Friday, August 28, 2009

A Day of Love in the City of Love

Yesterday my lover Peggy came to visit me from far away Germany. How does one visit a homeless person however? For that matter, how does a vagabond host a guest? Surely, one would think Peggy a little crazy to come all the way from Berlin without any plan, itinerary or place to stay.

Peggy's audacity and courage warms my heart.

No less than four of my Italian friends have been conspiring to help bring us together. Steve has been connecting me with all the right people to get me and Peggy to his Festone Festival. Irina saw me off from Florence. Rossela drove me to the train station and made all the right phone calls. Stefano invited Peggy and I to meet and to visit him in Verona on our way up.

And... Peggy and I have been having the most wonderfully amazing and romantic time!

Quite aptly, Verona, is the city of Love. This is where Romeo and Juliet galavanted through the cobblestone roads and sang from the balconies and gardens. This is also where, hand in hand Peggy and I walked past the ancient roman building, through the magnificent churches and over the elegant bridges.

The great thing is that Peggy really had no idea what she was getting into. She thought she was coming to a busy and modern Italian metropolis. She thought we would be staying in an urban apartment for the night, or in a tent in a cramped camp ground.

Ladies and gentlemen, I write this from the patio of Stefano's villa on Lake Gardia! Nestled between soaring cliffs, surrounded by olive orchards and vineyards, we drink our coffee with a great view of the expansive lake. After a beautiful night together, we walked barefoot this morning to forage our breakfast from the fruit trees.

I have to admit that I was a little worried where Peggy and I would stay. Yet, I had a definite feeling that given Peggy was making such a leap to follow her heart, the Universe surely had an abundance of blessings in store for her.

As I look up from my writing into her love-filled blue eyes, and she smiles. I smile.


Monday, August 24, 2009

Sea Shell Mandala

The other day I was treated to a magnificent meal with my new friends Rossela, Irina and Sofia here in Florence.

After our supper of fresh muscles, pasta and a rich white wine and parsely sauce (magnifico!) the conversation turned to mandalas. I tried to explain what Mandalas are. I started talking excitedly about sacred geometry, consciousness raising and Tibet. I obviously wasn't doing a very good job explaining, because Rossela looked over at me at little confusedand asked:

"Ok... but what really is a mandala?"

Mandalas, when it comes down to it are really simple!

So, I looked over at the bowl of empty muscles. A picture is worth a 1000 words right? A mandala of muscles must be worth at least 1500! This helped clarify things.

Unfortunately, now they're going to have to wash the table cloth!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

I have an iDream

On a mountain top in Tuscay I gathered the courage and wrote this e-mail to two friends helping with the Mandala project. Its the culmination of two month of thought and it makes a collosally scary endeavour for me: Giving up my computer! I will surely be writing more on this transition as it occurs.

I thought I would share it here. Already I have two offers, so posting this is more philosophical than marketerial. But please, drop me a line if you're interested.


Dear S & S,

I have a dream!

I dream that using nothing but a little iPhone I can orchestrate our planetary collaborative project (the 1Mandala) as a cycle the world sharing and inspiring peace.

By only having an iPhone to work with, it will compell the project to a new height of collaboration. No longer will able to be in the centre. No longer will I be able to type long e-mails. Instead, I will talk and skype-- richer forms of communicating I beleive.

It is time to manifest this dream. I would like to sell or trade in my iPod touch and MacBook for an iPhone 3GS 32GB.

Italy is the place. It is the only country in the world where you can buy an unlocked iPhone on apple warranty. Warranty for me is crucial given the demands of my journey. I am on iPod touch replacement number three!

I also dream of a MacBook air for the project. The MacBook air would not necessarily travel with me however. It would rest with someone on the 1Team. When I arrive at key locations it would be shipped so that I can orchestrate the building of the actual 1mandala using the adobe cs4 package.

My MacBook is in rough shape but it is worth an iphne 3gs still. Plus there is my iPod touch.

As you may imagine, this a HUGELY scary step for me! It will be the first time in almost two decades that I won't have a computer. This little email has been drafted in my inbox for over two weeks as I have gathered the courage to send it.

Just putting this in writting to you guys is a big help. Maybe you would know someone interested in a MacBook air or iPod touch or MacBook? Maybe through Nuovo Mondo?

