Friday July 19, 2024 EDT 
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Daddy-O: "Where did the lonerider go?"

Rob: " good question....I've been asking myself the very same question but thought it was just me! certainly miss his insightful posts and awesome pics. and he's got to be paying for bandwith....where are you lonerider????? "

Duane C.: " I check the site every other day or so to see if he's come back. Hope all is well with him. Another concerned reader, "

Assult on Mt. Maarat

Hey...I'm Alive and Well !!!!!

(February 15, 2005) I am glad I'm able to write again and pursue my connection with you after almost a year of silence. It's always a healing process for me to write and hear from you as well.

Burning Man
This whole thing started out with my sojourn into the Nevada desert to participate in the mind altering festival, Burning Man. I was warned it was a life-tranforming event, but I really had no clue as to what extent it would change my life. I left the event taking faith in a horizon far wider than what was visible to me. It was hard to settle for less...the genie isn't going back into the bottle.

Back to the Default World
When I came back to the default world, I found myself rebelling against an incompetent boss and a management that looked the other way. I was told to comply or be canned. Like I said, it was no longer possible to settle for less. I got the pink slip. No regrets - I had to remain real. With diminishing resources, I found it hard to keep paying my web host given the server space my images were taking up...they had to go. Fortunately, my web host has since increased my space 10x bigger with no added cost. You should see all the images again. If not, let me know. It's hard to account for all the thousands of images that's been there.

Uncanny Signs
Then came a series of events that seemed to clear a path out of Canada for me into the unknown. Taking a leap of faith and following the path, I packed up and left my dear friends and my beloved Canada. You might be asking, "What path?". Well, I'm no fatalist, but get this: When I got the pink slip, my severance pay equalled the exact amount of debt I had (as if to say: "you can leave Canada now, your debts are fully paid"). With a paid debt, but no means of support, an invite to Switzerland arrives, fare and lodging all paid for. At the same time, the pizza stone I'd been using for years suddenly cracked, as if to tell me my pizza days here are over. There has been a few more eerie events that made it clear to me in no uncertain terms that I should pack up and that there is a life awaiting for me elsewhere.

I found myself in Geneva attending a United Nations' conference on Human Rights. From there, an arrangement was made for my free lodging in Paris. How could I possibly say 'no' to this?

Paris the second time around is equally fascinating. I started my day at 9am, walking through the entire city until about 10pm when it's time to go home. Discovering the city on foot and surviving on crepes and baguettes was an experience. As fate would have it, I was able to hook up with 2 Canadian Burners (from Burning Man) who were independently travelling across Europe. Over dinner with Naomi overlooking the Eiffel Tower, we talked about travelling Europe together. Next thing, we were in France's gastronomic capital, Lyon, savoring their sumptuous offerings. We then took the train and headed to Marseille and stayed there for a couple of days. Known for its bouillabaisse, we didn't pass up the chance to sample it. I'd been a bouillabaisse fan for the longest time, doing practically every bouillabaisse recipe I could lay my hands on. Having it from its traditional source is a rare treat. Marseille is a city unlike any other French city - a melting pot from the denizens of the Mediterranean, they seem to get along well together. In Monte Carlo, we were lucky enough to chance the Grand Prix. It was awesome seeing Formula 1 cars at close range. The oppulence and grandeur of Monte Carlo is spellbinding. No wonder it's home to the jet-set crowd.

We crossed the border into Italy and stayed in Genova for their much talked about Pesto a la Genovese. It didn't disappoint. I'm glad we had it in an unpretentious working-man's eatery instead of some touristy place. Naomi's Lonely Planet book really paid off. Next stop was Milan for their Milanese Risotto...let's just say I had better in Toronto. But then again, we had it in a fast food place.

All good things come to an end. Naomi and I had to part ways. I can't say enough about her - open-minded, adventurous and fun to travel with. She continued her Italian trip while I had to depart for Manila, Philippines.

I sorely missed my Dad. It was as good a time as any to stay for a few weeks and bond with him before I leave again (thinking of joining a German hippie commune).

However, before I knew it, I found myself taking French classes and teaching web design in my Alma Matter, the University of the Philippines. Student-life is much better the second time pressure to make the grade, chilling with cool folks, biking around the academic oval, playing frisbee at the Sunken is good.

Along the way, I was reintroduced to car slalom racing, wall climbing, skin diving and recently, scuba diving. I snorkled the coral reefs of Boracay and Puerto Galera and also climbed the limestone cliffs of El Nido. The fabulous folks at Power Up took the trouble of teaching me their wall climbing skills. At a recent outdoor rock climbing trip, I met some mountain bikers who took me along their weekend ride (see Assult on Mt. Maarat story). It's been my first time to hit the trails since I arrived. On the horizon, I see another trip to Taiwan to attend a Human Rights workshop. Who knows where this one will take me?

Ending thoughts
So far, my journey has taken me out of Canada to Europe and now the Philippines. I've connected with a lot of people along the way. They've opened their doors and shown me in. I didn't plan any of this but simply followed the path that cleared itself for me. Staying real along the way, I'm eager to see where this journey takes me. It's been one door after another that's been opening up. I don't know whose unseen hand is making these things happen, but I'm profoundly thankful.

Daddy-O, Rob and Duane C., thanks for the wake up call. Your thoughts go a long way.

--- TheLoneRider

Reader Comments:

Naomi Rae
(12 Apr 2005) Glad to see you're doing well :) I had such an amazing time travelling with you!!!!

Sun-You Kim
(25 Mar 2005) There you go. I knew you would be alright. Journey after journey.. That's what I saw in you, as you mentioned "nomadic mobility". There is a reason for what happens.. How amazing things are ahead of you! Life is good.

Mark "Daddy-O" Ciana
(2 Mar 2005) Hmmm, I had this feeling of unusual certainty that you had departed on a walkabout. The last time we spoke you had only recently returned from Burning Man and I was wondering if change was forthcoming. When I lived in Romania, one would say to those setting out on a journey, “drum bun” (good road).

Arsenio Santos
(28 Feb 2005) Glad you're back in scene and in good health!!!!! If I find myself in the Philippines, I'll remember to look you up and we'll go for a ride.

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