Saturday, March 20, 2010

13 More Days Till We Leave

There are 13 more days till I visit my father's homeland, the place of my birth, and one part of me that I need to see for myself. Ecuador means equator. A middle point on the earth. I was born in Guayaquil, which is below the equator, on a gulf in the pacific ocean. My half brothers (who never made me feel like that) were born of a different father and in another country, Venezuela. My oldest brother has shared memories since he was 13 when we left. He remembers Spanish but didn't speak it as we were growing up. Their father is also American born, along with our mother. My father was born an Ecuadorian citizen. I have always been an American; I am not always as proud of that as I would like to be. But that is partly my fault too. Often I have been made to feel like just a nine digit number and a tax payer. But if I let anyone make me feel anyway, it is because I care about them. I don't want to be apathetic. I want to not be bound by my man-made borders. I am a human being from the planet Earth first. A world citizen. I am a woman second. And third I am whatever I want to be in that moment.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Lucky Charms

I am not a superstitious man.  I don't believe in luck - at least, not the four-leaf clover, horseshoe, rabbit's foot kind of luck...  I believe that what happens to you is a result of the choices you've previously made in your life and how those choices have interacted the outside influences of the world.  This is not to say that random things don't just happen, and that seemingly synchronous events don't occur.  It's just to say that... I believe in making my own luck.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Life Into Boxes

It is an odd feeling - sorting through old papers, pulling out the remnants from the far corners of the dresser drawers, digging into the back of the closet, dusting off that misplaced tupperware bin full of car payments and scraps from magazines and newspapers you thought you wanted to keep, packing your life into boxes.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Welcome to Our Dream

Welcome, family, friends, enemies, and strangers, to the Viaje del Sueño blog.  As this is the inaugural entry, I suppose we should explain ourselves, and the purpose of our writing here.

(Sipping my coffee and collecting my thoughts...)

My wife, the poet Karla Mancero, and myself, for some time now (ever since we first met, really, in the spring of 2004), have been planning a trip to South America.  Karla was born in Guyaquil, Ecuador, but left before any clear recollection of the place could stick itself into her mind.  For her, the idea of traveling back there has been a homecoming of sorts - an exploration of the country and also the continent where she herself was entered as new life into this world.  I'll let her explain her own motives in more detail on this blog, if and when she chooses.

Myself, I have always loved traveling - blame that on my parents, who always took us on road trips along the West Coast of the United States.  Hitherto as an adult, I have wandered many parts of the United States, a few limited areas of Canada, and many European countries.  While all those places are beautiful and rugged and interesting and complicated and industrial and/or pristine and/or desolate and/or many other words in their own right, they have all shared in a few key attributes that have made such travels comfortable, namely, key Western cultural values, first-world standards, and a majority of people who know at least some smattering of English to help out a foreigner.

Going to South America seemed like an exciting and novel idea for both of us, straying very far outside of our comfort zones.  Developing nations, the Amazon rain forest, the looming Andes, ruins, gold, lost cities, promise, excitement, beauty, a continent still teaming with vibrancy, growth, and combination of the ancient and the modern.  (At least, in my own deluded romantic dreams of it.)

As the years progressed and our relationship grew stronger and deeper, Karla and I paid off our debts, stockpiled a bit of money, and got married.  All the while, the idea blossomed into something more grand, an adventure, a journey of the classic sort: wander South America, learn something of the languages, absorb the cultures and customs, experience the cuisine, embrace the history... for five months.  One months short of half a year.  The span of two seasons.  And then, one day, we committed to the idea.