Rambling Robert's Travels

This blog chronicals the travels of myself, Rambling Robert, on my next adventure to South America.

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I am a world traveller. I do not work as such. I have been homeless and unemployed since 1October 2003. I worked as a chef for 30 years in America.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

travel update Leaving USA

Hello Everyone,
At the time of the last update, I was still in the thick of getting my visas sorted out for the great Trans Siberian adventure to unfold this summer. All is now well and complete. I now have both visas in my passport and I am ready to go. I had to lay down a lot of dollars for visas, from China and especially from Russia. These are reciprocal fees, imposed on American citizens in retaliation for USA demanding fees from the citizens of Russia and China in order to apply for travel visa to come to USA.
Wow, one thing that I have observed throughout my life is that all humans seem to have in common , is how all of us hate to wait in line. It seems to me that any time or place I have ever had to deal with a government employee of any kind I had first to wait in line. Embassies and consulates are no exception. I had to go to each consulate and wait in a long line to drop off my passport and applications for visa and then return some days later to wait in another long line to retrieve my passport and visa.
Both countries have a consulate in New York, and both consulates refuse to accept visa applications by mail or commercial courier. They must be hand delivered by the applicant or a travel agency. Agencies charge about $100 to go and wait in line for you. I saved $200 by going in my self.
All in all, besides transportation, I had to pay $140 to the Chinese and about $320 to Russia. I needed to expedite my application for Russia due to time constraints so paid $250 instead of $140. I also was required to purchase travel insurance ($40) and purchase a "letter of invitation" for $30. All this for a 30 day single entry tourist visa. All I can say is I am glad it is over and I am once again able to enjoy the illusion of freedom to travel.
New York City, remains, for me, the worlds greatest city. I am not entirely what you might call a city person. I enjoy city life up to a point. I can only stay in the big crowded, mind made jungle of concrete for a few weeks at a time before the Reality of the human world becomes too much for me and I begin to yearn for fresher air and honest actuality. Think about it.
"Actuality" is what is happening in nature, in the Universe, at this moment in time. "Reality" is "Actuality" plus our ideas feelings thoughts and opinions about it. Reality is "Self" Created. The Ego (Greek word for self) creates reality. Nature creates Actuality. There are lies in Reality. Everyone knows that people lie, that we ourselves have lied and been lied to. It is part of reality. In Actuality, there is only truth.
In the reality that I have created for my self, New York is the worlds greatest city. I love this city. My parents were born there. I have been coming to New York ever since i was a baby. So now when I come, I mainly visit friends who live there, while being together with them in the now, we still reminisce about the past or share dreams of the future. Cool to see how we have changed from our pasts to our nows and where we all hope to get to.
I got to see a few very dear friends from my child hood days. Charlie, Morty and Neil have been my friends for over 40 years. For me to see them and for them to see me is a real treat. I feel like I get a more clear "image" of myself when reflected off the mirror of an old friend. I see my self and my friends from a long time, point of view.
Being in New York is like being in any other city but on some sort of mind enhancing or experience enhancing drug! The food tastes better, the music sounds better, the air is more electric, the colors are some how brighter. The people are more expressive. Most of the folks I run into here in USA are all dressed in blue, grey or black. Drab colors and "follow the leader" styles. In New York it seems many (not all) of them are out of uniform. They wear all sorts of clothes, not just the standard jeans and tee shirt uniform, in all shades of colors.
The food experience in New York is the greatest in the world as far as I have experienced. It is a vegetarian wonderland. Truly the easiest place in USA to be a vegetarian and still enjoy a "gourmet" life style. Another thing that strikes me about this city is how well the people mix. People of every size, shape, color, nationality, race and creed all live and play together. This is my impression. This is why I am always grateful to have the chance to go to New York and visit there.
My last few days in USA were spent with my brothers and their wives and kids in New Jersey which is my place of birth. In fact, my elder brother still lives in the home where we lived as children! For my niece and nephews I was uncle Robert, which is one of my favorite life roles. For me kids are like big cities, I really enjoy them...up to a point! On the one hand, I thank Buddha that I am childless! On the other hand, I really enjoy spending some time with children and especially my brothers, or my friends kids.
I was a "show and tell" item in 3 classrooms for them. I went to the school class of Harry, Margaret and Mark to talk to thier 9 and/or 10 year old classmates about my life as a traveler. They asked many good questions and I really had fun talking to them and seeing my brothers kids be proud of me.
As i finish this travel update, I feel again, the little tightness of the belly I always feel when I have packed my backpack and am ready to go! Always a mixture of aprehension and excitement. I always get an amazing sense of aliveness when at last my time comes and I hoist up my pack and strap it on and head for the door marked "To forever: this way please!"
I am looking at about two months in North East Europe followed by about 3 or 4 months in Asia, before heading back to Ecuador. Life is a journey we all must travel, each in his own way, his own time, his own reality. For me, here now, breathing in calm and breathing out smiles...the road leads on forever and the journey never stops...

Let the journey unfolds anew! I leave you all for now, with a couple of quotes to ponder.
Peace and Love,

"Life is NOT a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well-preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming -- ’WOW, what a ride!!! " Anonymous
"Travel is more than the seeing of sights; it is a change that goes on, deep and permanent, in the ideas of living."Miriam Beard
"To dwell in the here and now does not mean you never think about the past or responsibly plan for the future it is simply not to allow yourself to get lost in regrets about the past or worries about the future." Thich Nhat Hahn


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