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Saturday, November 27, 2010


Its funny how life works out sometimes. Everything seems to be falling into place beautifully and then all of a sudden life hands you an ice cold bitch slap. At least that had been my experience this past week.

All of the planning for this trip was coming together so smoothly with all the hard work I have been putting into this. I had been working tirelessly on creating contracts for the independent studies I was creating, countless meetings at BCC's main campus
in Pittsfield with different administrators to create a game plan. After a few drafts on each of the 3 Independent studies an
d tri-weekly meetings for over a month I got my 3 sponsors and 3 heads of each of the departments to sign off on them. I was beaming with happiness as I
left campus to go for a mountain bike ride. At this point everything was perfect, I had all the gear I needed for this trip I had all my academics figured out and I was going mountain biking, life couldn't get any better. So just a few days ago on the 23rd I got a call from one of my sponsors, she told me the Dean would not sign off on the contracts. The last month and a half of work that went into this was for nothing, at first I was pissed and felt very lost, everything I had worked on had gone into the trash with one person's say so. After a lot of thinking and some meditation I realized that this bitch slap life gave me was actually a blessing in disguise. The amount of work I had created for myself on this trip was going to hinder my traveling experience, it was going to be 3 months of living in one spot and conducting micro-studies and research on education, nutrition and migration. Now I am signed up for 2 online classes that I can do while on the move throughout the country and have much more time to travel and get to know and help villagers.

I spent a day last week hitting up all the local businesses in downtown Great Barrington for donations to raffle off at my party. I kind of feel like a tool bag going into a business and pitching some lame "help my cause" gimmick. After doing it a few times I was awed at how many people are willing to help out. Almost every business I went into on Main and Railroad street gave a donation of something. I think that says a lot about local business and the awesome community we have here in the Berkshires. Now I have all of this cool stuff and lots of gift certificates to raffle off next month at the party which is Dec 17th at the Gypsy Joynt at 8pm. I hope to see all of you there!! Adam Post and Rob Sanzone will be performing live.

The day before Thanksgiving was my 26th birthday, I know! I'm getting old. I'll be 30 in 4 years! It was a really awesome day. I never make a big deal out of my birthday, it's just another day to me so I went for a mountain bike ride early in the morning like I would any other day then I headed home to my parents house in central MA. My mom made me some special gluten free pasta with buffalo meat sauce and a gluten free cake! MMmmmm. My family thinks I am so weird, that's what living in the Berkshires and practicing yoga does to you. I spent the day with family and went to my grandparents house to clean out their gutters on the roof. I couldn't think of any better way to spend my 26th birthday. I don't know why people go out and get hammered on their birthdays, it was so nice to see the family that I rarely get to spend time with.

Thanksgiving morning my brother and I have a tradition of going for a 3 or 4 hour mountainbike ride early in the morning to jump start our metabolisms for a marathon day of eating delicious food. My brother broke his collar bone riding his bike about a month ago so mountainbiking was out of the question, we went for a frosty cold road ride after we put the turkey in the oven. Neither one of us knew what we were doing and had never cooked a turkey before. The family showed up around noon at my brothers place in Amherst and we had a really nice day of family, board games, laughs, and great food.
A good friend told me in a text message that you don't have to understand your family to love them and that I already knew that which I did but it was really nice to hear it again. I have a built in forgetter in my mind. It was just so nice to spend time with them before I embark on this journey. I feel that I don't fit in with my family a lot of the time. I am definitely a "special" guy hahahahaha. It's really beautiful how much my life has changed in the last 5 years since I moved to the Berkshires. When I tell
people around here that I'm a disabled Iraq war veteran they usually could not have guessed that.

A couple weeks ago I did an interview with the Institute of Extraordinary Living at Kripalu. IEL is a program Kripalu has that conducts research on the effects of yoga on war veterans that have PTSD and I agreed to meet and talk with them. I got there and wasn't expecting a whole professional set up. there were all these lighting sets and a big professional video camera with this big fluffy microphone thing right in front of the chair I had to sit on. There was one woman interviewing me and another man on the camera, it was kind of intimidating because I had never been interviewed like this before. I began to tell them all about my experience in Iraq and the different traumatic things I experienced while there and then told them all about how yoga, mindfulness, and cycling have completely and utterly transformed every aspect of my life. After the interview they had me do my own yoga practice while they took still photos. I have never been photographed while doing yoga before and it felt kind of weird having someone clicking away while I am doing chaturangas. Anyways it was definitely an experience and I had never had professional photos taken of me, I just got the copies yesterday so I am including some pictures of me practicing.

That is all for now, life has been really great and busy. On top of all this stuff I am taking 5 classes at school and I have insanely busy trying to keep up and do well on quizzes and tests.

I hope you are all well and I will be posting again in the next couple weeks.
Love and Light,


Tuesday, November 16, 2010


Hello all, its been about a month since I created my main blog. I wanted to leave it up for a while so that I could tell people to visit it if they wanted more information about my trip. I can now start updating my blog on a regular basis because I have a main website now thanks to Kelly Collins!! She has donated her time and energy like so many other people have. The website is check it out! Its still under construction and will be finished at some point. Thank you so much Kelly, you are truly awesome!

So I have been working on so much over the last month. This trip is transforming every day. I am now taking on 3 separate independent studies for school. I will be doing them on nutrition, education and migration. I had NO idea how much work this was going to be. Countless drafts of writing contracts and endless meetings with sponsors and heads of departments at BCC. They have all been very encouraging and passionate about this project.

Imagine your heart pumping, your lungs gasping for air, your legs feeling like they're going to explode, mud, sweat,tears and blood flying in every direction. I did my first cyclocross race ever 2 weeks ago in Northampton, it was an incredible amount of fun. There were 150 guys in my race and I was 138 on the starting line. I made my way up to the top 20 by the second lap and my legs were feeling pretty good. I saw a great opportunity to pass a group of guys, I stood up and started sprinting as fast as I could and SNAP, my rear derailer broke in half and I lost my footing, flying forward and slamming my knees into my handlebars. The race was over for me. It was all good cause I got to hang out and chill with my brother Jeremy who I never get to see and cheer on my good buddy Rob.

I am trying to get in as many miles as I can on the mountain and road bike before I take off on this trip. I will be traveling thousands of miles across southeast Asia and I need to make sure I'm in good shape.

I am throwing a big party next month on Dec. 17th at the Gypsy Joynt, 8:30pm. Rob Sanzone and Adam Post will be performing live and we will have a big raffle with tons of awesome stuff from local businesses and artists. Tell all your friends and family to come out and support this great cause.

My good friend Marc and
I went on a beautiful ride this past Saturday and it was absolutely epic, fantastic, beautiful, warm November day. Here are a couple pics from our ride

This is my last week with my loyal pet Sven, I will miss you buddy.
He is relocating to a Muddy Brook elementary school classroom where he will get all the love he needs. I have had Sven for 4 years and I will miss him for sure