This Hitchhiking around the world began August, 2009
Velabas is meant to give me space to explore the world through writing and drawing, and to share it with strangers. This is about life, discovery and learning, and it’s about critique of the status quo. I think I’m hitchhiking around the world, but I’m not sure. I began hitchhiking because I didn’t have the funds to travel long-term otherwise, but now I hitchhike because I learn from the experiences it brings. I also hitchhike because it offers me an at times uncomfortable place on the fringe of the socially acceptable, from where I can more accurately critique, question and learn from our systems and cultures.
Writing on Velabas since August, 2010
This is a continuous travel narrative. You will not find unrelated posts here, but rather sequential entries that pick up where the previous left off. It’s an endless first draft, filled with spelling and grammar mistakes. I began writing sensationalist bloggy copy quickly in internet cafes, but over time I’ve developed the writing into something more novel, and the time afforded me thanks to a computer has allowed me to develop as a writer. Early entries skim the surface, while newer entries dive ever deeper into the writing. There’s imagery mixed with introspection and rhetoric, and the techniques
employed are the best my writing abilities will allow at the time. This whole website is the evolution, and hopefully, the betterment of my oft allegorical art, over time, from the simplistic tendencies of my beginnings to whatever end. I write for myself, to remember, and for my family, to follow me. I also write for strangers. The entries are long, and sometimes you will not find an entry for months at a time. This is not for 21st century attention spans, nor are the posts optimal for internet reading. It would be better to print out the posts and read them as a packet.
Drawing during the voyage since December, 2009.
I carry a small SD camera card to slide into others’ cameras when the opportunity presents itself. Instead of a camera, I carry pencil and paper to create travel drawings. They are usually quick sketches to give an idea of place. It forces me to sit and look at something for a longer time, and maybe it’s a good thing.
I’m the author, but I decided that you know me too easily. So I destroyed my personal history from this page. If you want to know why I built the website in general, know that I wanted a space where I could control every aspect of the content. In a digital age a presence in cyberspace is important, but existing sites where you have “profiles” limit your freedom. If you want to learn about my past, you’ll have to read the entries and deduce it for yourself. Suffice it to know that I was born in 1986, in Chicago.
I’m not trying to ‘complete’ anything, and I have no time limit. I’m not traveling for charity or trying to raise awareness for a cause. Nor is there a telic ‘challenge’ here; it’s just movement and life. I might be traveling around the world, but it doesn’t have to happen in one go. I return home when I feel like it, and for all the right reasons.
There is no route, and there is no plan. I have the idea of the world in my head, but I prefer the present. Look at the map to see where this voyage has gone, but remember that I’m not so sure where it’s going.
This is not a blog. For the blog section of this website, click here. “Blog” was once short for “weblog”. This is a weblog insofar as writing narrative prose can be considered logging; however, it is not a “blog”. Over the course of internet history the word “blog” has changed to come to represent, at least in the world of travel blogs, a certain affinity toward writing superficial and prosaic articles about destinations, travel advice, 7 Hot Hotel Deals and Here’s What I Ate for Breakfast. Travel bloggers all have the same story about having quit their corporate job, they’re always “20-somethings”, they insist that this is my lifestyle, and you can do it too, and they want you to follow your dreams. That’s all well and good. This website is different. I sound cynical only because I wish there was more diversity in what and how travelers expound their experiences online.
Another difference is that travel bloggers tend to fill their sites with advertisements and other material that “sponsers” pay them to embed. You will not find that here. In my mind, “travel bloggers”, who are also always writing How to Make Money Online, use writing for the singular purpose of raising funds. They make money online by convincing you that their articles are somehow going to help you, when in fact they’re simply hype and keyword-packed SEO optimized BS. Well, I concede that I do get pulled in sometimes to write blog posts myself.
