Category Archives: travel stories

Stranger in a Strange Land Newsletter: July 2009

Stranger in a Strange Land Newsletter: July 2009

(This is the newsletter I’ve written since 2002 when I started travelling the world. All of them are archived on my site now: www.eligerzon.com/newsletters.php. Soon my blog will be directly connected to my site and I’ll post the newsletters there as well as e-mailing them. To receive them by e-mail subscribe here. I hope you enjoy them!)

Worldschool Japan, new skin, and Tweet your light

Dearest Readers,
I’m leading a trip to Japan this November with five unschoolers from around the country! Worldschool Travels! I’ve gotten the deposits and bought the plane tickets: LA-Tokyo round trip.

The age range is the same as last time: 15-20 years old. I think we’re going to have a lot of fun, see many beautiful things, and eat some yummy food too! Oishii! Each of us may come back somewhat changed having grown and learned some new things. Each person may be challenged in different ways but:

“The universe never gives us more than we can handle. A lot of time it feels like it does! But it doesn’t.” This is what Ricardo Sierra, director of Hawk Circle (www.hawkcircle.com) wilderness education school, said to a group of us before each of us went on a solo vision quest for 48 hours in 2001.

(I wrote about that experience in my first speech “On the Importance of Whole Soul Safety or The Real Reason to Rise-Out of School”)

And I’ve been reminding myself of that quote recently!

Last year, I wrote a newsletter about another vision I had while in a sweat lodge in Mexico of a bird, a phoenix even, coming half way out of its shell: it was already half way there, so no matter how it moved it was going to break that shell and come out; even if part of it wanted to go back in!

(You can read that whole newsletter here.)

These days I feel like I am out of that shell. Sometimes I feel irritated for seemingly no reason: I think I’m still getting comfortable in my new skin! Every once in awhile I’ll think, “Who is this Eli Gerzon guy?”

I’ve been writing a lot for my blog and many new people are reading and commenting on it and I’ve been using Twitter and Facebook. It’s very exciting and satisfying because you can see all these people “friending” you, “following” you, visiting your site, reposting your stuff, etc. It’s fun and it’s easy to get a little obsessed!

Many people get annoyed with this new technology and I can too, but ultimately I think it can be a great tool.

The challenge is to use the tools to share with as many people as possible and yet remember it is about shining your light. Regardless of how many people visit your site what matters is how many people really read it and take it in. And that’s going to always be a mystery: I don’t think you can know that.

It can be significant when you see lots of people view a certain post, especially if people link to it and suggest it to others. And it can be very significant when you get feedback: that’s always kept me going with this newsletter.

When people write back to me after I send out a newsletter I always let out a sigh of relief: I usually open up a part of my heart in my writing and never know if it’s something that will connect with someone else’s heart.

But what’s really amazing is when I haven’t heard from someone in a couple years, or ever, and they contact me letting me know my writing has meant something to them. I realize I had no idea it was affecting them all that time and so there may be others out there who I haven’t heard from, or will never hear from, who benefit from what I write.

In the end, that’s what it’s about: you share your light and accept that the acknowledgement and knowledge of what you have done, may not come to you in the time or manner you’d like.

But nevertheless, if you really try to shine your light, you’ve already done it, and the universe appreciates it and gets brighter because of it.

With all that said here are some of my recent blog posts I do hope you enjoy them!:

John Steinbeck Quotes – Travels With Charley: In Search of America – Great quotes from a Steinbeck book I read while travelling around Central America this spring and often mirrored my own journey.

My Unschooling and Trust Journey – I talk about the difficult times when I left school to unschool and how I’ve really learned to trust myself.

Unschooling and Trust
– This is an explanation of the real philosophy behind unschooling: trusting people with freedom. Seems to be one of my most popular posts.

Unschooler Peter Kowalke Interview about college
– I posted this on my site before but now I added photos and an unschooler has already left a very interesting comment about her experience with college as well.

Links to successful unschoolers – Links to blogs and sites of successful grown unschoolers: please add more you know in the comments sections as many already have! I find it inspiring myself.

