forest where witches gather once every summer.

Could the Burj Khalifah Collapse?
Could the Burj Khalifah Collapse?

Let’s hope the Tower of Dubai doesn’t meet the same fate as the Tower of Babel.The Burj Khalifah under construction. JoiThere are a lot of similarities between Dubai and the biblical city of Babel.Last May, I described the Dubai / Babel connection, and put the call out for a “DuBabel” correspondent.Now that Dubai is officially home to the tallest building in the world, the Babel analogy is especially creepy.

Welcome to Las Vegas…and History
Welcome to Las Vegas…and History

Every visitor to the Las Vegas Strip for the past 50 years has been greeted by the same message: “Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas Nevada.”The neon sign, one of Vegas’ most recognizable landmarks, was installed in 1959, back in the casino town’s glory days.Now, it’s been added to the ranks of the National Register of Historic Places — a fitting designation for a structure that very well could be the city’s oldest.

After the Attacks: What You Need to Know About Traveling in India
After the Attacks: What You Need to Know About Traveling in India

Traveling in India during these terror stricken times is something even Indian citizens are reconsidering.Tourists and foreign nationals are alarmed and they should be.The Taj Mahal Hotel, The Oberoi Trident Hotel and the Leopold Café are three of the locations that were bombarded by terrorists holding AK-47s and firing indiscriminately at anything and anyone that moved.

Journalist Jemima Kiss on Kicking the Digital Habit
Journalist Jemima Kiss on Kicking the Digital Habit

I enjoyed this article on the Guardian (originally in The Observer) by Jemima Kiss.It’s about kicking the “digital habit”, and although on the surface it’s just another take on how the price of ever-increasing connectivity is a corresponding lack of grounding, it has a few nice, personal images that made me sit up and take notice.

Conversations With a Child Monk in Bodh Gaya
Conversations With a Child Monk in Bodh Gaya

All photos by authorRobert Hirschfield gives his account of an unexpected interaction in India.SEEING MY FIRST child monk in Bodh Gaya, I think, Way to go! Start early and you will have a mind like clear space before puberty. Not like the mind that wobbles before you, willing to pick any cherry from the spirit tree, hoping it will taste of deliverance.

Notes on Personal Space: A Canadian Expat in Turkey
Notes on Personal Space: A Canadian Expat in Turkey

Sometimes we don’t realize how much we value our notion of personal space until we live abroad.Before travel, I never realized how little I like to be touched. Sure, hugs are fine. I don’t even mind a cramped car ride or overstuffed elevator. I thought that in terms of physical contact, my comfort zone was average.

Exploring the World’s Most Sacred Mountains
Exploring the World’s Most Sacred Mountains

Feature photo by SparkyLeigh. Photo above by padraic woods.A list of some of the most awe inspiring sacred mountains on the planet.Some mountains have attained legendary status for their danger and difficulty. Others simply dominate the landscape, commanding the attention of all who pass by. Still other mountains are revered as sacred.

Rescuing child soldiers with Project: AK-47
Rescuing child soldiers with Project: AK-47

“WEAR THEIR REALITY.” Project: AK-47’s dog tags for child soldier advocacy from PROJECT: AK-47 on Vimeo.I don’t even remember how I found Project: AK-47 in the first place, but I do remember it kept popping up – on my Twitter feed, then in a random Google search, then I saw a post about its newest campaign, Wear Their Reality.

TSA screener steals your laptop, sells it on eBay
TSA screener steals your laptop, sells it on eBay

THAT’S WHAT HAPPENED to hundreds of passengers whose bags was screened by Pythias Brown at Newark International. For a year +, he would swipe 2-3 valuable items per week from passenger luggage and sell them on eBay for cheap, making a total of $400,000.Brown was caught and jailed in 2009, but the problem is much bigger than him.

India, Poverty, And The Fear Of Traveling To Poor Places
India, Poverty, And The Fear Of Traveling To Poor Places

The first time I flew to India, I remember peering out into the midnight blackness as we descended into the Delhi airport. All I could see were random groupings of flickering yellow lights on the ground far below, and I realized I had no idea what to expect. It was my “holy shit” moment. There was no turning back.

