02 Jun, 2010 | Posted by: photosource

My Story


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When youíre on a trip like this and youíre meeting people who youíre going to depend on for a night or so, and youíve never seen them before, or they donít know anyone who knows you, it makes you feel alone, even though thereís people all around you. It gives you a feeling of really being alone, -insecure.

If you could remain with them like for a month or so and get to know them, their quirks and all, youíd get to feel more secure. So with meeting new people all the time like we were doing and starting all over again with the new people all the time, it gives you like a vacant feeling. At least it did for me.

Most people donít choose to have a life like that. They keep doing what theyíre doing, even though theyíre not satisfied with their life, -even if itís deteriorating.

Many times people would say to us, ďOh! You guys got it good! Youíve got the perfect deal. Always traveling. Meeting new people. It must be fun!Ē

Not so. ďIíd like to say back to them, ďNo, you are the ones that got it good. You are secure with your life, your friends, your relatives and friends of friends. Youíre doing it right. You donít have this strange curiosity to want to know how the world works, how other people are doing things, making on with life.Ē
And those people would like to say back to me, ďYou donít know what my life is like, what Iím struggling with, what the future looks like for me. Iím scared.Ē

Yes, a trip like this is a roller coaster.
Itís uncomfortable. You come to a new farm, a new village, and new people. Itís all strange to you. And itís strange too, for the people you meet. The only thing thatís consistent is the people Ėtheyíre human just like you. Thatís about the only thing thatís the same. So you have that to begin with. And you go from there.

The nice thing about all this for a curious guy like me is I can borrow. I can see what people are doing in their life and if it rings true, I can incorporate it into my own life right now and in the future. And I can also see what really dumb things people are doing, I can ignore them, and if Iím doing them myself I see how dumb it looks. These things I witness are gifts for me that help me eliminate some of the loneliness I feel on this trip. Makes it worthwhile.

Oh well, so far, I have already absorbed fragments of ideas ab out getting on with life. During gray periods when nothing was happening I was saying to myself, ďSomething big is going to happen. Maybe some revelation, some kind of an epiphany, something that will point me in the right direction, and itís going to all snap into place. Iím going to see the world in a new and different way.Ē

Well it did happen down in the south of France. It was in Arles, in Provence, along the Rhone River, down near the coast, the Mediterranean. It was the place where VanGogh made a lot of his paintings. It was an area where the Romans, back before Christianity had come along, had established themselves as a powerhouse. They brought new ideas to the peasants and tribes in the area. The place became a trading post on the route from Rome to Spain.

Things were humming, the Romans even built an amphitheater in Arles and of course they could do that with all the slave labor they got from their conquests.
The amphitheater was almost as big as the coliseum in Rome that you see in the tourist brochures.

You can imagine all the excitement that building brought to the town, or I guess in those days you could call it a city, maybe about 20,000 people. And Arles mustíve had everything that you can expect in a city that size: the royalty, the military, the clergy, the fast lane people, the barons, the slaves, the homeless, the arts, and all that.

And then it fell all apart around the fifth century. I mean when the Roman Empire fell, everything fell. Of course, it was gradual. Like everything that falls apart, you donít know itís happening Ďtil someone taps on your shoulder and tells you so. The vandals, the barbarians came in and tore up everything. Busted up the statues. They left a few towers and pagan shrines that still stand today.
Since there was no longer any progress going on, no schools, no commerce, the city of Arles shrunk back down to a village again. Prosperity vanished and was replaced by the tribes quarreling amongst each other and with other tribes. These vandals couldnít destroy everything of course. They let the wooden seats in the amphitheater fall apart and rot and eventually the townspeople appropriated much of the marble and stone from the amphitheater to build their own nearby lean-tos and shelters and temples. The magnificent times were gone.

I remember in college, they called it the Dark Ages. Everything shrank to rubble and stench. The town mustíve looked like a dirty olí ashtray.

But the human spirit was still there, and canít be squelched, as they say.

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