Thumbs Up! David Choe and the Poetry of Ksemendra

David Choe is one of the most talented visual artists of our generation. He has documented his travels by hitch-hiking across the world.  Not necessarily to reach a specific destination so much as meet everyday people along the way.  His engaging light-hearted humor and easy manner make for great listening while you work.  I hope you find inspiration for travels of your own in his videos:

Online Hitch-hiking Community (don’t do this by yourself…jumping even slow moving freight-trains is extraordinarily dangerous; pros get on at the back, they never climb aboard even gradually moving walking-pace trains. What happens is: when you begin to lift yourself into a boxcar your legs swing under the carriage, leaving half of your body hanging over the tracks with nothing to push your feet off of…you hang there for maybe even several hours before dropping to be cut in half across the rails. Don’t jump on slow moving trains; only get on stopped trains, travel with friends.)

This is my favorite poem by far, written during the 1150s in Kashmir by a poet named Ksemendra:

Poets should learn with their eyes 
the forms of leaves. 
They should know how to make people laugh
when all are together.
They should get to see what people are really like.
They should know about oceans and mountains
in themselves,
and the sun and the moon and the stars.
Their minds should enter into the seasons.
They should go among many people in many places,
and learn their languages. 

My own small light-weight backpack named Henrietta…she usually carries little more than a pair of convertible short/long-pants, a shirt, a lot of socks, tooth brush/toothpaste, and books found and traded along the way. We travel very, very, verrrrry fast. Overnight trains and night-busses are a way to meet locals and move quickly over long distances. (Henrietta is Canadian, I am not…she thought the flag would be a good idea after the start of the Iraq war but most people overseas are extremely welcoming so it has not proven necessary…and…most foreigners think Canada is part of America anyway, as in: “Canada? Oh! New York City!”