Steve maybe manifesting the Macbook air and your dream of a mobile lifestyle is where our dreams coincide!

Thank you brothers!


on a star blanketed mountaintop in Tuscany

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Camping in Tuscany: Reposting

My goodness! Its literally one adventure after another. This was my gorgeous camp site a day or two ago. And then last night I had another total adventure-- I slept in a 10th century roman church! More on that in the next post.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Mandala Making Merryness in Pianora

Honestly, I find teenagers a little scary. They talk so fast, they are always laughing and they are so much cooler than I.

The last two days I took a little break in Pianoro Italy. Catia and Filipo heared I was coming through and spontaneously offered to host me. We had an amazing time!

I have been learning to make pizza, dancing in the piazza, jamming with my flute with Filipo and familiy, eating the most amazing cicilian culinary concoctions, drnking great coffee and wine and making Mandalas with 5 teenagers!

It all started over Icecream together with Aurora, their 12 year old daughter. I pulled out my iPod to show a photo and aurora leaned over fascinated and... the ice was broken!

Aurora and her friend were fascinated with photos of my trip-- well, maybe they were a little more fascinated by my iPods touch screen! They had lots of questions and managed to slow down their speak for me to capisce.

Then, they introduced me to more of their friends! We got talking about Mandalas and I had the crazy idea to invite them over for a mandala making session.

It was tons of fun! I got one done (I used lots of hearts) and they got at least 2 or 3! Catia joined in and did a beautiful one also.

Thanks guys for helping me not be so scared of you and your generation!


105 Percent

I played alot of video games as a kid. I think that is where it must
come from.

During my life I have often run a little system check to see how
healthy I am. I feel out my body and I give my health a number.
Just like in Doom or other games where as you're character gets shot
up his health goes down.

So for the last two years of so my heath has been anywhere from 80 to
99 percent. Little things like colds, muscle pains, sniffles, stress,
or tooth aches, they would keep me shy of 100%.

The other day however, my system was shattered!

Cruising down an Italian road, beautiful landscape, fresh air, blue
sky, my favorite music playing, my lovers on my mind, I ran my system
test. The answer blew me away. Not only am I in total perfect
health, but I am even better:


Why am I sharing this on my blog? First, maybe my Mum won't worry
about me so much! However, its is also because I am genuinely
shocked. Back in comfortable Canada I never thought I could be this
healthy. The idea of being healthier than 100% never even occured to
me. I want to share the fact that this state is actually possible!

I have been thinking about this for a few days now-- I think it has to
do with a convergence of three things: Health of mind, body and soul.

Body: I am eating Magnificently-- the meals I eat are prepared with
love and with organic homemade or homegrown ingredients-- with the
family's I stay at or visit. I simply grab fresh fruit and grapes
from trees as I travel through country roads . Vegetables come from
the farmers I meet. I am outside in the fresh air doing gentle yet
extensive exercise each day. I meditate and do yoga each morning.

Mind: I read somewhere that the more you challenge your mind the
happier you are. Well, my mind s on FULL raging stimulus! First, I
working out the logistics of a planetary collaborative project each
day as I pedal. I am writing and speaking in at least 4 or 5
languages daily. And of course, I am continuously compelled to learn
more Italian in order to ask for water and chit chat..

Mama mia! What a mind trip that is!

I looooovee it. And so does my mind and my body. Both are rising to
the challenge.

Then of course, there's the third element: Soul.

I am choosing to do exactly what I Love to do. I am following my
heart. I am loving and am loved by so many people its positively
luminous. My friends and family and lovers send me so many good
wishes. I get the niceness e-mails and the biggest hugs. My
biggest fears and insecurities I am tackling and actually sharing
publically. I write everything I feel and think on this blog. I
have nothing to hide! It is ALL out in the open. Wow... that is a
great feeling.

Its funny how my playing video games actually defined and
conceptualized my notion of what it means to healthy. The idea that
we can only be "100%" and that 100% = is purely a physical bodily
thing-- i.e. not being shot up!

Instead of shooter games, someone needs to come up with one where a
character travels through strange new lands bringing love and peace!

Sent on the road in Firenzuola Italy
1journey Blog:
Project: Http://

Monday, August 17, 2009

Spontaneous Football in Rosata, Italy

After a good's afternoon's cycle I came to a fork in the road. I stopped and took a look at my map.