But you will not find any of it here. I will not interlace my writing with unrelated keywords and promotions. I don’t want donations. I don’t want sponsors. And I simply dislike the “bloggy” language, and hit myself whenever a post is shaping up like that. For these reasons and more, I’m offended when Velabas is called a blog. Though, I understand the complaint: but what am I supposed to call it?
The purpose here, conversely to the common travel blog, is to truly write, to find that balance between art and entertainment where meaningful passion is harnessed creatively for the betterment of discovery, learning and transmutation of knowledge, and in a way which is not only memorable but also intellectually and artistically exploratory.
Throughout the writing you can find out the different ways I make money. Mostly, though, I simply don’t spend much. I am fluent in SEO (Search Engine Optimization); I could create a website to rank high enough on Google’s index to get advertisements’ passive income flow. I can sit and write heavily once more as a freelancer, which I have done and do do when I stop in cities from time to time. But you need to understand that contrary to an initial belief some folks might have of what exactly my life now represents, I choose not to enter a workforce of any one kind. I want total adaptability in most circumstances. I want to be able to adapt to any lifestyle, to truly and ineluctably ration myself for the experience of life in all its forms. This travel is not for pomp and leisure. I do not travel looking for fun. Although a minimum of happiness keeps me on the road, I do not travel for happiness either. I travel because I want to personify my belief in art as an expression of truth. Minimalism, movement as principle, adaptation in order to truly understand a different way of living or world view by sharing in the lives of people with a mind as objective as it will permit without sacrificing passion. By writing on Velabas I make one single concession that I construe as hindering my own authenticity: I am writing online, publicly. Though, the writing is authentic, and my purpose good. To engage myself in writing a “blog” for money, for sponsors, for clout in the “travel industry”, I would be writing more for higher readership and aesthetic value, and not for truth. I know how to make money with this site, and I reject it. Money is a necessity in life, but to the extent that I am able to reduce its presence in my relationships with people or in the process of my writing, I will. I hope this website serves as an example of a meaningful alternative of travel copy to the blandness that the combination of modern attention spans and “vacationing” so often afford.
Travel versus Vacationing
I see the worth in vacationing for a people trapped in the office life whose daily conversations include how desiring they are of the day ending quickly, or of how monotonous the workload is. I also see the necessity of the work being done. Your work has to be done by someone, for someone. Good for those of you who can develop techniques to cope or who have managed to get a good enough salary to find a balance between work and happy life that you are comfortable in. I do not write to convince the world to stop what they’re doing and hitchhike around like a bum. Keep your day job. If you’re thinking, “what makes you so special that you can shirk responsibilities in the work ethic of the modern world,” then I say to you nothing. Anyone can travel. Anyone can hitchhike. Anyone can write. The difference is that I do. I’m not better than anyone for it. But do not equate my wandering with the lack of a work ethic. What I see when I consider myself as a mid-20s young professional is a story that bores me. The same story. Career, more money, coupling, kids, suburbs, hobbies but there’s never enough time, make-a-better-world-for-our-children, and then the pattern repeats. There’s love, there’s happiness, there’s stress as with everything, there’s fulfillment. That’s life. Life is beautiful. Life is hard. The same advice from the same mouths. Stone against stone. I am not immune to the progress of our psychology–loneliness, companionship, children, you-don’t-know-life-if-you-don’t-have-kids, yes, then regret, I-do-not-regret, I would have liked to-. But wanderlust is a young beast and I am still young. So I’ll go, and if or when one day I stop and become sedentary and join the world of career and family, it will be because I want to, and no one will say to me that they told me so, because I’m bursting with pride.
So I write not to tell you off of your plan. It’s a good, happy plan. But I write for the art of it. Grandiose–life lived as art. Mine is a small life, but by living it with passion unhindered, exploring it through art, and sharing it all, maybe some communal good will come of it.
If you have read the above, I hope I’ve struck the right key. You have an opinion, and the best thing that you can do is share it with me. Contact me, and do not hold back anything. Maybe you will tell me something I had not considered, or maybe you will tell me something that will make me edit the above to clarify what I mean. Write me.