Two explorers, one expedition: Why you should vote for Trevor Frost
Two explorers, one expedition: Why you should vote for Trevor Frost

Photos Courtesy of Trevor FrostFor 25 year-old Trevor Frost, a National Geographic Young Explorer, being an explorer means using his adventures to promote a larger cause: conservation. A native of Richmond, Virginia, Frost has committed his life to exploring the globe in order to showcase areas and wildlife that are threatened.

Notes on a Burmese Monk
Notes on a Burmese Monk

Robert Hirschfield finds a juxtaposition between Burma and India, past and present, East and West, while talking to a monk at the Bodhi Tree.THEY SIT like saffron pigeons on the stone ledge across from the Bodhi Tree.If I clap my hands, will they scatter? Or like the good Theravadan monks that they are, will they log the bare fact of hearing in minds polished with the spirituality of perception?

First person dispatch: “What are you doing here?”
First person dispatch: “What are you doing here?”

Isaac| All photos by Josh Debner“How do we know what we’re doing is actually…doing anything?” Jeff asked at dinner.I tried to cut my chicken with a dull knife and didn’t know how to answer.Josh chimed in, “Yea, I mean these kids are always hungry. Girls have babies when they’re 15. It’s just the way it is.

Notes on Having AK-47s Pointed at You
Notes on Having AK-47s Pointed at You

Joshywashington recalls a night in Laos crossing rivers and having guns drawn on him.THE POINT isn’t to dwell on the fact that I had ingested large amounts of hallucinogenic substances sold to me at the restaurant where I ate my pizza and drank my beer.But just to get a solid grasp on the situation and the headiness of the coming machine guns it would do you well to know that I was tripping major balls.

Infidels Abroad: How We Were Busted On Ramadan
Infidels Abroad: How We Were Busted On Ramadan

While travelers may wish to participate in the spiritual month of Ramadan, sometimes hunger is stronger than the will.Photo: Baxter JacksonWe didn’t plan on breaking the law that day, it just kind of happened that way.Not far from the dusty desert confines of our ersatz, dawn-pink villa, we hail an orange and white taxi as the sun rises on the first day of Ramadan, the month of fasting and spiritual renewal for Muslims everywhere.

Notes on New England
Notes on New England

Bernice Mullins, Noah Cicero, and Brittany Wallace at summit of Cadillac Mountain, Maine.Noah Cicero travels through New England noting islands controlled by rich white people, bars with pictures of Larry Bird, and stores for Latinos selling magic oils.CONNECTICUT: Just a giant forest with nice suburbs.

Glitter, Sky, Dead Reckoning and the Value of Buffalo Dung
Glitter, Sky, Dead Reckoning and the Value of Buffalo Dung

Notes on, among other things, finding one’s way across strange territories.IT WAS WELL INTO THE UNMITIGATED SEAR OF JULY when they finally came upon the first settlements of Quivira.They were seventy-seven days out from the embers of Tiguex, give or take a few, nine hundred and fifty leagues from the City of Mexico, somewhere in what is now central Kansas.

Notes on a Naked Man in Calcutta
Notes on a Naked Man in Calcutta

Robert Hirschfield finds that “our existential ground zero is always closer than we think.”NEAR A BUSY traffic circle in Calcutta, a man was sitting naked on the hot ground. His hair was matted, and his eyes were not where he was.What to make of this man? I am beyond the point where a naked man on a city street in India gets badly translated in my brain as a holy man.

Notes on Tourists Accosted by Religious Zealots in Jerusalem
Notes on Tourists Accosted by Religious Zealots in Jerusalem

Jerusalem is the juxtaposition of 5000 years of conflict that, as these travelers discover, sometimes “flies out of the nightly news” to hang out with you.If Yehuda Amichai were alive, he’d write a poem to them: “Psalm For aSecular Couple From Spain Exploring Jerusalem Like Ordinary CivilizedPeople”.