Adventure, Travel & Pilgrimage –
As I’m sure I’ve already written here a few times, I love random road-trips, spontaneous open-road overland excursions. I also love pre-planned expeditions.
In much earlier years, I often undertook many such journeys, planned and unplanned, sometimes on my own, sometimes with a friend or two, but I always preferred to share such excursions with only a special romantic female companion–a girlfriend. Somewhat later, during the many wonderful years I was married, my partner & I enjoyed lots of adventures on the road. We seriously considered moving full-time into a camper-van, giving up our “stable” home, and making a road-van our only home. But, for better or worse, we decided we both preferred to have a stable (non-mobile) place somewhere to which we could retreat for at least part of every year, same place every year, wherever we might travel in the meantime and for however long at a stretch. Part of the trouble was settling on any one place we liked enough, and could afford well enough, to stake-out as our non-mobile home, and still have financial and situational fluidity to get our travel desires met on a semi-regular basis.
Now that I’m single again (widowed), I sometimes again feel like just living out of a camper van, but at the same time it continues to be comforting in some ways to have a stable place somewhere.
Meanwhile, I continue these days to feel like spending more time traveling around than I am able to do comfortably just now. Hopefully, the future will lead to many more open road-trips. And yes, as I constantly mention, I would much prefer to be once again in a companionable, exciting, romantic partnership, enjoying rich close ideal company at home and on the road. Well, some day soon, I hope and trust…
Also meanwhile, one of the road-trip adventure categories I sometimes fantasize about indulging in (again) in a fairly big way, is that of attending various kinds of festivals—film, music, art, book festivals, etc,—even though there is a part of me that generally dislikes big crowds. It’s not so much the huge crush of people who attend such popular festivals that I dislike, although that can be a bit disconcerting at times. It’s much more a matter of all the drinking, and smoking (tobacco & weed) that tends to go on among crowds of folks in attendance at large (and also small) festivals.
Although I’ve never been a drinker, smoker, or toker, I used to be able to handle being temporarily in festival crowds without too much discomfort due to the ambient smoke-&-drink “air pollution”-&-under-the-influence group mind-state “vibrational alteration.” But these days my system is much less “tolerant.” Attitudinally, I’ve never minded folks indulging, so long as they stop well short of any sort of violent tendencies, or wave-surges of a potential trampling-threat. And naturally I can’t stand the idea of folks getting behind the wheel while under the influence, which of course is how many of them eventually depart such venues (at least the major outdoor music fests), and all too often also how they will have arrived as well.
Bad things definitely can and sometimes do happen when big crowds are gathered, especially when various substances are involved. I’ve experienced my share of observing that in the distant past. But for the most part, cultural festival gatherings can be a lot of fun. Such fests are just one of the several kinds of road-trip adventures I sometimes like, but it is one I have been thinking about quite a bit lately. I’ve often thought if I had lots of money and no responsibilities, I would enjoy taking an entire year just camping and traveling from one festival to another right across the seasons. Seems like it would be a lot of fun. But of course hugely expensive….
Anyway, it’s a pleasant fantasy. And it may be possible to venture-forth on at least one or two such roadtrip-related quests this year and the next. I’m including here a list I’ve compiled of some of the sorts of fests I’ve been thinking about lately. Naturally I especially love to visit spiritually-centered gatherings, public teaching events by various living saints and other traditional spiritual elders, as well as Sufi camps, Yoga camps, Bhakti fests, Shakti fests, Kumbha Melas, etc. Not only is the smoking and drinking less-to-nonexistant at such spirituality-related events, but often the food is more to my liking as well! I must say, however, that as a life-long vegetarian I have found that the quality, quantity, and selection of vegetarian food available at many music, art, film, book, and other sorts of public festivals has improved dramatically over the past several years. But you often still have to wade past a lot of horrible stinky smoking meat-&-bone oven stalls (yuck!) to get to a decent food stall.
In addition to attending various kinds of arts-&-cultural festivals, I also very much enjoy quietly journeying to, in, & through sacred landscapes, camping at natural beauty spots & natural/sacred energy centers, and visiting many kinds of spiritual/ cultural shrines & centers. Though I love making retreat-camp in scenic and magical natural beauty spots, I also love exploring artists’ colonies, small hippie towns, small college towns. Although I mostly don’t care for being in big cities for any length of time at this point, I still do sometimes enjoy stays in major university-cluster urban centers like Boston-Cambridge. I like opportunities to visit major urban museums and gallery openings, as well as obscure local smaller museums, gallery openings, funky indie bookstores, book launches, historic landmarks, tomb-shrines of famous historic yogi-saints, etc. And my most favorite road-trips involve visits to living personal heroes: peacemakers & other activists, poets/artists, public intellectuals, traditional spiritual adepts & elders, hermit monks & nuns, living saints, etc.
