Wednesday, December 2
inspiration on the road
our days are filled with excess and we see it as the “end all and be all”. the all mighty dollar and the ever-ticking clock! to name a few of our self-imposed shackles. for years i to was obsessed with the trivialities of life chasing, unsuccessfully, happiness though the amassing of material goods and the accumulation of wealth. it wasn't until i left the "rat race" that i began to realize that there was more out there in the world beyond the trappings of western society, nay a consumeristic illusion. if happiness wasn't in money and things, were was it?
i ended up in havana having decided to see whether photography for me would continue to be a passion or if i could transform it into more. one day while walking about with my camera in hand i met philippe a fascinating italian man with an inspiring story. i was walking through a vibrant and colourful neighbourhood oozing with the afro-cuban culture. the walls were painted in rich colours with spanish sayings and strong shapes. littering the alley were modern art sculptures that drew me closer for observation. in fact there were so many and they are so finely merged with reality that a few trips through the space and you are still likely to miss some of the creations. sitting on a bright red bench amid the colours and textures was a rasta looking guy contently typing away on an antique green typewriter. it all looked unreal. my curious nature had me sitting on the bench and i struck up a conversation. he possessed a strong energy and exuded grounding calm. i learned that he was on an exciting journey, physically and spiritually. starting in anchorage alaska he has made his way south with his ultimate goal in mind, argentina! after spending 10 years in the telecommunications industry in italy, realizing that happiness was not achieved through financial gain and amassing material possessions he quit his job, discarded his techno gadgets and set off on an adventure to discover himself and the world. as he made his way south he was struck with the urge to write a book, not on his travels per se but on his emotional experiences and his connection to the earth. buying a typewriter his thoughts were put to paper. physically weighed down by the antiquated machine his was lighted by the process. we chatted for a short amount of time, especially in the context of our time on the earth but that does not lessen the impact he had on me and, i think, the impression i left on him. inspired by his sense of adventure and his desire to see and do more than the vast majority ever dream of let alone do.
since meeting him in havana 1 year ago phillipe has finished his epic journey from pole to pole, or as close as one can get in an old toyota corolla. i won't claim that all i've achieved in my personal journey of understanding is attributed to his meeting, a 20-minute conversation with a stranger. but i'd be a fool to ignore the impact of our meeting in my evolution of understanding. as we are continually on this road of life it ultimately amounts to our collective experiences varied in importance and impact helping to guide us as we continue on our way.