Train Rides - a poem

So this is what happens when I drink too much coffee and stay up past my bedtime.

It feels Kerouac-y and I like it. 


Life IS living on a sleeper train and jumping from bus to bus scraping just enough together to get to the next destination. There is a certain romance about eating at gas stations, peeing in the woods and not knowing where your next bed is. My heart beats a little louder for people living out of their van, making breakfast out of their trunk in the morning dew in the soft light of a sunrise. Life isn't planning. Life is living for exactly what you want. Not saving up for someday. Someday is a disease that will take your dreams to their graves, graffiti told us on the cement walls of one of our Vietnamese hostels. Bright shades of wisdom from aerosol cans.


In a dirty hostel somewhere in Vinh, we ran into Mike Wadleigh, the creator of the Woodstock documentary. He's gathering data on climate change, he told John. He seemed impressed with our story and told us to expose the lie by living the example. 'You don't need all that money,' he told us before putting on his oversized white helmet and riding off on a motorcycle (only after chatting with us about how the lead guitarist from queen is an astrophysicist and Iggy Pop is one of the smartest men he knows and lectures about life.) I thanked him for the documentary and told him how my generation of people were able to experience Woodstock because of his work. Music is not what it used to be, and a lot of people know that. Mike Wadleigh is 74 and looks not a day over 60 and is a self professed hippie and I love him. There is a serenity in his eyes and a tone in his voice I've never seen or heard before. Expose the lie. We will Mike, I hope we meet again.


'This is the lifeblood, the essence that runs through my veins' I think, as I type this swaying back and forth in my top bunk in a sleeper train headed to north Vietnam in hopes of better weather. We've been rained out of central Vietnam with only 8 more days left on our visas. I'm high on life and way to much coffee this evening. The lurching of the train shakes my already rattled bones.



I go for a late night cigarette in the bathroom but there's someone in there. The train swishes and sways back and forth and I'm nearly thrown into the doors, or out the doors, rather. I look out the windows on both sides and the world whizzes by as I just try to keep my balance. Ahhh such is life.

Finally I find a different bathroom but the door won't shut  I try and I try but the deadbolt just won't lock until I look down and realize I haven't even closed the door all the way. There's something cool about smoking a cigarette in a bathroom on a moving train somewhere in Vietnam, there's something about looking at the lights passing by in the darkness that's extremely calming amidst the chaos.


Purity is not for me, I think taking a drag off my cigarette, I still consider myself spiritual. I fell down that rabbit hole once and came out the same old Alice.



I told Sammie once when we were high sitting in the floor of my first apartment: we have a life we live, and then we have another life, our real life, dragging us by the hair, shouting and screaming our passions in our face saying 'follow me!!!! I know the antidote for the poison in your soul! That 9-5 job you call safety is actually a noose!'



The kids here love us, that being said some of the really young ones are terrified of us. Ironically for the same reasons: John is tall and I am tattooed. We're a walking American zoo. You can look but don't touch the animals, they're wild & they may bite.


I haven't taken too many selfies on this trip. Sometimes I think it's a good thing to not know what you look like. Acne eats away at your soul just like it does your skin. I wonder sometimes what's left. But then I took a picture of myself on purpose trying to show my scars instead of hide them. So I could stare into what I perceive as negative and love it anyways. So I could work deeper into loving my light and darkness both internal and external. John says I can't take the bad with the good. He's right. 



The most moving thing I've seen on my trip was a young violinist at the train station in Bangkok. He played beautifully and had a speaker behind him playing piano to go with his violin. John and I stopped to watch for a very long time and after a while a shoeless blind man walked all the way up god knows where finding his way by holding onto the railing and stepping one foot in front of the other and he found this boy and reached for his violin and asked him something in Thai. I have no idea what. But the vibration of the music and the frequency of emotion filled the air and I was moved. The simple things we can miss if we're in a hurry in our day to day vs the things we witness when we have no plans at all.



A tumbleweeds the life for me. 


I'm a good writer when I'm properly caffeinated. The Vietnamese do coffee well.

begin at the beginning and go on


Planes, trains and automobiles, or rather in our case: automobiles, trains & planes. From saying farewell to our roomies, fur babies and friends, we depart from San Diego with only our packs and far flung hopes for the long journey ahead.

We bid goodnight & good luck to sleepy Southern California while preparing for the long flight ahead, Lizzie-bound, to the other side of the world to visit my friend from college who's been living in and loving China for a number of years. 

The tops of palm trees hang in the cotton candy skyline of Los Angeles, we watch the sun, from a bus window stuck in LA traffic, gently set over the Pacific Ocean. We await our sun rise over foreign land; two days ahead of us separated by only 22 hours. 

Airports are always high energy and exciting to me. The quote from Love, Actualy always rings in my ears as soon as I step inside: "Whenever I get gloomy with the state of the world, I think about the arrivals gate at Heathrow Airport. General opinion's starting to make out that we live in a world of hatred and greed, but I don't see that. It seems to me that love is everywhere." Both me & John are feeling bright eyed and bushy tailed as we wait in line. Wearing the high-collared neck pillow I feel like a rattlesnake (naturally) and begin my best interpretive dance as such. 

The check-in guy at security looks excited for mine & John's trip, in fact, most people do. We are The Backpackers, people respect and fear us. He asks 'how this backpacking thing works' and we respond 'we're about to find out!'