The wonders of a journey consist far more of intangible
experiences and unexpected situations than of factual
things and events of material reality.
—Lama Anagarika Govinda
We live in a wonderful world that is full of beauty, charm,
and adventure. There is no end to the adventures we can
have if only we seek them with our eyes open.
A good traveler has no fixed plans and is not intent on arriving.
Here is another section (M-R) of my list of some fave places:
Maastricht, Madison, Madrid NM, Majorca, Manali, Mani, Manitou Springs, Manoa, Mariposa, Marshall, Mauna Kea, Mcleod Ganj, McCloud, Melbourne, Mendonesia, Menlo Park, Middlebury, Mill Valley, Milwaukee, the Mission, Mission Beach, Moab, Monomanock, Montreal, Moosewood, Mora, Morgantown, Morro Bay, Mt Athos, Mt Barnabe, Mt Benson, Mt Kailash, Mt Laguna, Mt Palomar, Mt Ronda, Mount St Desert Island, Mt Shasta, Mt Tam, Mountain Center, Mountain View, Mt Vision, Muir Beach, Muir Woods,
Nainital, Napoli, Narai, Navarro, Nelson, Nevada City, Newcastle Island, New Hope, New Paltz, New Town, Nicks Cove, Nimbin, Ninole, NoCoCo, Noe Valley, Normal Heights, North Beach, North Island, North Park, North San Juan Ridge, the North Shore, Nosy Ankao, Nuns Leap,
Oak Creek, OB, Occidental, Oceano, Ojai, Old Town, Olema, Olympia, Ouray,
Pacific Grove, Pacific Heights, Pahoa, Pai, Paia, Palma, Palto, Pancake Flat, Paradise Cay, Partington Ridge, Paso Picacho, Patagonia, PB, Pemakod, Penngrove, Petaluma, Petrolia, Philo, the Piedmont, Pie Town, Pine Valley, Pismo Beach, Plainfield, the Poconos, Point Loma, Point Reyes, Point Reyes Station, Pokhara, Poland Spring, Port Arena, Port Costa, Port Townsend, Portland OR, Portland ME, Prescott, Princeton, Princeville, Puri,
Radnor, Rainbow, Ramona, Ranchos de Albuquerque, Rancho Santa Fe, Rattlesnake Mountain, Reno, Reykjavik, Rishikesh, Rive Gauche, Rockies, Rockridge, Rogers Park, Roma, Rosalyn, Rose Apple Tree Island, Russian Hill….
Some Festivals in 2016
Jan 21-31 Sundance Film Fest
Feb 20-28 Sedona Film Fest
Mar 3-6 Boulder International Film Festival
Mar 14 Banff Film Tour, Sedona
Mar 15-20 SLO Film Fest
April 15-19 Plein Air Convention & Expo Tucson
April 15-24 Coachella Valley Music Fest
May 13-15 Shakti Fest Joshua Tree
May 17-21 Festival of Faiths, Sacred Wisdom, Pathways to Non-Violence, Louisville, KY
Five day celebration with dialogue, music, poetry, film, and the arts that explores how sacred wisdom addresses violence.
May 18-28 San Diego Surf Film Fest
May 20-22 Overland Expo Flagstaff
May 27-30 Telluride Mountainfilm Fest
May 29 – Jun 2 Seattle Film Fest
June 18-19 Flagstaff Folk Fest
Aug 21-28 Port Angeles WA Plein Air Fest Paint the Peninsula
Aug 28 – Sept 5 Burning Man
Sept 7-12 Bhakti Fest Joshua Tree
Sept 16-18 Flagstaff Bluegrass Fest Pickin in the Pines
Sept 19–25 Mendocino Plein Air Paint Out
Sept. 24 & 25 Julian Apple Days
Oct 7-14 Plein Air Fest Acadia Ntl Park, Maine Fall Color Week
Oct 21-23 Bioneeers Conference San Rafael
Oct 29 – Nov 6 Banff Film and Book Fest
If you know of other festivals in 2016 that you think I should know about, drop me a line! Do you have any travel plans this year? Where are you planning to go? Where would you most like to go?