I was born in the Bronx and for the first eighteen years on earth my curiosity took me no further than West Orange New Jersey. At 18 I ventured to Washington DC and at 20 I made it all the way to Miami Beach. Then at 21 I attempted to move to San Francisco, but I got no further than St. Louis.
In 1971 I got AA degree after 5 years of starts and stops. I felt like I earned something, like a vacation that became a gap year. It was an introduction to the real world, it gave me a boost in confidence, a Masters in Mundane Knowledge and a Phd in suffering.
On a whim in late 1971 I traveled to Europe with a friend. It turned into the adventure of a lifetime. With little planning and no itinerary, we flew to London with a 2 month student rail pass and enough money to live comfortably for 1. Time passed quickly and after 2 months I found myself alone in Italy with time and money to spare. Getting used to flying by the seat of my pants I headed to the heel and took a ferry to Greece. On the beautiful island of Crete living was easy, simple and cheap. There was no reason to return I had been bitten by the travel bug and a voice was calling me, it said, go east so I did.
The six months I spent in India changed my life, It gave me confidence and the patience that comes with it, while teaching me empathy and humility. I was humbled by Indian generosity and amazed by their acceptance of fate (kismet) as determined by social class (caste). While I marvelled at their instinctive survival skills nothing could prepare me for the poverty and suffering I saw. Hidden by their peaceful demeanor lay their total belief in Karma and the patience to wait for it.