There in the field nearby five boys were kicking a soccer ball around. They looked about the age I had been when I played soccer back in the Yukon. They also looked like they really need a sixth player to get a game going.

But, they looked pretty good. I hesitated, then, casting my soccer insecurities aside, I pushed my bike over to the field.

Despite my lack of Italian and soccer cleats, we all hit it off immediately! Apparently, not many Canadians bike through their small town on their way to China. An animated inter-cultural dialogue ensued. And so did a game! To my amazement, I was actually not only able to keep up, but deaked them out and scored a few goals.

You see, they were so curious about what the heck I was doing in Rosata that they kept thinking of questions for me as I would head down the field with the ball. As they would try to think of the right words to ask me, and I would easily dance by! It was a actually a great strategy for me.

Finally, I conceded to their curiosity and we went over to my bike. I pulled out my iPod to show my photos. After the photos of forest and mountains in Canada, they were particularly interested in the girls I had met on my trip. :-) Vero they really liked your peace portrait. Abby you have some admirers in Italy!

But then ladies and gentlemen, something incredible happened!

After asking me some questions about money and food, they came up with the idea of buying me lunch! I was dazzled-- these were the typical teenagers adults despair about-- talking about porn stars, and cars, and making crude michael jackson jokes-- but here they were spontaneously offering to buy a complete stranger food!

Together we walked down to the local store. The owner was so taken back by the kids gesture that she threwn in a sandwhich on the house. In the end I should have asked for more! All the kids really wanted to chip in to pay but it only came to two euros after the owner discounted the fruit too!

The owner husband came out and we all gathered around for a photo.

Wow! Humanity rocks!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Stories from the Road of the Heart: A Manifesto

My friends Steve, Stefano and I have an idea.

You see, we've got so many great stories about crazy beautiful things that have happened as we've embarked on the road of following our heart.

It struck us that we should create a place where people can share their similar stories. I happen to have a couple good friends who are poised to jump off the cliff and follow their hearts. They just need a little inspiration to overcome their fears.

Maybe reading some of the beautiful things that have happened to others will give them the inspiration that they need!

So, for my friends and for those friends I haven't yet met, I am running with this little project. I have written up the manifesto and with the consent of Steve and Stefano am posting the second draft here for you to see.

What do you think? This isn't the project yet. This is the text that will define the project.

Any suggestions on a good name for the site/blog?


Some call it following your heart. Others, call it living your dream. Whatever you call it, a remarkable thing happens when you take the plunge and follow that voice deep within. What once seemed ridiculously unacceptable and all but impossible becomes an incandescent road of magical syncronicities, manifestations, and the downright miraculous.

And it is on this road that great Great Stories are born!

This collaborative space is the place to share sharing these stories from the r, to inspire, and be to be inspired.

We live in an age where the demands of society, culture and religion simply do not en-courage following the call of one's heart. These tethers are so strong that many go their entire lives without doing what they would really love. The dreams of a child are so easily squelched by the reprimands adult world. Soul-deep passions are forgotten and discarded. The conventions, the apparent security and the morals of our world tell us that we must follow the path of our parents, the ways of our religion, the accepted careers of our community.

Life is so much grander than this!

Many of us know. The chains are shattered, we have turned off the bumpy road, we are no longer paddling against the current. We have embraced our passions, our loves and our dreams. We are doing what we love! We are cruising on a sleek paved road, and we are flowing with the river of life.

Its not easy of course. Far from it. Each day, each moment, is defined by not knowing what comes next. We often go against the wishes and council of peers and community. We must struggle with the weight of years of conditioning and antiquated morales.

Yet, it is on this road the magic happens! It is precisely by walking into the unknown that Life really happens. It is in the unknown that the Universe has a chance to help us, to gift us, to conspire with all the might of the cosmos to help us realize our dreams.

Now, this is Living! Living what your dream, doing exactly what you love is not only grandly more rewarding-- it is luminously Fun. The comfortable and secure become a shadow in comparision.

However did you ever think that the unbeleivable syncronicity you experienced the other day wasn't just for you? So many are poised to take the plunge to follow their dreams and heart. They stand hesitating at the crossroads. They just need a little inspiration. A little en-couragement.

Tell us your story!

Can you imagine a world in which everyone is doing exactly what they love?


