This journey to step out into the greater world incubated in the fantasy of my mind. Stemming from my love of history for all the far off places of grandeour where great battles shock the world, nations clashed, towering dynasties were born and died, its enigma loomed. Would I ever get to experience these places in all thier richness, my senses overwhelmed by the lingering auroas from events centuries past?
Would I see where the great Hannibal marched his army of elephants over the Alps, crushing the Romans at Trebia and Cannae? Would I see where his capital city of Carthage once stood? Would I see the great beacon of Constantinopal which held the last hopes of the Roman empire alive for centuries, contained the knowledge of the world in vast libraries and sat as the bridge between Europe and Asia? Picturing myself gazing upward toward the dome of the amazing Haga-Sophia had been something I thought of since the age of thirteen. These historical motives - as pivotal as they were in aspiring my youthful curiousity of travel - did not remain my principle motives as I grew older.
I found myself driven to differences in culture, sturctures of power, political and social philosophies and schools of thought that differed bewteen periods of time, history and curcumstances of socieites. I came to understand the greater context, within the defining of the human struggle has taken shape. My greatest interest lies in how these struggles have defined their societies and people, with the possiblity of gaining insights into understanding the struggles going on within my own. The past is painted by the hands of many truth.
I have alway been compelled by the struggle between the empowered masses and the status quo elite. What is this socialized form of government that entrenches vast parts of Europe and South America? How does it compare and contrast with the psyche of individualism and independence of the American Protestant Work ethic? What divinely inspires the Janists to treasure all life with such devotion that they sweep the path before them as they walk?
For me there has always been a curiosity of the depth of human benevalance towards their fellow man. Likewise, an interest in being exposed to the simpliest of humanities pleasures, drives me to far of places where the comforts of western life are forgotten along long desolate expanse of roads hitchhiking. Can your definitions of trust and simplicity of life be stripped any barer than to travel with all of life's frivilious contents upon your back? All this while dependent upon the fickle will of another to bring you to safe harbor. These are the conditions upon which the palette of life allows one to paint the character of the soul.
As cliche as it sounds, I think we have lost our sense of selflessness. To me the definition of greatness within a society lies in measuring its attitude toward its least fortunate. The ailments of living for the benefit of oneself and oneself alone characterize a great rift that I believe is the cause of much of our lack of ability to empathize, communcate and guide our societies. We have come to pass the responsbility to others to do our governing and decide where our collective energies, ideas, ingenuities and greatnesses lie. In essence, we have lost faith in our ability to govern ourselves - the core principle of Democracy and for those Americans out there the purest and simplest catalyst for the creation of our Constitution.
There are a great many issues which one way or another must be addressed and in one form or another will be sorted out - governments collapsing, financial markets in chaos, climate change debates, corporate/democratic power shifts, wealth inequalities, depletion of our resources. There is seemingly no end to the list and there are as many explantions as there are problems. As odd as it might sound these musings were the final impetus I had for setting off. Most of these issues are being answered all over the world to varying degrees and there is a wealth of information in the viewpoints and actions of citizens from all walks of life.
It is these actions taken by individuals and groups working to collectively solve their problems to benefit everyone which interest me the most. I am a firm believer in Democratic values and the personal responsbility that each person has as a citizen to better their own lot in life while enriching the society they live in. I am to reach my own conclusions based not on the short sighted and increaingly innaccurate and biased media (which serve neither the left or right but serves to creat fear and scapegoats), but from the people I met along the road, the couchsurfers I stay with and the different voluntering opportunities which give me new skills and ways of thinking.