Ten tips for learning languages – Some tips for learning languages i.e. Tip #3 Have fun!, #10 BE the Language.

I talked about how magical it is to hear from people a few years down the line but I really do love to here from people now especially through comments so others can join in!

I also added some new stuff my page clearly explaining homeschooling, unschooling, and worldschooling.

And feel free to friend me on Facebook: www.facebook.com/worldschooler

And follow me on Twitter: www.twitter.com/worldschooler

In the world of… reality, I’m also speaking at the Northeast Unschooling Conference at the end of August, even if I was slow sending in my bio and there’s only my name and photo on the site!: www.northeastunschoolingconference.com

May you effectivley use your Tweets and blog posts to shine your light on the world dear readers!

All the best,
Eli

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under growth, Stranger in a Strange Land Newsletters, travel stories, Worldschool Travels

Snorkeling around Utila, Honduras

I’m now writing from a hostel in Leon, Nicaragua. I had a hell of a time getting here but I now understand why people like Nicaragua so much: things are cheap and the people are very friendly, helpful, and ready to joke around.

I was on Utila in the Bay Islands of Honduras for about a week. I spent most of the time chilling, gathering my thoughts, and finally writing my Stranger in a Strange Land Newsletter for March. I summarized all I’d done so far in Guatemala and Honduras and then talked about safety in Latin America, including my own personal experience being mugged on my last trip.

Then the next day I went to a tiny island, “the Water Cay“, one of the many Cays around Utila. I did a little snorkeling around Tela but this was the real thing. I wish I could have taken underwater photos for you all to see. It’s just another world.

We’ve all seen those amazing photos and videos of coral of all shapes, sizes, and colors with fish of all shapes, sizes, and colors darting around, all in perfectly clear water. Well, it’s real. I couldn’t believe it.

At the same time, I don’t know if I’ll be going snorkeling again any time soon. I got so much salt water in my mouth I got sick. If you’re not careful you can end up surrounded by coral in very shallow water with nowhere to go. You can avoid that I but I was new and didn’t understand you had to follow certain paths.

“Sometimes the road less travelled is less travelled for a reason.” -Jerry Seinfeld

You have to walk along the sea floor covered in sand or soft vegetation and then cut over to the area where the sea floor drops down dramatically and is covered in coral. It’s amazing how much you can see around the coral in shallow water (you don’t even realize how many fish are swimming around you until you take a peak with your goggles) but it’s so much more when there’s room for the fish to swim.

Someone saw an eagle ray before I went to the same spot. I saw many tiny fish and a bunch of big green fish going from one spot to the other putting rocks in their mouth and then spitting them out. Then I saw hundreds or thousands of tiny, silvery, glittering fish moving together in a few separate schools. At one point I was completely surrounded by them. You realize that if they were of the carnivorous sort they could totally gobble me up!

It was a lot of fun being in Utila: it’s chill there and the locals speak an accent that sounds like a mix of Jamaican and Irish accent to me. But I’m really happy to be in a whole new country: it really is the case that every country is different in so many ways. I was planning on just sticking around Guatemala but it’s looking like I’ll see most of the Central American countries on this trip! I’ll keep you posted: I won’t leave you hangin’!

Eli Climbing Palm Tree on the Water Cay near Utila, Honduras.

Eli Gerzon Climbing Palm Tree on the Water Cay near Utila, Honduras.

More photos per the commenter’s request!:

Sun setting and a pelican flying at the end of my day on the Water Cay in Utila, Bay Islands, Honduras.

Sun setting and a pelican flying at the end of my day on the Water Cay in Utila, Bay Islands, Honduras.

Local Utilian boys posing after playing in the sand at the public beach in Utila, Bay Islands, Honduras.

Local Utilian boys posing after playing in the sand at the public beach in Utila, Bay Islands, Honduras.

A small white octopus they found hiding out in a plastic bottle on the beach.

A small white octopus they found hiding out in a plastic bottle on the beach (the black spot is his eye, he's upside down, most of what you see is his head: some people couldn't see it when I showed them this photo!).