Read some stories on the blog.
Inspired? Got a Story about following your heart? Select one key word from the story that you read.
Use this word in your story.
Use the link tool to link this word in your story to the inspired story. We are all connected!
Post your story, include a photo if you want, keep it under 500 words.
Do not be afraid! Someone needs to hear what you have to say!

Monday, August 10, 2009

The Angel of Venice

On Facebook there's a little application that lets you send Angels to other people. Some folks have used its to send me good wishes and "Angels" for my journey. I always thought it seemed a little silly.

That was until I went to Venice.

I actually was not planning to go to Venice, my route was oriented around it. However, my Dad, and so many Italians that I have met kept insisting that I visit. Since I was only passing 20 kms away I thought, what the heck. And so, despite the imposing urban area of mainland Venezia Mestre, I braved my way in. It wasn't easy. Mestre isn't very bike friendly and, I quickly discovered you can't bike to Venice. I tried in vain! The free-way bridge is totally anti-bike.

Determined nonetheless, I stashed my bike and gear at a forested parking lot and walked over to the bus stop to commute my way in to Venice.

It was athen that I met the beautiful Italian angel.

At the bus stop, I asked Italian woman the cost of the bus. She smiled. She showed me how to get in the back of the bus without paying. We struck up a cheerful conversation. In our limited Italian and English we managed to communicate. When we arrived in Venice she offered to show me around. I was more than glad to agree.

She treated me to the most amazing gellato (Ice cream), walked with me through the streets, bought me a city map and told me what sites I must visit. Then, quite suddenly, she explained she had to catch a particular boat to get to her work.

She gave me two kisses and disappeared across the water.

I shook my head in grattitude. Equiped with the map and the sage advice of a local Venetian, I was able to see the most beautiful and important places in Venice. Not, only that, but I didn't get lost, nor did I have to pay the bus fare!

As evening fell, the streets darkened and the moon rose high over the city. It reflected from below in the meandering cob web of canals. Beautiful as it was, I knew I had to return to my bike and head back into the countryside and on my way.

As I wandered back, I was a little frazzled by such an intense day and my need to leave. Then the sound of a violin caught my ear. There in a piazza, surrounded by Corynthian columns, marble Venetian facades and Greek sculptures, a lone man fiddled his soul out into the night. I sat down and closed my eyes. I rested there for an eternal moment. The lonesone sound, echoed against the marble and out into night. My cares, worries and woes were completely swept away. When I finally found my way to my feet, the bus and my bike, a tranquil peace lingered with me far down the road.

It was then that I remembered the name of the kind Venetian who had helped me out.


Keep sending me those angels! :-)

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Hockey in Italy!

As dusk began to fall, I was beginning to despair at my options for setting up my tent.

I wasn't having much luck finding a place. Finally, I pulled into a small little town hoping for a quiet spot beside the nearby river. As I rolled through the centre of Masserata, Italy, my fine tuned Canadian ears picked up a familiar noise.

No.... could it be?!

Scrattching and scuffing noises seemed to be emanating from a large tent in the centre of the town. I circled around and found the entrance. I peaked in, and there, to my vast amazement were kids playing Hockey!

Hockey of course is Canada's national sport. I grew up with my Dad flooding our driveway during the Winter so that we could play with our friends on the ice. Back in Ottawa, my little brother and I would play on the street for hours and hours on end. Hockey comes as naturally to my brothers and I as, well... riding a bike!

The Italian boy I talked to inside the tent was just as excited to me as I. In fact, so much so that he ran home and got a picture of himself in his hockey gear to show me. At this point, I had headed off on foot to find a camp site, and didn't quite understand why he was running after me.

To my amazement, the little boy had told his family about meeting a Canadian and he invited me to his home for some dinner. Ellia couldn't have been more than 9 or 10.

The family all gathered around the table as I recounted hockey stories about my time growing up in the frozen Yukon. My Italian is really minimal at this point so much of the xplantion was done with pictures and gestures. The grandmother treated me to an amazing dinner, the husband to his home made wine, and the wife showed me where I could take a shower. And they let me set up my sleeping gear in their cabin in the backyard.

The next day, as promised, we all went back to the arena to play hockey. They had an extra stick for me, more friends showed up and Canada and Italy tied 2-2. The game was aborted because of the crazy heat! Ellia plays goalie... just like I did at his age! His friend Abu spoke French. Through Abu translating, I was able to show him a few goal tending tricks and techniques. When he got home he excitedly told his parents what I had showed him. When the father tried to write something on the paper I had been sketching on, the grandmother scolded him-- they wanted to keep it as a souvenir!

There's one thing that we Canadians can learn from the Italians about Hockey. Plant a vineyard outside your arena! There's nothing like coming out of a game all sweaty and hot and feasting on fresch grapes!

Wow! What kindness and what an experience! Mum and Dad... watch for a letter in the mail with the grandmother's special spaghetti recipe.


Friday, August 7, 2009

Connecting People with Pasta

A Tagelitelli Italian Pasta Making adventure in Slovenia by Russell a Canadian. Watch as pasta connects people! Stefano and I cooked this up about a week ago. Here is the little montage of clips of the pasta making extravaganza.

Templar Church

I stand outside a 12th century Templar church in Ormelle Italy asking the spirits of the Knights to help further planetary oneness.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Cruising the Italian Road

I am definitively in Italy!

Pomodoro Ripiendo

Yesterday evening, dark grey thunder clouds emerged on the horizon as cycled through the Italian countryside. I am not opposed to a little rain, but, right before you set up your camp or make dinner really sucks. And, boy, the clouds were really dark and ominous!

As they got closer I just started to ask everyone I saw if they knew a place I could take shelter. The first told me about a Church down the road. The second persontold me it was closed! The clouds began to rumble. Lighning flashed in the distance.

The feeling of the impending downpour was palpable in the air!

Finally, I turned down a side road. I only had a minute or so now. Some kids were playing. I motioned wildly to the sky. They fetched their mother to talk to the strange cyclist. The mother emerged with a baby in arms and... a smile! She invited me to take shelter under their balcony.

Juusssst in time! No sooner was I under then the sky exploded in wetness. I would have been totally soaked.

Well, no one spoke more than a couple words of English, but before I knew it I was invited to stay for dinner while the rain continued. The husband arrived and proudly treated me to his homemade wine. The family of six and I sat around the dinner table and enjoyed an amazing home cooked pasta and pomadora meal. Despite the vast language difference we managed a playful, fun and engaging conversation.

Wow! The mother's stuffed tomotoes were simply amazing. They were cooked stuffed with meat, mozerella, basil and other yummy stuff. I kept helping myself to one cooked tomatoe after another. I asked her for the recipe. She proudly shared. Since I had been talking much about my family, I promised I would be telling my Mum back in Canada about the recipe-- and the meal-- so she wouldn't worry about me not eating well!

What a great time. Below is her recipe as she wrote it! Hopefully in another month of meeting Italian I will be able to understand it and translate it for you Mum!

Pomodo Ripendo
    - pomodoro rotondo piccolo
    - carne macinata di manzo
    - carne macinata di maiale
    - uovo
    - formaggio grana
    - prezzemolo
    - pane grattuggiato
    - sale - pepe - noce moscata
    - cipolla
    - formaggio stagionato 2/3 mesi

    Svuotare il pomodoro.
    Mescolare tutti gli ingredienti, e con l'impasto riempire i pomodori.

Mescolare tutti Gli ingredienti. Suuotare i pomadori Farli asciugarz e rietili con limpasto


Ok... This is my best attempt to read her writing! If anyone can correct my mistakes, translate or suggest better wording please do!

Monday, August 3, 2009

I am in Italy

I am defnitively in Italy.

I sit in the Piazza, the central square, of Udine. Arched buildings, columns and marble statues surround me. My latte Machiado rests beside me. Last night I slept on the edge of a hilltop vineyard. As the sun set I could see the foothills of the Alps in the distance, the roof tops of a nearby village and the spire of the church. A green carpet of vineyards stretched out below my hill top perch.

After setting up my tent I managed to find the local restaurant and dined on some authentic spaghetti. Italian families chit-chatted away all around me as I sipped my glass of wine from the local fields.

I awoke in the morning to the Church bells and a breakfast of grapes.

After packing up my equipment I attended Sunday mass at the Church down the road. I was the only one in under 40 I think! Nonetheless the Church was packed to standing room only as the priest offered up Holy Eucharist for his community. As I left the Church the little man smile and warmly shook my hand and two nice ladies joined me for coffee.

And now I get on my bike and head back on down the road.