Hustle and bustle of the Utila dock as the boat from La Ceiba, from the mainland of Honduras arrives.

Hustle and bustle of the Utila dock as the boat from La Ceiba, from the mainland of Honduras arrives.

There are tons of dive shops on Utila and you get swarmed by a bunch of fellow foreigners when you get off the boat in Utila. One such sales pitch after the crowd has disipated.

There are tons of dive shops on Utila and you get swarmed by a bunch of fellow foreigners when you get off the boat in Utila. One such sales pitch after the crowd has disipated.

The streets of this chill small tropical island are surprisingly fully of motorcycles and four wheelers like this one.

The streets of this chill small tropical island are surprisingly fully of motorcycles and four wheelers like this one.

Eli Gerzon right before he got on the 6:20am boat from Utila to La Ceiba on the mainland of Honduras on Friday, April 3rd, 2009 .

Eli Gerzon right before he got on the 6:20am boat from Utila to La Ceiba on the mainland of Honduras on Friday, April 3rd, 2009 . (Photo by "Frank the Tank")

9 Comments

Filed under travel stories

First week in Honduras: San Pedro Sula, Tela, and Utila

It’s been over a week since I last posted and since I’ve been in Honduras. I was in Copan for one night to see the ruins in 2006 but otherwise this was my first real time here. I was in San Pedro Sula for one night and Tela on the Caribbean coast for about a week. Right now I’m writing from Utila, the smallest of the three main Bay Islands that include Roatan and Guanaja off the coast of Honduras.

Utila is known for being the best place in the world to learn scuba diving and to swim with whale sharks. So I’m not sure what I’m doing here! Maybe I’ll take a course and do it or I might just snorkel around the reefs. Right now I’m just using it as a relaxing cheap place to chill, write, and collect my thoughts.

I’m still trying to figure-out how to use this blog. It’s a new medium with advantages and disadvantages and I’m trying to find my voice. How much detail do I go into about my time in San Pedro Sula or Tela?

Should I talk about how the food is surprisingly good? How the tortillas in northern Honduras are usually made from wheat and cooked in a way that makes them taste more like delicious nan from India? They’re called baleadas but should I talk more about the cheap ones you buy on the street like the ones I’ve been living off of in Utila that include just beans, cheese, and maybe some onions?

But I have to mention the one I had at a restaurant in the Guamilito Market in San Pedro Sula where you could add all sorts of things like meat and cream and how in my baleada I had a sweet fried plantain with some cream on the side and delicious steamed broccoli and cauliflower, and some beets.

Baleadas with broccoli, cauliflower, beets, cream and sweet fried plantain at Guamalito Market in San Pedro Sula, Honduras.

Baleadas with broccoli, cauliflower, beets, cream and sweet fried plantain at Guamalito Market in San Pedro Sula, Honduras.

I’d like to mention two people I’d normally avoid but enjoyed talking to while eating that baleada: a somewhat incoherent old man and then an Evangelical preacher. The preacher used such familiar terms that it was very easy to understand his Spanish. About all I understood from the old man was that he used to build houses with concrete blocks and he was impressed when I said I was a landscaper/gardener.

In that back area of the mostly touristy market there were also many women making (corn) tortillas and other little shops for locals.

Making tortillas at the back of the Guamilito Market in San Pedro Sula, Honduras

Making tortillas at the back of the Guamilito Market in San Pedro Sula, Honduras

Visiting local markets is always one of my favorite parts of travelling and San Pedro Sula was no exception.

The very American "City Mall" in San Pedro Sula, Honduras.

The "very American" City Mall in San Pedro Sula, Honduras.

At the same time I really enjoyed staying in my own room with Wi-Fi at Los Molinos B&B (contact them at  in a safe, clean, rich suburban neighborhood of San Pedro Sula down the street from the very American “City Mall”.

Well, there’s a lot more to mention from Tela and Utila but I’ll save it for the next posts!

And to stay at Los Molinos B&B in San Pedro Sula contact them here (in Spanish or English): losmolinos_sps@yahoo.com.

1 Comment

Filed under travel stories, worldschooling